The Internet of Things: The good and the bad

You've heard of the internet, right? But have you heard of the Internet of Things (IoT)? You probably have, just maybe not in name. Everything that connects to something else is part of the IoT. If it has an on/off switch and connects to another device (usually via Bluetooth) or the internet, then it's likely part of the IoT (i.e. Smart Watches, headphones, lights).

Why does this matter? Well, for a few reasons. Mainly, the lack of security the IoT has. But also, the amazing simplicity it can bring.


Let's start with the negative. The lack of security.


According to DataProt's research, there are more than 10 billion active IoT devices. A more staggering number is by 2025 there will be roughly 152,200 IoT devices connecting to the internet per minute. How many devices of yours have connections between each other and/or to the internet? Probably a lot. Eventually, it will be nearly everything in your house that can work with a chip or sensor.


With all of these connections, is anything secure? Maybe. We don't know. While the concept of IoT is not new, its growth is. The idea of "connected devices" or referred to then as "embedded internet" or "pervasive computing" since the 1970s. It didn't start growing until about 2010.


According to DataProt's research on security hacks and attacks happen quickly and precisely. Studies done on cyberattacks show there's about a 5-minute window when newly connected IoT devices are attacked. In about 75% of the cases, WiFi routers are the gateway. Even worse, 48% of businesses admit they're unable to detect IoT security breaches of their network. Before long, many things in your own house or that you regularly use will be part of the Internet of Things. Your garage openers, your Roomba, your heating, air conditioning, or your ventilation. Terrifying but not as terrifying as planes, cars, or trains being hacked. It doesn't help when these devices are not equipped with the proper security software.


Hackers are clever and will find ways around most anything. Just like they did when they used a fish tank's thermometer to hack a casino. Researchers were able to hack a Jeep using Sprint's cellular network and could control the speed and veer it off the road. Unfortunately, there are more stories of hacks with IoT devices. Hopefully, these security issues will be resolved before they take over our lives.


Whether or not the security issues are resolved before you start investing in smart technology for you and your home, it definitely can make life easier.


Something The Theater People can do for those interested in a smart home is connect several aspects of your house to one app. Your devices communicate with each other, gather data of your habits and routines, and automatically adjust your lights or the temperature of a room. Maybe you have a bad habit of closing the garage. Your devices will communicate and see your garage is open and it's 10:00 PM. We've set it up to automatically close at that time. Say you've left the house and don't remember if you turned your lights off, there are several options: they're movement detected, so they turn off because of no movement, or they've communicated with each other and see your cell phone isn't near, so they turn off, and lastly, you use the app to turn them off yourself. Speakers, TVs, and even security systems can all be set up to be smart (or IoT) devices.

The Theater People has done smart home setups for single parents (opening garages when they're near, turning on the lights when they open the door, etc.) to make it just a little easier when they're carrying in their things, their kids, or just to make their day a little more relaxed. We've also installed a sensor inside a safety stuffed animal for a child who was disabled to turn on lights and electronics when they came into their room. We can do these things for anyone to make things a little more simplified for the single parent, the person with a disability, the parents with multiple kids, and anyone else. Ask us about how we can make your home smart.

Healthcare and fitness are other areas that can make your life easier with IoT devices. A smart inhaler can send information to an app for you and your healthcare provider to see. A smart gluco-monitoring system can also connect to an app to store and share information. The more IoT devices used in healthcare, the more proactive approach you and your doctors can have. With fitness, gyms are using your location services to share busy times (i.e. Planet Fitness shows how busy it is at any given time so you can decide if you want to go now or later).


Life is hard and busy. If there are ways to make things a little simpler, I am all for it. If you're interested in anything The Theater People can do for you and your home, check out our Automation page and give us a call. We'll do all we can to make sure your devices are as secure as they can be to keep you, your family, and your home safe.

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