In the technology industry we often come across a number of buzzwords, however there is one that is becoming increasingly prominent: the ‘Internet of things’. As we all know, the world is becoming ever more connected, which means that it is very unlikely that you are ever a few metres away from a device that enables you to connect to the Internet. However, what if this went one step further? What if practically everything, everywhere was connected all the time? Here, Fluidata explains how you may be contributing to the creation of the Internet of things without even realising it:
How do you use technology?
Back in the 1970s there was a plethora of science fiction films portraying futures where technology had infiltrated every part of daily life. At the beginning of most of these films we saw the benefits of having voice activated fridges and cars for example, however ultimately we were faced with the issue of what happens when you relinquish control of large portions of your life to machines. Even though it is not currently common for fridges or cars to be voice controlled – although it is technically possible – we are starting to rely on technology more heavily to organise different facets of our lives. For example, you can now download Apps to your mobile phone which allow you to control the thermostat in your home or boil your kettle remotely. This means that we are now relying on Internet technology not only to provide us information and services but also control other external objects.
What is the Internet of things?
Put simply, the Internet of things is where nearly every device we own with an Internet connection will be connected and controlled by any other device with an Internet connection. Unlike now, where people are generally connected to their devices or to other people via the Internet, under the Internet of things objects will be able to directly communicate with other objects. For example, instead of your talking fridge telling you that you are running out of milk, it will automatically order more for you online. With the Internet of things in place, objects will be able to provide each other information and then relay this information to other objects, ultimately creating a fully sustainable system. Whole towns, cities and even countries could be controlled by devices with little or even no intervention needed by human beings.
Could it ever work?
In theory, the Internet of things could benefit society massively as it means that people will be better organised and able to rely more heavily on technology instead of human beings who are prone to make mistakes. However, the crux of the issue is that with everything connected we could also be making ourselves extremely vulnerable to various forms of cybercrime. If everything is connected via one giant network, it would be extremely plausible for it all to grind to a halt should the network be compromised. Even networks that are secure would still have to protect themselves from Internet viruses such as Heartbleed, which provided thousands of people’s private details without anyone noticing for an extensive period of time.
The Importance of Privacy
Privacy is already something that many people are concerned with due to the fact that cybercrime can lead to individuals losing substantial amounts of money or being subjected to identity fraud. Corporations are particularly concerned with privacy, especially multi-national businesses which choose to share and host information online to increase productivity and accessibility within their workforce. Fluidata has already worked with numerous businesses to protect their information online with Virtual Private Networking (VPN), which means that it is possible for individuals and companies to secure their privacy even online. However, the Internet of things would require a security system so intricate that it could takes years or even decades to develop.
With the world becoming more connected it is very likely that we will see components of the Internet of things entering society in the near future. What needs to be remembered however is that even though this could be extremely useful and benefit thousands of people’s lives, security should always play a prominent role in order to protect everything within the network – regardless of if they are people or things.