What is The Internet of Things and What Can We Expect?
Technology has evolved over the past two centuries from a lingering thought of what the future might hold to creating smart devices and appliances that can be operated through the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) has the capacity to strongly impact our personal and work lives. As technology prices decrease and the number of smart devices sold increases, we have skimmed the surface of what all this can lead to. What is IoT, what could it mean for security and marketing? Well, hold on tight, we’re going back in time!
EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS
Everyone has been so consumed with their work or the newest smart device, it seems that we’ve forgotten where all technology came from.
In 1832, the electromagnetic telegraph was created by Baron Schilling in Russia; this was the first invention that began our journey to the internet of things. The possibility of communicating with someone thousands of miles away was fascinating, but soon, just like every other upgrade or new device, it just wasn’t enough anymore.
In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first morse code telegraph from Washington D.C. to Baltimore saying “What hath God wrought.”
As we jump forward into the 20th Century, important figures in technology were already envisioning the internet of things. In 1926, Nikola Tesla was interviewed for Colliers magazine and stated “When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain”
As time went on, the term “Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, and the possibility of the IoT quickly began to be a reality. Plans for home appliances to be connected to the internet were beginning to be executed as the digital future quickly developed.
WHAT IS THE INTERNET OF THINGS?
The Internet of Things is a term used to describe a world completely controlled by the internet. Imagine this: before going to bed you place two slices of bread in your toaster, fill up the coffee maker and set your alarm for 6am. The next morning arrives and your alarm goes off at 6am, like every other day. As you’re getting ready for work, your phone sends a message to your toaster to toast your bread and to your coffee maker in order to prepare your coffee. When you enter the kitchen, your toast is toasted, your coffee is made, your fridge displays a list of everything it’s missing or currently low on and your Google calendar on your phone reads your agenda for the day. Quite interesting, but that barely scratches the surface. As you leave for work your smartphone automatically connects to your car and your car is connected to road sensors which measure road conditions, traffic, and car speed. Once you hit unexpected traffic, your car slows to a near halt which sends a message to your phone to text your boss saying you’ll be late due to traffic. On a much larger scale, the IoT has the ability to control air pollution, detect forest fires, monitor structural health in cities, measure water quality, control waste management, and so much more. While the Internet of Things can help us improve our quality of life, it’s normal to wonder “what does this mean for our security?”
THE IOT AND SECURITY
As technology rises to the occasion, more suspicion about hackers is increasing. Every single device would be connected to your main device, your smartphone. If anyone can hack one of your devices like a toaster or refrigerator, they can use that network to hack your phone. Your smartphone is full of emails, texts, documents, downloads, personal photos and so much more. This gives hackers the possibility of controlling everything you own to fulfill their god complex. What about life-threatening situations? Not only can hackers use your devices to their advantage, they can reprogram devices to do things other than what they’re made to do. For example, a self-driving car that is reprogrammed to crash or drive off a bridge.
At this point in time, people don’t feel comfortable when their phones are dead and charging. What will you do if someone is controlling your phone or things you need to prepare for the day? It doesn’t end there, the CIA has the capacity to turn certain devices such as smart TVs into listening devices. Although this is fairly negative, developers are currently working on creating more secure networks for the privacy and safety of consumers. If you thought advertisements were intrusive, just wait to find out what the Internet of Things means for marketing.
IOT AND DIGITAL MARKETING
The Internet of Things has endless possibilities to offer businesses and marketers such as giving much deeper insight to target markets, consumer behavior, interests, and trends. All of this information will aid marketers in ways never thought possible. Marketers will be able to better specify their target customers, track locations and personalize campaigns to fit their preferences. These will be based on factors like the weather, their location, their last purchase from the brand or a competitor, and even events on their Google Calendar. Some questions bother marketers, though, such as which devices will support advertisements? How will ads appear on wearable devices? How much information collected could lead to customers feeling violated?
The Internet of Things has both positive and negative aspects, but which will be more important to consumers: their security and privacy or convenience and the benefits the IoT can have on the environment and quality of life? The world is quickly changing for everyone as we now face one of our greatest and most dangerous advancements in technology. Are you ready for the endless possibilities?