Internet of Things – Connect the World

Our second class presented to us by Todd was about “Internet of Things”, this is an interesting topic, but a seemingly complex one. As we don’t get very much time in class to absorb every aspect of what this topic is I haven’t got a full grasp on it, so I plan to learn more about it as this blog post moves along 🙂

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Definition:

A proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. “if one thing can prevent the internet of things from transforming the way we live and work, it will be a breakdown in security.”

https://www.google.co.nz/search?newwindow=1&q=internet+of+things+definition&oq=internet+of+things+definition&gs_l=serp.3

Videos Review

We were given a couple videos on the topic to watch and review as part of this blog post.

“The Internet of Things”Dr John Barnett at TEDxCIT.
Where the web and the physical world meet.
This was the first video of the two that I watched, it basically explains what internet of things is, what it does, the pros and cons of it, and what to expect from it in the future. It was a very interesting, eye opening video, explained the topic in more detail so I have a better understanding of it now. It is an extremely complex thing! Here are some interesting and explanatory things from the video :-

“We’re about to connect the physical world to the internet. The planet and everything on it will become things on the internet of things. Not just web pages, real physical things that we can observe and control.”

What does he mean by things?

Literally everything and anything! Goods, objects, machines, appliances, buildings, vehicles, animals, people, plants, soil. Everything we come across in our everyday lives.

How will we do that?

Example: A chair, you want to know from anywhere around the world if this chair is occupied and who is sitting on it. To turn the chair into a device like a smart phone, “smart chair” you have to take a number of steps.
1. Give it a unique identity
2. Give it the ability to communicate.
3. Give it sensors, to sense for example: pressure (if someone sits on it).
4. Embedded electronic circuits, embed either in it or on it.

What will we do with it? (Pros)

“Limited by our imagination.”
We will be able to connect with things and learn about things in a completely new way.
-Monitor things: (observe things) example: monitoring a heart problem via smartphone app, informing a hospital if needed, relatives can see that your heart is still beating.
-Search for things: Reality searches with Google, asking questions like; “Where are my keys?” Because the keys are tagged, locatable objects on the internet of things.
-Manage things: In big cities, “smart cities”; if we know where energy is going and can predict usage, where citizens are, what their up to, what their health is like, can better manage traffic, maybe eliminate congestion. Better use of energy, better use of renewables, can better look after the health, safety and security of all citizens.

He talked about a few different cons but I think the one that was the most obvious but I think the most overlooked is something called “weapon of mass disruption”. We have all seen the damages that viruses, trojans and worms cause on the current internet. So, if all our energy systems, security, transport and health systems are part of the world wide web the possibilities for terrorism and hacking are magnified beyond belief!

It is scary to know that this is already happening! Every major global government and every major economic block is investing heavily into the internet of things. There are already hundreds of millions of things connected to the internet. We’re heading for hundreds of billions or possibly trillions. The one certainty is that it WILL change our lives.

http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web

The next 5000 days of the web – Kevin Kelly
In 5000 days all this amazing stuff has come, but we’re not amazed.

This video was a very interesting and informative one. Maybe a tad bit of an information overload, it was so much to absorb compared to the other one because it was not solely based on the internet of things but also touched on the 5000 days of the web evolution and 5000 days into the future of web evolution. The way he talked about things, very well put, described really well. Definitely a good video for us IT professionals in training to watch, how he relates humans to “the machine.”

“This thing that we’re making, this thing that’s happened in 5000 days that’s all these computers, all these handhelds, all these cellphones, laptops, servers – basically what we’re getting out of all of these is one machine. Our little handhelds are just windows into this machine.”

This machine is the size (in complexity) to your brain, so your brain works in the same way the web works. However, your brain isn’t doubling in power every 2 years. The machine use 5% of global electricity.

Machine = 1 human brains
(30 years from now)
Machine = 6 billion human brains

2040
The web will exceed humanity in processing power.

Our environment becomes the web everything is connected. Embedding the information of the digital nature of things into the material world. That’s where were going, this union, this convergence of atomic and the digital. In this new world if you want total personalization you have to be totally transparent.

Reflection

Having not been able to absorb or quite remember everything that was said in class, it is safe to say that with the help of the videos and online reading I now understand this topic a lot more, understand not only what it is but also what it involves. Imagine it, literally everything, and I mean everything you own being connected to the web, giving off some information accessible to anyone on the internet. This is where people really do have to understand that they will become completely transparent in the internet of things world, something everyone has to prepare for if this is the direction of the future. Like everything else to do with the internet there are pros and cons for this. I understand that it will provide the ability to monitor, manage and “realistically” search for things which can be extremely convenient for busy people. However, having absolutely everything on the world wide web such as our energy, security, transport and health systems creates an open buffet for terrorists and hackers, which can cause irreversible damage to some peoples lives. I believe in this situation the cons outweigh the pros, there is just too much risk in just making everything available for anyone with internet access. Already on the current internet people have problems with identity theft, hackers into bank accounts, social media accounts and email accounts. There are today hundreds of millions of devices connected to the internet, already giving anyone who knows how to look for it any information they want, in the future we are looking at hundreds of billions or even trillions of devices! Definitely something for the public to think about before they dive head first into something that could be a global disaster. However, that is just my opinion and the internet of things could end up being one of the most innovative and convenient things to come about since the internet itself.
Whether it will be the internet of things or whether it will be something else, we live in a technological age and we are all rushing into the future of technology with open arms. It’s going to happen, it’s inevitable, escape is futile :-).
We just need to keep an open mind and be prepared for anything. We need to remember to be amazed at truly amazing things cause that’s really what they are!

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