Hello all, welcome back on TechSimplify, today we are going to learn something new as we always do :) another technology that is going viral all over the industry i.e. IoT — Internet of Things, you may hear about it at your workplace or on some social media platform, you also may have come across it and didn’t realize that it was IoT. IoT in very simple terms, is a network of multiple devices that may include and not limited to computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people. These components have their own unique identifier which can be leveraged to exchange commands or data without any human interaction at all. A thing, in Internet of Things, can be a pet with GPS tracker, heartbeat monitor for patients or any other objects natural and man-made to which an IP can be assigned and signals or data in small amount can be transferred and tracked over the network.
Kevin Ashton, co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned the Internet of Things in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble in 1999. He mentioned that everything that is available on the internet was first captured or recorded by human beings and internet is totally dependent on human for information. The idea is to teach computers everything there is to know and let them analyze the data without human intervention. By doing, so we would be able to track and count everything, every resource and greatly reducing the efforts, time wastage and money. We would know when needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.
IoT in action
Gartner estimates that by 2020, 20.8 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of things. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of things by 2020. As per a 2014 survey and study done by Pew Research, a large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users who responded—83 percent—agreed with the notion that the Internet/cloud of things, embedded and wearable computing will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025. As such, it is clear that the IoT will consist of a very large number of devices being connected to the Internet.
Smart homes are most common and most widely used application of IoT. More than 60,000 people search the term “Smart Home” every month. There are loads of Startups that specializes in providing technology for smart homes. But what is Smart Home exactly, how does it work? Well it’s quite simple actually, every device that we have installed in our home uses electricity (almost all), these devices can be a part of your home network, giving them a unique identifier in the network so that when some commands are given via some signal or even voice, they can identify and provide respective response to the command. One instance for Smart Home would be security, alarms etc. One device (your smartphone) can control multiple devices (lights, air conditioner, television etc). Many organizations are now focusing on Automation in Smart Homes. For e.g. Switching off any or all lights, when room is empty, and switch back on when someone enters in it. Security alarm goes off if someone tries to enter the premises and you will get a notification on your phone. There are lots of application for Smart home and Home Automation, and in future we might invent much more which at this moment we can not predict.
Smart Homes do come with its downside, there are some concerns raised in past and still in discussion. Smart Home is basically a network of all the devices that is installed in our home. Network is always vulnerable to attack, our own system can be used against us, and can be used to spy on our home. ZigBee communication protocol can allow attackers to join the secure home network. There are many organizations that are trying to reduce the risk involved in Smart Homes. There have been significant improvement in security and there will be more in the future. We just need to be careful while installing smart devices in our home.
Wearable technology or devices are electronic devices with micro controllers aka smart electronic devices that can be worn on body or use as an implant. It is basically used to keep track of activities that we do on a daily basis. These devices collect information and send it to other connected device (your smartphone), the other device process the information received and gives us the result such as average heartbeat throughout the day, number step walked, number hours slept etc. Most common application is fitness tracker, most of you guys use it, every one has heard or seen the device. The application of such devices are as follows –
– As a fashion statement
– As a fitness tracker
– As a treatment for hearing impairments
– For remote treatment of speech and voice disorders
– To synchronize data and communication from other gadgets
– For specific health issue monitoring
– As navigation tools
– As communication gadgets
A connected car is a car that is equipped with Internet access, and usually also with a wireless local area network. This allows the car to share internet access with other devices both inside and outside the vehicle. Application for Connected Cars are as follows –
Mobility management: functions that allow the driver to reach a destination quickly, safely.
Vehicle management: functions that aid the driver in reducing operating costs and improving ease of use.
Safety: functions that warn the driver of external hazards and internal responses of the vehicle to hazards.
Entertainment: functions involving the entertainment of the driver and passengers
Driver assistance: functions involving partially or fully automatic driving.
Well being: functions involving the driver’s comfort and ability and fitness to drive.
The Phenonet Project is designed to help farmers monitor vital information like humidity, air temperature and soil quality using remote sensors. This project helps farmers improve yield, plan more efficient irrigation and make harvest forecasts. It also helps biologists study the effects of genomes and micro climates on crop production. Based in Ireland, the CleanGrow project helps monitor crop nutrients with a carbon nanotube-based sensor system. This information helps farmers to alter crop maturity rates or colors. As opposed to conventionally used analog devices, CleanGrow’s nanotube sensor device detects the quantity and presence of specific ions in crop production to optimize quality and yield.
Security in IoT
Security in IoT is always been concern in community. Since every object is connected to network, there is always a chance for someone to break into the network and take control of all object. Few years backs researchers found many vulnerability in baby monitor which could be leveraged by hackers to take complete control of the monitor. Another research concluded that Internet connected cars are compromised as well, hackers can take over any and all control over the car — shutting down a vehicle in motion, controlling the entertainment system etc. Wearable like smartwatches are also vulnerable to hack, as attacker can get into the system to steal information about your health or any other information that device is tracking via smartphones app. Smart homes are also vulnerable to attack as mentioned earlier. With all the concerns about the privacy violation and security risks, makes us wonder is IoT really doing more good than harm? Is the risk worth using IoT? What is being Done To Secure The IoT?
Recently all the organization that provide IoT services have begun to give more attention to security of the service they provide. These organizations are taking appropriate measures to gap holes and prevent security breach at the device level itself. Firms that specializes in security have joined hands with IoT service provider to identify the threats and bridge the gap to prevent any and all breach of security. There are still many things to cover, but I think we are on correct path to a near future where we can use IoT applications without much of security risk. There will always be a security risk, every device connected via network can be hacked, but our security should be mature enough to identify an intruder and prevent the attacker to get hold of any information or control of device and at the same time alert the owner, so that appropriate actions will be taken by them to prevent any loss of confidential information. Security systems have been developed which do provide such security but as mentioned earlier nothing is absolute there is always a way around, we just need to be careful while using these devices and make sure all the confidential data is stored securely. With that I’ll end this blog, that was all for today. I hope that at least made it clear the IoT, it’s benefits and risk. If you want to know more about it, get in touch with me I’m always up for a healthy discussion. I’ll be back soon, with another technology in simple terms. Until then Take care, see you soon.