By 2025, there will be a projected 75.44 billion Internet of Things connected devices around the world. Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword we hear a lot. But what exactly is it? The term refers to harnessing the power of the internet to maximize the potential of almost any object in our daily lives.
You’ve seen this already in smart locks and smart lights, but its scope is far broader and will extend into everything from manufacturing and agriculture to infrastructure and so much more. The article dives into the key aspects of IoT to give you everything you need to know about this groundbreaking technology.
The IoT is all Around You
Internet of Things technology is already here. When experts refer to the IoT revolution, it’s actually something that’s been going on for nearly a decade. However, what’s changing is the pace. Between the rapidly declining prices of internet-enabled technology and the emergence of next-gen 5G wireless networks, more devices are utilizing the power of connectivity. For everyday consumers, you see this technology in smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, smart thermostats you control from your phone, and much more.
What’s the Point of IoT?
IoT can be applied in a variety of fields. Everything comes down to data. Most people don’t realize just how valuable data is. Everyone from researcher to hackers, businesses, and governments use data in different ways. Companies collect data on how their products are used and how to market and improve them. Governments use data to develop infrastructure projects, allocate spending, and design voting districts while hackers exploit data for personal gain.
More than anything, data is essential for the development of AI. Successful artificial intelligence systems like autonomous vehicles, for example, require huge amounts of data to improve in quality and safety. From the billions of data sets from all cars on the road, these systems use machine-learning tools to teach themselves how to be better drivers.
What Does this Mean for Privacy and Security?
Internet of Things technology has immense potential to improve our lives. However, all of this does come at a tradeoff of privacy and security. In the next decade, it will get increasingly difficult to find objects that aren’t connected to the internet. Sharp critics of the IoT even compare it to George Orwell’s “1984.” They’re not exactly wrong either. IoT devices offer unprecedented access to people’s personal lives.
Most people were outraged at the Cambridge-Analytica Scandal. Remember, that was only data collected from smartphone and computer usage. Imagine, if your hairbrush, refrigerator, automobile, and even clothing collected data on you. Even if this doesn’t bother you, many firms have lax security policies. Since everything connected to the internet has the potential of getting hacked, this puts users at risk. And this happens very often. For example, a Chinese company recently had to recall 4.3 million unsecured IoT cameras that were highly susceptible to data breaches.
How You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
The Internet of Things is here whether you like it or not. Its amazing potentials far outweigh concerns over security and privacy. Moreover, it’s so encompassing that unless you plan to live in the middle of the woods with no electronic devices within fifty miles, you won’t be able to escape it anyway. However, the technology is amazing and offers so many opportunities to make our lives healthier, happier, and much more convenient. So it’s up to the consumer to be smart and know how to protect their privacy and security online.
Most IoT devices use local networks (a.k.a. your home WiFi). The best way to ensure your smart refrigerator or thermostat doesn’t get hacked is by using a VPN (virtual private network). VPN offers huge safety advantages because it encrypts network connections. What’s more, you can not only set up a VPN individually on many devices but also directly enable one on your router, so all connections are secured.
Beyond protecting your internet connection with a VPN, it’s also important to make sure all your devices receive regular updates with the latest security patches. Be sure to configure privacy settings, so you know what information is shared and with whom. Finally, you can disable the internet connection to some devices when they are not in use. This will not only free up bandwidth but also prevent hacks in devices with weaker security protocols like smart TVs and printers — which hackers often use as gateways to get inside networks.
Internet of Things: The Revolution of Today
There are already billions of IoT devices all around us. As the technology grows increasingly widespread, it will continue to spark all kinds of changes. These innovations will improve every aspect of our lives. However, people need to be aware that this is not without security and privacy risks. That’s why users need to take safety into their own hands and utilize key tools like VPNs along with other strategies to prevent data breaches and increase security. You’ll be able to get the best out of this technological revolution while ensuring your data and privacy is kept safe.