All About The Internet of Things

An exploration into the connection between technologies

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All throughout the expanding age of technology, a network has been quietly branching out to every corner of the market, every inch of the globe; that is the Internet of Things. Simply put, the IoT is the connection between any piece of technology that can be connected to the Internet itself. From smartphones, to lightbulbs, the Internet of Things has and will continue to encompass much of our daily lives.

The Internet of Things was first theorized in the 1980s and served as a loose understanding for what we know now as the structure of internet capable devices of today. Originally it served as a concept for the linking network between complex computing machines, but as computing became more and more grand, this structure became applied to so many more items. A small-scale version can be seen in a wireless network. There, we can easily see the link between computers and associated devices. One item that could be seen in this example would be a wireless printer. In a small-scale network, the printer would most likely be alright without a password, but on a larger scale network, devices need to be minded to ensure the best user experience. It is that thought process that is the core foundation of modern security practices in the world. Technological devices, no matter what their purpose, rarely exist independently, so it is important to consider all of the connections your computer can make.

Touching on the previous thought, privacy has really evolved itself within the Internet of Things. In the initial development of the concept, the most concerning things were what was to come, but now that we are at that point in computing history, it’s important to create a stringent privacy arrangement. One example that can be seen is with the growing affinity with app-controlled lighting. Although it’s a novel, convenient idea, if the security protocols that have been established weren’t in place, theoretically someone could use the established network to disrupt usage of those lights and pester the user. This same concept could be applied across the board to pretty much every device on a network, compromising pretty much any piece of technology along the way. Another now more infamous privacy situation that technology has opened itself up to was the hacking of wireless baby monitors. In this situation, although a default password was generated for the offending devices, individuals with the technology to look into this were able to discover the passwords and use them to look into peoples homes. Although the situation was seemingly handled quickly, this just speaks to the ever expanding need for user protections while technology expands their capabilities.

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With the steps currently being taken to ensure privacy, one must look at the trajectory of where things came from to determine how to proceed from there. In the past 15 years, technology and computing power has seen a grand uptick in its usage, but even in the past 5 years, those numbers have grown exponentially. Although we are in the midst of a huge technology boom, things will continue to grow no matter the precipice of that boom. With those ideas of the future, it’s not about the scenario of if it needs to happen, but when it needs to happen. In the past, privacy and security has been approached in a relatively reactive way, causing industry professionals many hours of scrambling and battling a public relations nightmare. With this insight, hopefully technologies both existing and yet to be can be can ensure a truly protected user experience.

Another point for professionals to consider is the optimization of networking between devices. As it currently stands, devices can and will recognize each other, but there is a higher likelihood in efficacy between devices from the same manufacturer. Obviously there will always be a bit of an advantage when optimizing a network between two pieces of computing machinery created both from the same hardware manufacturer with the same operating system installed, but refining the link between other devices is key. One way this thought can be illustrated is through the use of tablets across different operating networks. When a user has all Apple products, the likelihood of them picking another Apple product is much higher even if there is a PC-based tablet that could suit them better. This was seen pretty strongly when the Google tablet and other Microsoft devices were released and their bright, expressive media campaigns released around these ideas. Where one might have normally stuck to the same manufacturer as all their other devices, this was one of the first ways the lines between operating systems has been seen blurring in the past few years. Users spent a great deal researching into these new technologies, looking to see what would work best for them and in some case they are actively looking for contrasting technologies to use. In a world of so many custom services, the expanding need to optimize networks is more apparent as ever.

Technology and all of its applications have amassed a large reliant network across so many different sectors. We are currently in a very interesting time where the needs of millions, if not billions, of bespoke services are colliding together in an overlapping network of ideas and information. The world has created so much and with the expanding capabilities of technology, much more is yet to come.

— — Written by Kathleen R McKiernan for Holberton School NHV — —

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Cosmetologist to Coder — Holberton School New Haven

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