The internet of things is a term that is referring to a multitude of interconnected devices, things, objects and even animals that can be identified by the use of unique identifiers and also being able to transfer data between one another without the need of physical interaction between human to human or human to machine.
The term continues to evolve as more technologies are being integrated into this category such as machine learning, real-time analytics, control system, and automation. No longer is an object relevant to a single user, instead, it is a part of greater digital infrastructure and database.
An Ambient of Connectivity
We, today, are used to having everyday devices connected through wireless technology. The Internet of Things or IoT is much more than just mainstream devices. Every surrounding object can be connected and communicate digitally resulting in the entire ambient around us to become one giant system of information. The way that we interact with everyday objects will change drastically and also changes the identity of the object. What do I mean by this? The objects that we use and interact with every day, have a specific function. A door lock may serve the purpose of preventing strangers from entering the home. However, with connectivity and the internet of things, it can be made possible to allow only trusted people entering the home, or even more sophisticated, putting away groceries left nearby. Working with this kind of smart device will give the impression of working with a trusted partner, especially in the case of a house lock, able to grant access only to known and trusted people without needing to physically interact with the lock.
Similarly, new identities can be developed for other home appliances as well, communicating with one another which can result in new experiences that the connected objects are not able to do on their own. The IoT can also be a great asset for work environments such as automation which can replace menial and repetitive tasks. Properly implement IoT for everyday usage is met with some skepticism and challenges because until this technology can be properly implemented, there is a probability that a great number of connected objects may behave unexpectedly and in ways which are impossible to predict. A consumer’s experience and behavior with many interconnected devices are also unpredictable. For example, if a person acquires more smart devices that can interact with each other, over time, when acquiring new products, the main question would be whether or not the new product can interact with the ones that are already owned by the person.
Interconnected Devices and Security
As said, managing businesses can be greatly improved by using IoT devices. Casino companies, for example, have been interested in is the use of facial recognition technology or biometrics. This technology has been tested and evaluated by many casino companies, with the interest of incorporating such technology into their security features, especially with their online presence as online casino websites. Testing this new technology in controlled environments have proven to have great results, however, places where lights behave unexpectedly and other factors such as people wearing sunglasses or hoodies, the results have not been that positive. Recent advancements have been taken notice of by casinos and some are in the early stages of the process of implementing them.
Implementing IoT technology requires four main components: a sensor, analytics platform, visualization engine, and connectivity. Other advancements that help the IoT to be adopted by businesses such as casinos are the proliferation of sensory devices, which were very few in terms of the options and limited to only a few basic IoT sensors. Motion detection sensors, door monitoring are 2 examples of IoT sensors, with more of them being available each year. More options in IoT sensors will lead to greater adoption of these technologies by businesses. An example of real-world usage of technology in business environments would at a hotel. Keeping track of everything inside of a 600 room hotel, for example, is a major challenge that requires great infrastructure. Adopting IoT in this environment will offer great convenience for the hotel leadership and especially for the staff. Knowing where every room service trays, luggage carts, and general hotel items are is very difficult in a large resort and so, having the ability to uniquely identify and track these objects can prove to be a powerful tool for the hotel.
With more connected devices, there will be more vulnerabilities to the entire network. A hacked device can be used to gain access to the entire system, enabling a hacker to gain access to the other devices connected to the IoT network. It was shown through an experiment that an attacker was able to gain access to a vehicle without the need for physical contact with the said vehicle. The car’s built-in telemetrics could be hacked after which the person could gain access to the car’s engine and brakes. The data transmitted by connected smart devices is vast, before the adoption of this technology on a massive scale, the security risks must be found and mitigated. This can prove to be a larger problem for new companies that seek to enter the IoT market, where their experience with security may be limited.
The Future is Smart
The fifth generation of cellular wireless, 5G, will provide much faster connection speeds and the ability to connect many more devices at once. This will allow more innovation in businesses and more consumer adoption and usage of IoT devices. IoT will allow automation and remote access to different services around the city, eventually leading to a smart city. The technology will allow cities to use a wide variety of objects and devices to use data in such a way to manage resources and assets around the city to better benefits its citizens. For example, better management of traffic, water supply, energy and so on.
There are cities around the world that slowly adopt and experimenting with IoT technology for improving the quality of life of its citizens. An example would be Pilsen, a city in the Czech Republic. Pilsen has built its sensor network, known as LoRa which works as a low data and energy communication service. Between interconnected devices, a large amount of data is being transferred, requiring a massive amount of energy and better, low power alternatives has to be considered for the practicality of IoT services in cities. Businesses within Pilsen can use the LoRa network for monitoring occupied parking spaces, for example. Adopting the internet of things cannot be done in a linear path. Today, its main implementation and focus are in homes, with many home appliances being connected and it will take some time for it to be adopted on a larger scale. Open-minded cities such as Pilsen will be the ones leading to innovation and implementation of the internet of things within cities and will help transform cities.
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