What is the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/of switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices.
This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, and almost anything else you can think of.
For example, a thing in the IoT can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, a car with a built-in computer, or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and can transfer data over a network.
So, the IoT is a giant network of connected things and people — all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.
How does it work?
An IoT ecosystem consists of web-enabled smart devices. This ecosystem integrates data from the different devices and applies analytics to share the most valuable information with applications built to address specific needs.
This information can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and detect possible problems before they occur.
When IoT can be useful?
The internet of things offers several benefits to organizations. Some benefits are industry-specific, and some are applicable across multiple industries. Some of the common benefits of IoT enable businesses to:
- Detecting problems: for example, if you are running a business and you are having troubles with efficiency, you can use a series of devices connected to get information and help you detect where the problem is.
- After identifying the problem, solving it: if you were able to detect your problem, with the data you have collected now you know where are the points of failure and the points of success. So, you know where you can add or remove things.
- Using the data: with the data that you collected, besides using it for the resolution of problems, you can also use it for predictions. This data could help you improve efficiency and predict future problems. Also, you can use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to aid in making data collecting processes easier and more dynamic.
Why this is important?
The internet of things helps people live and work smarter, as well as gain complete control over their lives. In addition to offering smart devices to automate homes, IoT is essential to business. IoT provides businesses with a real-time look into how their systems really work, delivering insights into everything from the performance of machines to supply chain and logistics operations.
In other words, it enables companies to automate processes and reduce labor costs.
So for example, if you own a supermarket and you never know when some products are going to go out of stock. Then you can use sensors to know what are the most popular products, for you to buy more of that products and never run out of stock again. Also, you can automate this process and align sales data with suppliers.
The information picked up by connected devices will enable you to make smart decisions about which components to stock up on, based on real-time information, which helps you save time and money.
But the IoT not just impacts the industry, it can impact your daily life too. Let's suppose you are on your way to a meeting, your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take. If the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late. Also, your alarm clock can wake you up at 6 a.m. and notify your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you.
Security on IoT
IoT security is extremely important because any smart device can serve as an entry point for cybercriminals to access the network.
With billions of devices connected and sharing information, what people can do to make sure that their information is safe?
It’s only a matter of time to receive a cyber attack, so companies and people have to improve their security and take care of the information they share.
Once adversaries gain access through a device, they can then move laterally throughout the organization, accessing high-value assets or conducting a malicious activity, such as stealing data, IP, or sensitive information. In some attacks, cybercriminals will assume control of the device and use it to overwhelm servers with web traffic, preventing legitimate users from conducting normal activity.
Some of IoT Security Best Practices
- Staying up to date with all patching and OS updates required by the connected device.
- Using strong password practices for all connected devices.
- Enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
- Routinely taking inventory of your connected devices and disable any items that are not used regularly.
- Protect devices with antivirus software and firewalls.
IoT, good or bad?
In a not-so-distant future, almost everything will be connected to the internet. This is quite inevitable. But, I consider, that it has pros and cons. Talking at the industry level, one of the main objectives is saving money, and this is one of the benefits of IoT besides many others, but there are also some cons like the amount of data that a company will be saving where most of it is useless, added to the problem of security. Having so many devices connected will make companies a target for hackers. And this includes people too because there are companies that manage our information, and this information could be accessible for a hacker.
Is really cool that a computer makes things that you don’t want to do, in order to save time and money. But, what is the price to pay? And, are you agree to pay it?
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