Science Watch- Internet of things (IoT)

In most organizations, information travels along familiar routes. Proprietary information is lodged in databases and analyzed in reports and then rises up the management chain. Information also originates externally—gathered from public sources, harvested from the Internet, or purchased from information suppliers.

But the predictable pathways of information are changing: the physical world itself is becoming a type of information system. In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it swiftly. What’s revolutionary in all this is that these physical information systems are now beginning to be deployed, and some of them even work largely without human intervention.

Pill-shaped microcameras already traverse the human digestive tract and send back thousands of images to pinpoint sources of illness. Precision farming equipment with wireless links to data collected from remote satellites and ground sensors can take into account crop conditions and adjust the way each individual part of a field is farmed—for instance, by spreading extra fertilizer on areas that need more nutrients. Billboards in Japan peer back at passersby, assessing how they fit consumer profiles, and instantly change displayed messages based on those assessments.

Yes, there are traces of futurism in some of this and early warnings for companies too. Business models based on today’s largely static information architectures face challenges as new ways of creating value arise. When a customer’s buying preferences are sensed in real time at a specific location, dynamic pricing may increase the odds of a purchase. Knowing how often or intensively a product is used can create additional options—usage fees rather than outright sale, for example. Manufacturing processes studded with a multitude of sensors can be controlled more precisely, raising efficiency. And when operating environments are monitored continuously for hazards or when objects can take corrective action to avoid damage, risks and costs diminish. Companies that take advantage of these capabilities stand to gain against competitors that don’t.

So put it rather simply – The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data

What’s the biggest risk associated with the Internet of Things?

Security :- There is an enormous security risk in IoT. IoT can scale up the attack surface for any kind of a cyberattack. The risk is going to be a distributed attack on a lot of things. We haven’t seen consumer products connected to the Internet in very wide scale yet, but there’s certainly a risk that once everyone has a connected door lock or a connected car, that that will present a bad security situation.When you’re in an airplane, you’re flying inside a computer and if anything goes wrong there will have a serious and much wider impact.

Data privacy: Who owns the data? Is it your data? Is it my data? And how can that be used against you? That’s of deep concern.

Energy is going to be huge. If we are going to have billions of  devices, but can’t power all these devices, then we’ll collapse under our own weight.But if you want to see IoT globally, we’re going to have to come up with some new way to deal with energy density.

Intentional bricking of devices:-The Electronic Frontier Foundation has raised concerns that companies can use the technologies necessary to support connected devices to intentionally disable or “brick” their customers’ devices via a remote software update or by disabling a service necessary to the operation of the device. In one example, home automation devices which were sold with the promise of a “Lifetime Subscription” were rendered useless after Nest Labs acquired Revolv and made the decision to shut down the central servers the Revolv devices had used to operate.As Nest is a company owned by Alphabet (Google’s parent company), the EFF argues this sets a “terrible precedent for a company with ambitions to sell self-driving cars, medical devices, and other high-end gadgets that may be essential to a person’s livelihood or physical safety.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By | 2017-02-13T22:03:19+00:00 May 5th, 2016|editorials, Science|0 Comments