IoT Will Be Everywhere and Encompass Everything – Are You Ready? (Part 2)

August 1, 2019 - 9 minutes read

IoT app development

Welcome to the second and final entry of our “IoT Everywhere” series! In the first part, we examined what the Internet of Things (IoT) really is, where it came from, and where it’s headed. In case you missed it, you can check it out here.

For this segment, we’ll explore a few examples of popular IoT devices and paradigms in place today. More specifically, we’ll look at how wearables, chatbots, and smart cities are affecting our lives already and what we can expect to see from them in the near future. We’ll also take a look at cybersecurity’s paramount role in keeping IoT safe.

Wearable Devices

Wearables have been one of the largest categories of IoT devices since their popularity spike in 2017. During this year, 115 million wearable devices were bought globally. As wearable technology becomes smarter, faster, and less intrusive, that number is expected to increase.

Most people think of FitBits and Apple Watches when they hear the word “wearables.” With the ability to count steps, calories, and monitor metrics like heart rate, these devices are undoubtedly responsible for wearables’ surge in popularity. But they’re far from the only wearable technology on the scene now.

IoT app developmentOther wearable devices include blood-glucose monitors, biometric sensors in workout shirts and sports bras, and even alertness level sensors in baseball caps for truck and heavy machinery drivers.

Another cool wearable idea is Internet-connected contacts that can let the user take photos or record videos for uploading. Think this is too futuristic? Think again — Samsung, Sony, and Google already have pending patents for this concept.

Wearables will inevitably play an integral role in pivoting healthcare from a reactive to a preventative model. Currently, the space is wide open for innovation, and many entrepreneurs and startups are racing to claim a stake in helping us shape a healthier future. Do you have any medical wearables ideas? If so, consider trying to make them a reality!

Chatbots

AI assistants use IoT to grab whatever information you’re asking for at the moment. Currently, most people use these capabilities to streamline functions in the home such as changing the thermostat or turning lights on or off. But this same technology is coming to your office, too.

Take office printers, for example. When the printer toner is low, an AI assistant will alert the appropriate person right away and even set up an online order of ink to be delivered ASAP. If the printer itself starts acting abnormally, the AI assistant will notify IT personnel to attend to the situation.

IoT app developmentThis technology marks the move away from text-based chatbots to voice-enabled ones. Using natural language processing and machine learning, vocal-based chatbots are self-optimizing their performance to be even better.

Smart Cities

Smart cities are a big investment, requiring incredible amounts of time, money, and effort. To outfit a metropolis with sensors requires coordination, organization, and a lot of patience. And down the line, further IoT development, troubleshooting, and testing require even more resources to bring new smart city features into the fold. But most urban areas of today will eventually be transformed into smart cities in some capacity.

Smart cities aim to improve citizen’s lives and better manage resources. In smart city IoT systems, machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions are necessary; no humans are needed to interpret data or outputs. These types of integrations save cities money and allow for faster, less error-prone communication.

While M2M interactions sound innovative, they’ve been around in cities for decades. Traffic lights are powered by M2M technology. But there’s some room for improvement. For example, when it’s late at night and there’s not much traffic, IoT-enabled traffic lights should direct you to go when the coast is clear. Often, we spend 5 minutes at a traffic light with no passing traffic. Although cities have put optimizations into place for traffic flow, cities will feel more seamless when machines are working in tandem.

IoT app developmentPublic Wi-Fi in the subway system or over bridges will no longer be a futuristic idea. Public transportation, package deliveries, and cargo importing and exporting will become automated. These features will reduce environmental hazards and increase public safety.

By 2030, water consumption will increase by 40% globally. By watching our city’s water supply closely and ensuring preventative maintenance is routinely performed, we can help cities control their water needs without decreasing public access.

Cybersecurity Considerations

As we connect additional devices and sensors to our IoT systems, cybersecurity becomes increasingly weakened. Although most of our devices today are secure, newer devices that circumvent regulation can easily slip into the mix. Sure, adding one or two unsecured devices into your IoT system may not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve added in 6 or 7, you’re looking at a big security risk.

A Proofpoint researcher found a botnet virus in many IoT devices, including smart TVs, computers, and baby monitors. The virus was able to steal data, send spam, and remotely access the devices without asking the owner if it was allowed.

While a baby monitor may sound like a small issue, imagine the consequences of a botnet attack on an entire city’s devices and sensors.

IoT app developmentCybersecurity experts aren’t letting the boom of IoT devices stop them, however; Juniper Research, a consulting firm based outside of London, estimates that IoT cybersecurity spend will reach $6 billion by 2023. That’s a massive 300% increase over 2018.

IoT security experts warn consumers and enterprises alike to take cautionary steps towards securing devices. This includes advice like:

  1. Be wary of connecting to cloud services without reading about their data encryption and protection policies.
  2. Create separate networks for your IoT devices to connect to. This will help outsiders from connecting to the same network
  3. Change up your passwords and don’t repeat them across websites and devices. Telesign’s recent survey showed that 75% of all consumers use the same password across websites, and many users don’t change their passwords for five years.
  4. Universal Plug and Play is a great feature that allows your device to connect to nearby devices seamlessly. But this feature shouldn’t be turned on unless it’s necessary for your experience. This feature opens up the opportunity for botnet attacks, so play it safe!

IoT Is Connecting Us to the Future

The future is bright for IoT development, and we’ll certainly see IoT impact our lives in more ways than one. Expect to see this technology in our commutes, offices, cars, homes, kitchens, and so much more. IoT is connecting technology to humanity in unprecedented ways. And we can’t wait to see how this future unfolds.

What IoT innovations are you looking forward to benefiting from? Let us know in the comments below!

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