expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are themselves.
Just a few years ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a hot topic. The promise of a network of interconnected objects equipped with a wide variety of sensors that will communicate with each other in ways hitherto only imagined in science fiction is seen as imminent.
Startups are popping up, broadcasts about new smart cities are popping up, like the sci-fi project in Saudi Arabia, neon lights. That reality is not here yet, and seems far away. Some have written off IoT, all but consigning it to the dustbin of history along with other abandoned technologies that didn’t deliver on their promises.
One of the challenges with IoT is that it relies on very high levels of high technology being deployed in many places. A smart system that recognizes that light bulbs need repairing will require some sensors that communicate with each light bulb.
You can’t just plug a device into a “smart solution” and suddenly expect technological nirvana to unfold. In an incredibly technologically heterogeneous world spanning high-tech and low-tech, you need integrated technology solutions, but those solutions are still fairly limited.
Related: Is Your Business Ready for the Internet of Things?
However, the world could better integrate existing solutions. Positioning systems, cybersecurity systems, and physical security systems already exist. Most essentials are on the grid and everyone is online. We can leverage integration to bring together the vast array of technology tools we already have and go further down the road to the promised land of the Internet of Things.
Some creative ways exist to meet the need to equip the world with sensors.Elon Musk realizes this while arguing self-driving car Radar is not required. Instead, they can rely on sight like humans and still possess superhuman driving skills. We humans use vision to recognize objects, events and threats at a distance from us. There’s no reason why machines can’t use vision proficiently.
Computer vision goes far beyond the novelty wonders of self-driving cars, and may even permeate every little thing in our lives. For example, data annotation service provider Keymakr recently teamed up with SeeChange to leverage AI to reduce the number of shoppers and employees slipping, tripping or falling in brick-and-mortar stores. AI identifies and notifies employees of liquid spills in fall risk areas.
In this case, computer vision saves the store from having to equip the floor with additional sensors to detect whether the floor is slippery, and instead use cameras already in place. Imagine limitless other applications of this technology, from predictive maintenance to reshaping the hospitality industry through automated services or new levels of proactive and personalized telehealth. Potential applications are only limited by our imagination.
We’re going to have to address security issues, considering that by now, we know from experience that almost every device is hackable. Connecting all of the world’s devices brings a whole new set of security risks. We read about the personal data that is exposed every hour and experience far too many technical glitches every day. Are we ready to believe that a vast network of integrated electronic devices can run the world smoothly and safely?
After all, the software that IoT devices run is vulnerable to many vulnerabilities that can be exploited. As more and more devices connect to the internet, we will face an increased risk of hackers accessing data goldmines from large-scale networks that were previously difficult to target. They will do this by attacking less secure IoT devices connected to that network.
However, focusing on individual vulnerabilities will not yield the most effective security results. Instead, it leads to a more costly computerized version of whack-a-mole, with security professionals chasing vulnerabilities, patching them one by one.
By taking a holistic approach to the security of IoT devices, cybersecurity firm Sternum IoT builds itself into the system’s firmware to ensure the code cannot be tweaked. In short, even if a malicious attacker could break into a device, they would be prevented from actually performing any function that would cause harm.
We need to be more proactive in taking IoT security measures to ensure companies stay one step ahead, rather than chasing hackers and continual costly patching of vulnerabilities, as is often done today.
The Internet of Things promises to truly connect us and technology in a new way, similar to what is happening with self-driving cars. We’ve been hearing all about it for a while now, and it’s understandable to think we’ll all be driven by machines by 2023.
Although the technology is not yet widespread, it is progressing very well. Consider how much of the driving experience has been automated compared to just a few years ago. Cruise control, automatic lane adjustment, and collision avoidance technology are just a few of the dozens of automated features.
Related: How cloud-agnostic hardware is the future of IoT
Through the use of low-cost, low-power sensors, new levels of connectivity, cloud computing platforms, machine learning and analytics, the Internet of Things has combined state-of-the-art technology into exciting new things. What is certain is that the Internet of Things will evolve, and technologists will do well by staying ahead. But how quickly and for how long that growth will continue remains to be seen. It might just be that IoT is still like a sleeping giant that will change the world when it wakes up.