The Internet of Things in the home – think twice before connecting

office-620822_640The year is 2025. Leonardo DiCaprio still hasn’t won an Oscar and Prince Charles is still merely a prince. We aren’t that far in the future, but we’re far enough that technology has taken over the majority of life’s daily activities.

On a day when everything runs smoothly, life is great. The time my Internet-enabled alarm clock goes off changes every day depending on travelling conditions on my route to work; my iBraceletThing analyses my every move and sets lighting and music around the house to suit my mood; my self-driving car takes me where I need to go so I can browse Reddit while crawling through rush-hour traffic.

But when things go wrong, life isn’t so great. A virus tells my alarm clock that there’s two hours’ worth of traffic delays, forcing me to get up early and be the only one in the office at 7am. My iBraceletThing seems to think I’m feeling lonely and won’t stop playing Kenny G, and my car misjudged a kerb and I now owe my neighbours the price of a new fence.

We’re in danger of getting ahead of ourselves

The old phrase ‘don’t run before you can walk’ perfectly suits the Internet of Things. Better connectivity between everyday devices is an exciting concept, but, when we’re still incapable of getting basic cyber security correct, should we really be connecting anything and everything to the Internet?

Internet connectivity provides great benefits to millions of products, but manufacturers must ask themselves whether their latest trinket really needs to be connected to the Internet.

It’s not uncommon for me to come across an Internet- or Bluetooth-connected product in-store or on the Internet that makes me wonder what the decision process was.

“How can we make this toilet more appealing?”

“Bluetooth!”

“Bingo!”

If implemented with effective security, then an Internet-connected toilet could have considerable medical benefits. When I hear of bathroom cyber attacks, however, I’m not too convinced that we’re ready for such technology.

Limited number of chances

As mentioned above, there are benefits to having devices connected to the Internet, but if manufacturers keep failing to secure these devices from the start, consumers will be less-inclined to purchase them – regardless of whether the security issues have been fixed.

I look forward to having a home in the near future that has autonomous features that all talk to each other to make my life a little bit easier, but the more I read about devices and how they’ve been compromised, the more I prefer the idea of living in a cave.

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6 Comments

  1. Lewis Cowles 15th September 2015
  2. Rebecca Moran 15th September 2015
    • Jeff 13th January 2016
  3. Beatrice Türler (@buturler) 15th September 2015
    • Lewis Morgan 15th September 2015
  4. Martin Stewart 21st September 2015