Do you ever wish to develop a system which would sense everything you do? Right from exiting your home, entering your car, parking it and entering your office? The sensors all interconnected over Wi-Fi sending details what time you exited the house so that the AC in your car functions and adjusts the temperature to the right value. The time you enter the car is shared to office so that the temperature in your cabin is predefined set to a comfortable level. Smart, isn’t it? And pretty exciting, right?
Such an intelligent system of systems is called Internet of Things or IoT for short because writing Internet of Things everywhere is tiresome.
1. GATEWAY TO HEAVEN
Well, as you may like to imagine from the heading, this IoT stuff is really a gateway to heaven for the internet world of today. We know that over this metaphorically small earth are millions, no, billions of devices connected to the internet at any given instant of time. But imagine, what if all these billions of devices are connected to each other too for sharing all the information? Intelligent idea I guess. That’s it folks! You got it right. Such devices when connected to each other become a smart system, and such systems when connected to each other form an intelligent system of systems. This, my friends, is Internet of Things.
In the words of Sir Wikipedia, ‘Internet of Things is the network of physical objects, devices, vehicles, buildings and other items- embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.’
2.IS IT NECESSARY?
Let us take up some facts and figures. The traffic in downtown Los Angeles is very congested. 20-30% of the traffic is of the people searching for a parking spot. So imagine a sensor at all parking spots and one in your vehicle. As soon as one of the spot is free, your vehicle will be notified and a map will direct you there. Bingo! Problem solved.
Take another one. Old grandpa Mike lives home alone and suffers from numerous diseases. What if something happens to him someday? How will the hospital get to know? Steps in IoT. We made an automated home. The sensors are feeded with time grandpa takes his medicine and the sensor acknowledges the task as done. If someday, one of the medicine time is skipped the alarm will immediately alert the nearby hospital for an emergency situation and Emergency Respond Unit will rush to the scene and save old grandpa Mike.
So ladies and gentlemen, take a deep breath and welcome with open arms. I give to you the Internet of Things.
3. LET THE GAMES BEGIN
Now sit back, open your visionary eyes and imagine. The government spends millions, okay billions of dollars in contract with the US, China and other nations to induct this technology and the people are now enjoying it. Sounds like child’s play. But it isn’t. There are various hurdles we must jump over before we can lift the winning trophy.
Buckle up friends, fasten your seatbelts. We’re going for a drive-by along the mobs of problems that this master plan faces.
Alright. To begin with. Give it a thought guys. We already have such a compact and complex infrastructure which was developed after paying off millions to the income tax officers, inspection teams and blah blah blah officers to get the tenders passed, to get that building stand there and raise it to 5th floor. Wouldn’t want anyone to tamper with it anytime soon until we extract at least thrice of what was invested, right? So installing the IoT devices in the pre-geographic Indian infrastructure is something we can’t achieve without again paying off those officers again.
The Indian public people. Give it up for them. Seriously, they deserve a huge round of applause for their abilities. The electricity department couldn’t save themselves from the theft of electricity after all these years of independence, how long before the IoT devices are ripped off from their positions and lying in some shop’s stock in exchange of a few hundred or thousand rupees?
We want to implement a technology which survives solely on internet in a country where a continuous and adequate telecom and power facilities are not ensured. This is really funny. God, I’m laughing hard right now.
The majority of people in India either belong to low income group or the middle income group. Thus, the technology should be affordable for the billions of the people who earn just enough to lead a satisfactory life and not the few thousands of people who even take swim in a pool of money.
I always like to say, cyber security is just a feeling, it never exists. So, your private data maybe recorded without your knowledge by a person you never met or may never even encounter throughout your lifetime. The risks of your private data in the hands of an unwanted guest is something nobody would want. Reports show that more than 70% IoT that are available are prone to hacking. Thus, before connecting everything to internet, we must secure the internet from the black hats.
All the data which will be processed will create information and eventually (artificial) intelligence – though we are not there yet. Big Data tools will gather, store, analyse and distribute these large data sets to produce valuable insights, create new products and services, and optimize scenarios and etc. etc. etc. Sensing the data on time and accurately is only half of the battle to prepare for. Data needs to be directed into the existing back-end systems and has to be made available to tie-up partners, consumers and their own employees.
A significant number of devices- around 50 billion things- are expected to be a part of the Internet tree by 2020. But how are we planning on powering all of them? Battery life and consumption of energy to power sensors and actuators needs to be managed more effectively. Energy used for wireless network transfers often dominates power consumption, and hence wireless protocols and technologies compatible for low data rates and less power consumption are required.
At least in the consumer market, the report anticipates that the IoT market will grow through a variety of awesome android or iOS applications, rather than with a single ‘control it all’ app. Part of the problem is that IoT products may be more interesting to their makers than to their customers. Users of IoT devices need to be able to extract real, reusable positives from the technology, or they just won’t be at all bothered about it.
4. KNOCK ‘EM DOWN
Want to finish first without inputting much of your energy? Who doesn’t want it? That is a bit difficult but not impossible. Don’t forget people, this is twenty first century we are living in. Some ways to steer clear of the problems I discussed above have been mentioned below. Consider them your cheat codes for this game.
a. Ethical Networking
I am sure you have heard what ethical hacking is, but ethical networking? You must not have come across this term before, me neither. I guess ethical networking means networking with etiquettes and manners. To be fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the networking and always try to be honest and clear in your approach without causing the loss of any other person.
b. Aware Public
There is no point of spending so much of the taxpayer’s money in bringing in the IoT and people are in awe wondering what in heavens name IoT is. We need the public to be fully and totally aware about each and every minute details of IoT before we can actually start using it.
c. Law Enforcers
We need strong policies formulated and a responsible law enforcement to protect our devices from the villains of the cyber world- the black hats. We don’t want an uninvited guest snooping through our files in our absence or a third-party witnessing all our private content.
That’s it folks! Thank you so much for your attention and giving it a read rather than surfing through the Wikipedia page for yourself. I think if I have told you enough to give you a brief about Internet of Things in the simplest way I could manage. For deep dives in these uncharted waters sir, you can always refer to google.