The Internet of Things – Too Much Information?

The world is rapidly becoming a smarter, more connected place. Everything, from phones to vehicles, are now “Smart.” What does that mean for us as consumers? Does the value and convenience outweigh the potential risks? Click here to learn more about Athena’s upcoming panel discussion to explore the Internet of Things and what it really means on a practical level.

But what exactly is the Internet of Things?

IoT:TMI? The Internet of Things - Article by Athena San DiegoThe Internet of Things is built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors to deliver machine-to-machine communication that is mobile, virtual, and instantaneous. The technology drivers promise to make everything in our lives “smart.” 

The sensors that make IoT possible are not smart; they simply gather data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of those sensors and the machines and applications that can analyze and leverage the data.

Cloud-based applications are the key to interpreting, transmitting and putting this leveraged data to work for you any time and anywhere. Everything that has an ON switch can be connected: from wearable devices, the appliances in your home and even the road you drive on.

Let’s look at an example recently published in WIRED Magazine.

In 2007, a bridge collapsed in Minnesota because its steel plates were inadequate to handle the bridge’s load– killing many people. When we rebuild bridges, we can use smart cement that is equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and warping. Sensors in the cement alert us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. And these technologies aren’t limited to the bridge’s structure.

If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information wirelessly to your car. Your smart car knows there’s a hazard ahead and will instruct you to slow down. If you don’t, the car will slow down for you.

Think what can be achieved when a smart car and a smart city grid start talking to each other? Soon, smart stoplights and traffic flow optimization that can respond to conditions and the flow of traffic will be a reality instead of today's stoplights on fixed timers.

IoT trends:

  • There are 7.6 billion people on the planet
  • There are currently 20 billion things connected to the internet today
  • By 2020, there will be 50 billion things connected to the internet
  • TheITBrief reports that the IoT market will grow to almost $1 trillion by 2020. Cisco estimates a $14.4 trillion "private sector" value for the IoT by 2023.

TMI? What about all the potential privacy and security abuses of IoT?

Soon everything that can be connected will be connected.  With billions of devices being connected, how can we keep personal information secure?Do I really want my insurance company to have all my health stats from the IoT device I'm wearing at work and at home?
Do I want an IoT device to broadcast where I've driven my car, how fast I drove, and how many stops I have made along the way?

This is a hot-button topic even today, so one can only imagine how concerns will escalate when talking about many billions of devices being connected, and as companies figure out how to store, track, analyze and leverage massive amounts of data that will be generated.  The IoT also opens up security for individuals, companies, and even countries, all over the world to more threats.

Join Athena’s panel of experts on September 20 to explore these ideas in greater depth. Learn more or register now.

Article Sources:  McKinsey Qrtly Report, Tech Target, ISACA, Wired Magazine, Forbes, TheITBrief, Cisco

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