Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. Right from pest management to autonomous cars, connected things are just making every system smarter. The number of connected things have surpassed 14.2 billion today and the number will hit 75.44 billion by 2025. Speculations suggest that 5G will become the lifeline of IoT devices with 10x speed. Tech giants are dumping millions into the niche. But then, the all-powerful technology has one downside – Cybersecurity threats! IoT can be a backdoor for hackers to manipulate corporations and government systems. Would the security risks outweigh the benefits of IoT? Is there a real solution? Let’s discuss!
Enterprises are becoming IoT dependent
IoT improves accountability
Biometric systems along with facial and voice recognition have terminated proxy attendance practices. RFID access badges allow the management to check the presence of employees and beacon-embedded ID cards track their location. The office supply theft and hoarding problems have also come to an end by smart kiosks and vending machines.
IoT reinforces work-from-home culture
Advancements in Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology combined with video conferencing have enabled seamless communication even if the employee is working from home. Telerobotics allows you to remotely control things at the office.
IoT improves employee welfare
Ergonomic smart furniture adjust to the user’s height and body type and some even read the users’ mood based on their postures. Smart climate control devices adjust the air conditioners and ventilation to maintain consistency in room temperature. Corporate employees can even talk to coffee machines to customize their coffee. Chatbot-based training makes the learning process more comfortable and have proved to be much better than a human trainer. With proximity sensors you don’t have to close the doors, switch off the lights and air-conditioners when people leave the room. Smart faucets close themselves when not used.
Early stage fault detection systems can predict failures and alert the authorities. Beacons can send security alerts to phones through Bluetooth even if there’s no network coverage. It’s no wonder that the global smart office market is growing at a CAGR of 12.98% and it about to hit $57.05 billion by 2025.
Supply chain logistics are turning smarter
RFID also provides better visibility into the inventory. You can track the shelf life and movement of inventories and accordingly prevent under-stocking and ‘out-of-stock’ scenarios.
Inventory shrinkage problems cost businesses upto $48.9 billion every year. RFID tags minimize the loss by enabling warehouse managers to track every product in transit. This has also significantly reduced the ‘supply-theft’ problems.
Smart cities are the future
IoT in Pollution control
An IoT based air pollution monitoring systems can track the air quality and trigger a warning when the pollution is above safety levels. IoT levarages pH gauges to determine the water quality of reservoirs. Walabot measures aquatic life and can alert if there’s a significant decrease.
IoT-based power management
In the US alone, average power outages can cause a loss of $150 B each year. IoT-based solar power grids bring this number significantly down, increase efficiency, and eventually lead to sustainable smart cities. An IoT based smart city lighting infrastructure would allow you to scan and understand the lighting requirements in different areas. Also, these lights can adjust their intensity based on the weather. Samsung, along with Talensa, is working on the Urban Data Project. Data regarding air quality, traffic or population can be garnered from thousands of sensors deployed on the street lights.
IoT can manage road traffic too
While Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology lets vehicles communicate and maintain a safe distance, and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) network them to the transportation infrastructure such as traffic signals. IoT can be used for pest monitoring, weather forecasting, and automate irrigation and pesticide applications. Sensors can also test the soil and can tell you what kind of pesticide has to be used.
Hacking into one device can lead the way into the other. This is even worse when it comes to enterprises where tiny mistakes lead to titanic consequences. For example, hacking a smart doorbell can open the doors to attack the important servers. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are making headlines lately. It gets even worse when you think about standardisation. There are no specific generalized rules or a set of standards of IoT. Because several organizations suggest a list of standards manufacturers pick the set in which they are comfortable with. This fuels the security vulnerabilities that come with incompatibility issues. Overall, establishing a universal standard for all IoT devices can put an end to a lot of things that ail the progress of IoT adaptation.
Wrapping it up,
Tech giants are persistently doing all they can to fill in security gaps within IoT devices. Because they are making hefty investments in IoT technology. Apple seems to be augmenting its NFC payment functionalities and has also recently patented a new fingerprint scanner technology. Jack Ma recently hinted that Alibaba would use IoT to maximize their reach to the people. Google Arts & Culture has constructed an AI called ‘Poem Portrait’ that can convert your selfie into create a unique portrait layered with poetry. Google Lens is being loaded with new features like in-camera calculator to split bills. Microsoft announced that its future $5 billion investment in IoT. Samsung’s recently launched Exynos i T100 chip would combat hacking with its exclusive Security Sub System (SSS) and Physical Unclonable Function (PUF). Carvana, an Arizona-based startup, sells cars through vending machines. Clearly, manufacturers are doing all the heavy lifting to future-proof their devices against cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Going forward, the IoT devices will not just be powerful but secure too!