The Internet of Things and How It Affects You

man connected to the internetBy now, you’ve probably heard the phrase, the ‘Internet of Things’, even if you aren’t entirely certain of its’ exact meaning. The concept is relatively basic: the Internet of Things (IoT) is a term used in reference to a time in the not-so-distant future when many, or most objects, will be in some way connected to the Internet. The purpose of doing this is to connect physical objects to each other, via the Internet, so they may be quickly identified and able to transmit information to humans (and each other), in a seamless manner.

In actuality, that connection has already manifested in a variety of ways. The concept of‘smart’ technology for homes and businesses has been the dominant theme at a growing number of prominent tech conferences. Smart technology is hotter than ever; from thermostats that can be programmed on your smart phone, to modern bridges being constructed with smart cement, the Internet of Things has arrived – and it is poised to grow at a fast rate.

The Convenience of Connected Technology

smart home controlThe technology designed to connect objects to the Internet is regarded by countless people as an invaluable convenience. Imagine a future in which the objects in your home are set-up to make your life easier: The lights in your living room will go on automatically upon your entrance. Sensors will shut-off your oven when the food is done cooking. When you leave your home, the door will inform the thermostat that it may enter into, “Away mode”, until you return. Such tech features have the potential to save time and minimize stress for millions of residents.

Businesses also stand to benefit immensely from the IoT. Medical institutions will be better equipped to keep track of inventory and equipment. Meters and sensors used in manufacturing will help to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency. Employees will be able to program their smartphones like remote controls, that affect virtually every aspect of their lives, and this will positively affect workplace productivity overall.

The Potential Drawbacks of the IoT

While the Internet of Things may sound conducive to a utopic way of life at this point, the potential for problems certainly exists. One of the top anticipated disadvantages of living in an increasingly connected world is a much higher chance of data invasion. In a time when more companies and government agencies than ever have proven vulnerable to hackers, invasion of privacy is a big concern for businesses and consumers. The more connected we are, the greater is our risk of having our personal and work information leaked to those with nefarious intentions. If your home is filled with smart devices, you may be more likely to be the victim of identity theft, or even a home invasion. Businesses could be more vulnerable to fraudulent practices and security breaches as well.

The Internet of Things will undoubtedly continue to evolve. People are already coming to rely on the convenience that connectivity between technology and objects affords. However, both individuals and businesses will need to defend themselves against the security issues that accompany technological convenience. After all, it comes with the new territory.