By David A. Pavuk
Director of Compliance and Efficiency
Trivalent Group, Inc.
It’s 5:30 am. The alarm goes off, and, deciding 40 more winks would be great, you hit the snooze button. The automatic coffee pot in your kitchen is notified and delays making coffee by 10 minutes. The second alarm sounds. Getting out of bed, you put on your slippers; the lights in your bathroom go on. You reach for the razor, and the bathroom mirror greets you and lets you know that there is very heavy traffic on the highway today. You’ll probably be late for work.
No worry, being the good mirror that it is, you are asked if you would like to take an alternative route which will cut 10 minutes off your daily trip. You say yes and the GPS in your car is notified and loads today’s route into memory. You head upstairs, and the drapes open to a sunny sky as you are greeted by a cup of fresh hot coffee. It’s going to be another great day!
Sound like science fiction? You might be surprised to know that this is exactly the morning experience that you may have in the not-too-distant future. You’ve also probably heard the buzz by now about the Internet of Things (IoT) which will be the center of this kind of morning in the future, but what you may not know is that it’s not just something that we are looking toward for the future. IoT is right here, right now.
Smart devices are more prevalent than ever. Cups that know if you have drunk enough water today; a toothbrush that advises if your brushing routine is adequate or not; shoes that converse that record your running and exercise routines or tell your friends and family where you are; prescription bottles that send you a message reminding you to take medications.
Everything from locating your car keys to systems which monitor soil moisture levels as well as air and soil temperature, wind speed, humidity, solar radiation, rainfall, and leaf wetness are all examples of IoT devices already at work today.
Pretty cool, huh? Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, there is some bad news, too. The IoT is not going to be all “Oohhs” and “Aahhs.” Technology has a way of getting ahead of itself at times, and so it is with the IoT. Each new innovation or device tends to be a breeding ground for security vulnerability. You may think your smartphone is protected until someone hacks into your sneakers and uses them to get all your contact information and stored credit card numbers.
This kind of security concern is not beyond the realm of possibility and is likely to not be very far off. So, should you avoid IoT at all cost or worry about every new device or application you use? No, not really.
The growing availability of IoT devices and applications will be like everything else in technology. You approach it armed with knowledge, exercise some caution, and enjoy the benefits! There is a whole new world of technology coming, and we need to embrace the possibilities with open eyes as well as open arms.