The Internet-of-Things (IoT), or dumb things become smart, is quite the rage these days. Most of you may have heard the term in coming and going but there is more to it than meets the eye. Software, like the dotcom bubble of the late 90s, is bubbling and while it may not burst for another few years completely, software by itself, now, is not enough.
We have software doing everything we can possibly think of, for us, well almost but that is a discussion for another day like with any other human invention, our curiosity drives us to look for more ways to make our life easier. Look at the history of the automobile. This is no different.
Dumb to Smart
How does a dumb piece of wire, plastic and metal, like your toaster, become smart? Connecting it to the internet essentially enables you to toast a piece of bread from anywhere in the world. The implications are huge. Everything that consumes power in your home, work or the bench in the park can now become another device connected to the internet responding to the environment around it; not just by doing but by learning and then adjusting. The best news is, web development in Bangladesh is going to focus on this in the upcoming years to make sure digital marketing does not lag behind.
Imagine a world where your toaster will learn the kinds of bread you like and adjust the temperature and timer automatically when you put it in. Your fridge will learn how cold you like your drinks to be and will make sure you always get exactly that when you pull out a cold one. Taking it one step further, imagine being able to tell your oven to heat up over the phone and coming home to a pre-heated oven perfect for getting started on cooking that pizza for dinner.
We already have devices that learn, adjust and do. The Nest smart thermostat was one of the first smart home devices to hit the market. It learns the temperatures you like to keep your home over the day and adjusts accordingly. It might seem trivial but being able to leave your comfort up to a device, the size of your palm, is exactly the kind of possibility humans tend to go for. Software, for the most part will extend the places where you can control your devices from.
With every step we take forward with technology, we are presented with new challenges on securing our data and devices. The fight for security is a constant one and not something to take lightly. Power plants have been taken over using unseemly rogue and unused wall ethernet jacks.
So, is this something to worry about? Absolutely! As we usher in the age of connected devices, to hackers, it is one more device for them to take over, and eventually a whole system, and steal information. Security is the responsibility of both parties – users and makers. I can list a myriad of instances where my data was stolen out of my own fault and some where it was due to negligence of the company involved – Adobe being the biggest so far for me personally.
Yes, you could question why engineers, developers and the like do not plug security holes and be done with it. Like all things, software and hardware for that matter are never perfect. There is always a way in. While security researchers and developers look for and seal up existing and newly discovered security holes, hackers are also busy looking for new ways to get in and the probability is one will be found. There exists no perfect system and they never will. What is important to note is that it is a unified effort. It is exciting to connect, the once dumb products, to the global highway but equally important is also to be aware on how to protect our devices and us as a whole in the bigger picture of things.
While it may seem new and there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome, we have made great strides in showing what can be done. The possibilities are endless and with the advent of cheap, easy-to-use DIY kits, it has become even more accessible. It might also seem scary to put control in the hands of these devices but hardware is here to stay.