Internet of Things: Advantages May Far Outweigh Its Drawbacks

internet of things

People may not realize it but the Internet of Things is already gaining traction and slowly influencing how people live in this connected world. Right now, its perceived advantages may far outweigh its feared drawbacks. Some analysts even called the up-and-coming technological paradigm shift as bigger than the Industrial Revolution.

The Internet of Things pertains to the concept of devices connected to the Internet where data gathered by such devices are reported to users. People can then act on the said data or the devices themselves are empowered to act on it. The ease of data transmission, reception and implementation are all meant to improve people’s quality of lives. Kevin Ashton is the person widely credited for coining the phrase in 1999 while working for Procter & Gamble. Since then, the phrase caught on and was used in a variety of articles, which appeared in scientific and academic journals.

Right now, many smart devices like laptops, smart phones and tablets communicate with each other through the use of Wi-Fi internet technology. Transfer these technological capabilities into ordinary household gadgets like refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, thermostat, door locks among others, equip these with their own computer chips, software and access to the Internet and a “smart home” now comes to life.

Many gadgets comprising the smart home totality are now being offered in the market. One example is the Nest thermostat where it adjusts household temperature depending on usage patterns and billing rates. The Nest thermostat can be controlled using a mobile app. Recently, Nest which, was bought by Google for $3.2 billion, has expanded to include smart smoke detectors in its product offerings as part of its smart-home solutions. LG Electronics, the South Korean firm, is also now offering users the ability to control their appliances by way of text messages.

The Internet of Things can only work if these gadgets and devices start interacting with each other through a networked system. The AllSeen Alliance, a nonprofit organization devoted to the adoption of the Internet of Things, is facilitating to make sure that companies like Cisco, Sharp and Panasonic are manufacturing products compatible with a networked system and to ensure that these products can interact with each other. Gartner, the research company, estimates that by year 2020, there will be 30 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things.

The advantages of course of these highly networked and connected devices mean productive and enhanced quality of lives for people. For example, health monitoring can be rather easy with connected RX bottles and medicine cabinets. Doctors supervising patients can monitor their medicine intake as well as measure blood pressure, sugar levels and alert them when something goes wrong to their patients online.

In the aspect of energy conservation, household appliances can suggest optimal setting based on the user’s energy consumption like turning the ideal temperature just before the owner arrives home as well as turning on and off the lights whenever the owner is out on vacation just to create the impression that somebody is still left inside the house to prevent burglars from attempting to enter.

Smart refrigerators, on the other hand, can suggest food supplies that are low on inventory and needs immediate replenishment. The suggestions are based on the user’s historical purchasing behavior and trends. Wearable technology are also part of this Internet of Things, where these devices can monitor sleeping patterns, workout measurements, sugar levels, blood pressure and connecting these data to the user’s social media accounts for tracking purposes.

Compare these advantages to its feared drawbacks like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging each item to be placed inside the smart refrigerator, each piece of clothing to be placed inside a smart closet or medicines inside a smart medicine cabinet are just too taxing an activity for many.

The other disadvantage is the fact that most devices are not yet ready to communicate with another brand of devices. Specific products can only be networked with their fellow products under the same brand name. It is good that AllSeen Alliance is making sure connectivity happens but the reality of a “universal remote control” for all these devices and products is still in its infantile development.

The most important drawback with regard to the full implementation of the Internet of Things is with regard to the privacy and security issue. Smart home devices have the ability to devour a lot of data and information about a user. These data can include personal schedules, shopping habits, medicine intake schedule and even location of the user at any given time. If these data fall into the wrong hands great harm and damage can be done to people.

It is indeed wonderful to know that technology is working for people and not against people. Despite these perceived and oftentimes realistic disadvantages, people and companies responsible in implementing the Internet of Things must work together to minimize such risks from happening. The Internet of Things has its own advantages that may far outweigh its various drawbacks. It only takes an extra effort from everyone involved.

By Roberto I. Belda

Sources:

Digital Trends
Reuters
Daily Finance

21 Responses to "Internet of Things: Advantages May Far Outweigh Its Drawbacks"

  1. Charles Grooms   January 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    #MobileKeyLoggingTheftSolution Google to see Fb and G + Next Generation #KeyLoggingTheft Patented FIX with #KeyboardEncryption.

    Reply
  2. Jakob Stagg   January 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Perhaps there would be fewer drawbacks if folks were allowed some kind of choices.

    Reply
  3. Justin   January 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    How Internet of Things is helping people living near forest fires.

    http://livegreenindc.org/2014/01/20/indoorairquality/

    Reply
  4. Susan See   January 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t know. It was just more fun when I did things for myself. I felt a greater sense of satisfaction in being responsible for the events in my life instead of handing it over to a “machine” that reminds me of every conceivable thing. Last night I was trying to watch a TV episode in bed on my Kindle Fire and it wouldn’t connect to the internet; and Amazon kept asking me to sign in. I even got up and went online with my PC and I was signed in already. It also told me I had no watch list, which wasn’t true. So, even though technology can be great sometimes, I spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out, when it isn’t working or working properly, if it’s me or them. I actually look back and wonder how I functioned without being able to have information instantly at hand. But I did and it worked and worked well. With everything communicated in words it seems like our lives no longer have any context. Just like Judge Judy. “No, what did you SAY?”

    Reply
  5. Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga   January 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Does anyone recall the 1977 movie “Demon Seed” (based on the novel of the same name, written several years earlier, by Dean Koontz)?

    Reply
  6. Mitch M   January 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

    The first sentence of the last paragraph reads: “It is indeed wonderful to know that technology is working for people and not against people.” This is a complete non-sequitur that is the entire point of this fake news piece: more internet, more info, more, more, more. Mindless as its prose.

    Reply
  7. Jake   January 26, 2014 at 11:24 am

    David – This same technology can be used to save energy. If I leave the heat on in my home when I go to work, I’ll just use my phone to turn it off. People fear technology that is new. I understand. The author made an excellent point that effort needs to be made to keep this technology from having a bad impact. One more thing… the technology is going to happen NO MATTER WHAT, so I’d recommend thinking in terms of the positives rather than feeling down about the negatives. Okay, fine… one more thing. If companies can get RICHER by making our lives better, than more power (money) to them!

    Reply
  8. alias   January 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

    “…are all meant to improve people’s quality of lives”. All the things are meant to make companies, and the people that own them, richer. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that improving the customer’s lives is anywhere near the top of the priorities list.

    Reply
  9. Mitch Stokely   January 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

    The dependence this creates is enormous. The security and privacy issues are even greater. Imagine if your utility company changes its electricity rates they give you based on this data. imagine if insurance gets a hold of this data, and use it to raise your rates. Imagine all this data sold by social media and search engines to make even more billions selling advertising to you. What does the CONSUMER gain???? ……nothing

    Reply
  10. vivian taylor   January 26, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Oh, if this is the future, and I’m sure it is, if some planetary disaster doesn’t interrupt it and reset civilization’s clock, then I hope I die before 2020. The Internet is at least still in my control (I can still turn it off and even disconnect entirely if I want). All the above posts are so totally correct. Are you paying attention, Roberto?

    Reply
  11. dpelham   January 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Don’t think “now”, think “future”. 20 years from now this will be life … with those darn lazy kids.

    Reply
  12. Emmanuel Pons   January 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

    i rather control my own needs and destiny than those “things” that rely on electricity. yes i use wifi and bluetooth and laptop and iPhone in a limited way.

    Reply
  13. John Conaway   January 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Thank you David, for reminding the author and the readers that energy is needed for this allegedly perfect world of connections. Also, there are consequences to enormous energy consumption.which the author doesn’t even allude to at all.

    We are not at a Star Trek inspired future were energy seemingly comes from thin air-and the production/consumption of said energy sources makes so much pollution that I wonder where the author came up with a phrase like “technology is working for people and not against people”…

    Reply
  14. Noti Atamelang   January 26, 2014 at 9:13 am

    The internet has replaced my phone, my newspaper, my mail service, my television, my typewriter and my calculator. But I turn up the thermostat when I’m cold, I turn it down when I’m hot. When I’m thirsty I go to the store and buy beer. When I travel, I turn it off.

    I expect the vendors trying to provide me an “improved customer experience” will fill my inbox and my browser adverts with jackets when I turn up the thermostat and beer commercials when hit the AC.

    Vendors need to deal with security? These are the guys who are SELLING YOUR INFORMATION to make money bumping up the already out of control world of spies and spam. The patterns I create will go to the highest bidder and the crime syndicates will make home robbery more of a production line event.

    Reply
  15. Leonard Cat   January 26, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Remember HAL? “I’m sorry Dave I can’t do that…”

    Not really such a paranoid reminder. Just think about it. If we create a houseful of objects that are computer chip and internet dependent, what happens if the power goes out? Or if I loose my service provider? Or if we loose net-neutrality and I cannot get basic functionality of my household? Its the height of idiocy and prideful hubris to think that these inventions will be infallible.

    Furthermore, why would anyone want a fully insulated cocoon mommy mothership house to control one’s life? Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

    Reply
  16. jnffarrell1   January 26, 2014 at 8:47 am

    There are a host of tasks for Radio engineers relative to countering signal interception, communications security and information security within the physical envelope of a home before there can be a home internet of things. Same can be said for an automobile envelope, school envelope, hospital envelope…. etc. The need is to build subnetworks with highly secure design features that control exactly how, when, and by whom the sensor data generated by things is to be shared with people.

    For example electric quadrupoles, rather than dipole antennas could limit the reach of radio signals beyond the home. Encrypting everything within the home and sharing keys for decryption only with things that have a need to know would help. Finally choking the info flow in out of the home through a highly secure hub will help even more.

    Building the most desirable fridge means nothing. Building the most secure hub means everything. Who do you think will win the hub? Samsung’s bloat ware, Apples garden ware, Microsoft’s monopoly ware, Googles advertising ware or none of the above.

    Reply
  17. Randy   January 26, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Smart House. Can we have a Smart Senate too?

    Reply
  18. Mark Simons   January 26, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Technology unfortunately breeds laziness. That’s all the Internet of Things will actually do….create lazy people and a treasure trove of data for companies and hackers looking to exploit that data. I for one will still be driving my 1967 GTO on a back road somewhere, away from Google cars. I’ll stop at the market to pick up the things on my mental list (eggs, milk, batteries, 6-pack, etc.). After, I’ll go home, cook dinner myself, do the laundry myself, step out onto the deck and smell the ocean air (thankfully the Internet of Things can’t help there)…then I’ll take my dogs for a walk on the beach (thankfully the Internet of Things can’t help me there either)….and finally, I’ll get ready for any number of other outdoor activities, sports, exercise of any form. The rest of you can sit inside on the couch having drones deliver your milk and cheese.

    Reply
  19. David   January 26, 2014 at 7:36 am

    If this is the path we are going down, we need to balance the enormous increase in electrical usage created by computerizing everything in our homes with a sustainable production of electricity. It might be cool to have a computer that can lock and unlock my doors for me but it is completely unnecessary if I exercise a little mindfulness in the use of my physical keys, which don’t cost energy to keep a computer continuously running to accept an “open the door” signal. That electrical energy is produced mostly by non-renewable fossil fuels, which are a scarce and politically-sensitive resource. Nickels and dimes add up to large costs when spread across every consumer in the country.

    Reply

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