The Internet of Things (IoT) is arelatively new technology, however it has the potential to change our everydayliving forever.
As its name states, IoT is essentially “things” that areconnected and communicate using the internet. These things consist of variousdifferent devices such as smart Tvs, Google home/Amazon Alexa, smart appliances(dishwashers, ovens, dryers, etc..
.), and even lightbulbs! Inorder for IoT devices to properly function, it relies on a few fundamentalcomponents. Every IoT node requires some form of processor, because theprocessor is essentially the “brain” that provides it with the intelligencerequired to act as a smart device.
Without a CPU, the devices will have noability to process incoming information. IoT devices also require wirelesscommunication, simply because having to route cables to every smart device onthe network would be a major inconvenience. Many smart devices also requirevarious sensors and microcontrollers to efficiently function. Due to the factthat many IoT devices are fully wireless, they need to be able to conservebattery life as effectively as possible while still remaining online. Devicesare able to do this using microcontrollers, which decide when the device willenter standby mode or wake to collect information.
Sensors are also be utilizedto send out alerts/notifications when certain changes take place. For example,the RING smart doorbell system is configured to send a mobile alert with avideo feed each time the doorbell is rang. Asthe implementations of the Internet of Things continues to expand and develop,it will impact countless devices and systems as manufacturers further strivetowards interconnectivity. One of the services that I believe IoT systems willhave one of the greatest impacts on is both network and home security systems.
With the evergrowing popularity of “smart homes”, many households are filledwith countless different devices that are all communicating with eachother.However, with each device comes a potential security vulnerability. Forexample, many modern smart TVs have microphones and cameras that are programmedto respond to both voice commands and hand gestures, meaning that they areaways essentially watching and listening to you while being used. If hackerswere to discover an exploit for such devices, they could potentially gainaccess to these resources, giving them the ability to monitor victims in theirown homes.
In addition to potential network securityvulnerabilities, IoT devices may also pose a threat to home security systems.IoT security devices normally rely on the home WiFi connection in order tofunction, so if the home network were to be compromised, the intruder wouldalso be able to disable the security system. An example of modern IoT securitydevices being compromised is with wifi security cameras. Many home users nowuse wifi cameras, however not everyone follows proper security reccomendationsand many users neglected to change the default password for managing theirvideo feeds. This is a major issue because although the cameras connect to thehome wifi connection, the video feeds and management tools are made availablethrough the manufacturers cloud service. In 2014, a website called Insecam tookadvantage of these users and collected a database of camera footage from over73,000 various cameras, and made the live footage publicly available to anyonewho visited the site.
This could have easily been prevented if users changedtheir passwords. Althoughany new device or service comes with its asssociated risks, the positive traitsgreatly outweighs the negatives when it comes to IoT security devices. Withsecurity devices constantly becoming cheaper and more available, it givescustomers the ability to fully configure and customize a home security systemthemselves, rather than making monthly payments to a 3rd party company such asADT.
At it’s current rate, cloud/IoT security solutions definitely have thepotential to completely overtake existing home/business security companies.With the main concern around these new devices being network vulnerabilities,increased security and fully encrypted data transmissions would put manycustomers minds at ease, and allow for even greater success in its market. Inmodern times both people and most electronic devices have become dependent onthe internet. With more and more “things” becoming a part of the Internet ofThings, it won’t be very long before almost all household devices areinterconnected and exchanging information.
When considering the major technologicaladvancements achieved in the last 20 years, it’s not unrealistic to think thathomes will be able to act as fully automonous systems by the year 2040. Inconclusion, the concept of IoT brings endless benefits to todays society.Although many users may be reluctantwhen it comes to having a variety of internet devices always listening andwatching in their house, in the end the idea of interconnected appliances andsmart devices allows from full home security systems that you can manage fromyour iphone, to dishwashers that send you a notification when your dishes aredone, the internet of things constantly aims to make everyday life much moreconvenient.