Is IoT Perfect Parity Between Technology and Security?

According to the IOT council there are about 2 Billion mobile phones currently connected to the internet, on a contrary, there were 300 Million desktop PCs connected in 2000.

And it is expected that by 2020 almost all the accessories in our home such as refrigerator, washing machine, kettles, coffee pots, alarm systems etc, will have the power to get connected to the internet.

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IoT’s roots back 1970’s with ATMs – the first end consumer-oriented machine to be connected online.

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Image credits realbusiness.com

It is also believed that the concept of a network of smart devices was taken up in 1982. With a modified Coke machine becoming the first internet connected device, at Carnegie Mellon University.

The term Internet of Things was first conceived by Kevin Ashton in 1999 while working at Procter & Gamble. But even after 17 years, 87% of people actually have no idea of what IoT means and what it stands for. Mainly because internet (IoT) connected devices have been adapted mostly in business and healthcare sectors than consumer markets.

The onset and aggressive growth of internet connected devices also have the power to change the world. IoT devices can automate and simplify many aspects of our everyday lives. Like smart home can adjust the temperature and turn on AC, lights for us, a smart car can help us reach our destinations, smart appliances will schedule their own maintenance.

The Koreans, Danish and Swiss have the most things connected to the internet, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Studies evaluating the market size and growth potential for the retail IoT suggest that retailers have already made a substantial investment in areas such as supply chain monitoring, inventory, management, asset tracking and payment processing. In a report submitted by Juniper Research on July 2015, expects that by 2020 retailers worldwide would spend $2.5 Billion on IoT-related hardware.

As IoT’s are gonna have dominance over our life, these headless devices will carry challenges of their own and one of them being connectivity. These devices will need to sight a network and automatically connect to that network without human involvement. Telecommunications Company, such as AT&T suggested that cellular network will be the way to go.

But too many devices will be difficult to be handled by cellular networks especially when the connections has to be fast. Furthermore, cellular connectivity is overpriced as compared with other connectivity methods. A better alternative is Wi-Fi connectivity.

According to Republic Wireless, the number of Wi-Fi hotspot will reach 340 Million by 2018, which comes down to one hotspot for every 20 people. The biggest advantage of Wi-Fi over cellular is the fact that Wi-Fi is a global standard. Subscribers can connect to Wi-Fi through any device in any country on the contrary cellular standards vary from country to country. And bring in Roaming charges and SIM card changes. Using Wi-Fi, manufacturers can market their IoT products globally maintaining one standard specification.

Data security

According to HP security survey, nearly 70% of frequently used IoT devices have some serious security vulnerability. In the race to bringing the next big thing to the market the innovators and the entrepreneurs are putting security concerns second. We may not worry about this much but these IoT devices are collecting a lot of information about our private lives.

Imagine the refrigerator that orders the milk must have some payment method set up with the grocery store. The thermostat keeps a record and anticipates when you are likely to be back home. And the smart-watch or fitness tracker must have private info about health and habits that you only prefer your doctor to know about.

Hacking

Data theft is not the only threat from IoT devices.

Hackers have proved their capabilities by taking control of a jeep’s, steering, brake and transmission systems remotely while it was being operated. In a similar exhibition, hackers had taken over the controls of Tesla. Connected cars are among the most awaited and hyped innovation that IoT expects to deliver. But as the cars become automated the more they are vulnerable to hacker’s attack.

Smart TV’s also made news last year when Samsung Smart TV revealed that Samsung TV, listened and recorded a private conversation and send that data to Samsung’s server for analysis, Imagine if a corporation can do that so can the hackers can spy on you. Reports of hackers hacking into Baby monitors reveals that not even the top Internet-connected baby monitors are immune to hackers.

If all the pain and consumer suffering is to be averted, then IoT industry needs to focus some of its delirious energies not just on product, but also on experiences, says Hossein Rahnama (Follow him on Twitter: @hosinux) CEO and founder of Flybits “35 Innovators Under 35” award recipient

IoT’s are still in their early days, we need more developments in the field of security and privacy. Hence, the balance between technology and security is a long haul.

Recently (April 9), the world celebrated Global IoT day. Twitter was flooded with thoughts and quotes by industry leaders. See some of the twitter responses.


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