IoT: Dream or Nightmare?

“I have a vested interest in the future, because I plan on living there.” — Neil Gershenfeld (1999), When Things Start to Think.

I would consider myself an addicted to improvement with growing curiosity for any tech that can provide a better life. Today’s IoT offers a world of opportunities making life more convenient. As opposite to what most of the people would think, IoT is already a reality even if there is a lot of room for progress.

Nevertheless, there are still major breakthroughs to be made. Today’s infrastructures are still expensive to develop, operate and manage. Reason why operators are aggressively addressing these challenges by introducing lower cost solutions. That is the case of Cat-M devices being built for IoT applications.

Lack of trust and privacy issues are as well major drawbacks. Maybe not for younger people from Gen Z to whom technology is something essential as the air they breathe, but for majority of folks they might feel like an invasion of privacy. We need to draw a line and I think each individual person should be able to make that call, if they want IoT to be part of their world and decide how much connected they want to live. We, humans, should still be in control.

My major concern is Security. The astronomic volume of IoT devices constantly connected & communicating represent to me its highest vulnerability. It requires careful security and privacy considerations. Not such a long time ago, a ransomware attack named “WannaCry” affected computers in 150 countries causing several services to run on an emergency-only basis during the attack. Experts pointed out how dramatically this attack highlighted the vulnerabilities of the IoT and I agree. In today’s world, wars are not fought in the battlefields anymore.

What do I expect for the future of IoT? I hope a significant growth of IoT with deep consciousness for security issues. IoT can be revolutionary but it is not flawless, it will depend on human ingenuity and circumspection to develop risk-mitigation strategies.

Andreia Mateus.