More than ever we have smart devices and products allowing us greater control over lights, your refrigerator, door locks and many other appliances. In a broad sense, the term IoT encompasses anything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that “talk” to each other. Simply said, the Internet of Things is made up of devices – from simple sensors to smart-phones connected together.

IoT will essentially make something as simple as enhancing your refrigerator and shelves to detect when items run low, and to then place an order with your preferred food supplier.

Internet of Things - Smart Home
Internet of Things – Smart Home

Although the most common examples of the IoT consist of so-called “smart home” devices such as programmable thermostats and remote controlled appliances, the largest share of future growth of the IoT is likely to come from applications of the technology in virtually every sector of the economy, from commercial and industrial environments to healthcare and public safety.

The basic benefit of IoT offers us an opportunity to be more efficient in how we do certain things, and finally saving us time, money and often emissions in the process.

Why IoT Matters

By connecting to the internet, it means we can means that devices can send information or receive information, or both. This ability to send and/or receive information makes things smart, and smart is good.

Using a smart phone as an example, you can listen to almost any song in the world, but it is not because your smart phone stores all the songs on it. Basically, the smart phone sends information asking for a particular song and then streaming that song from somewhere else (another device).

A large number of “entry-level” IoT devices exist to the daily life routine tasks. Things like finding your keys, unlocking house door, turning lights on and off — these and other life habits can be automated with sensors and intelligent software. A truly smart home is full of products that can learn your preferences, then dynamically anticipate your needs and respond by managing your house.

Internet of Things - Applications
Internet of Things – Applications

To be smart, a device does not need a large storage or a massive super computer within the device. The device connects to some external IoT super storage or perhaps a super computer to do it’s function. So being connected (IoT) is an awesome concept to make a simple device function in many greater ways.

IoT devices such as wearable Fitbits, pet trackers, and smart TVs all make your life easier and more convenient.

Common IoT Devices
Common IoT Devices

With IoT the device connection to the internet can be placed into three categories:

  • Devices that can collect information and then send it.
  • Devices that can receive information and then act on it.
  • Devices that can do both the above.

IoT Applications (typical)

IoT Applications
IoT Applications

Some common IoT applications:

  • Smart Thermostats: Save resource on heating & cooling bills by knowing your usage patterns.
  • Vehicles: IOT helps automotive companies handle billing, parking, insurance, and other related stuff automatically.
  • Health / Activity: Capture heart rate pattern, calorie expenditure, activity levels, and skin temperature from your wrist.
  • Smart Power: Remotely turn any device on or off. Track a device’s energy level and get custom notifications on your smart-phone.
  • Parking: IOT technology helps to identify the real-time availability of parking spaces on our smart-phone.
  • Health: Monitor the real-time aspects of patient care. Improves medical decision-making based on patient data.
  • Smart City: Traffic management, water distribution, waste management, etc.
  • Smart Home: Smoke detectors, home appliances, light bulbs, windows, door locks, etc.
  • Smart Tracking: Real time tracking of goods while they are on the road, or getting suppliers to exchange inventory information.
  • Farming: Automatically collecting information about soil moisture so farmers can known exactly when their crops need water.

IoT Communications

Home IoT Network
Home IoT Network

A Smart Home LoT may typically operate in a local area network (LAN) that covers an area the size of an office or home. Most IoT applications use a wide area network (WAN) which send the collected data to the Internet cloud computing structure.

Sensors connect to the LAN or WAN through various types of communication and transports such as mobile (cellular) networks, satellite networks, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, low power wide area network (LPWAN) and others. Once the data is collected, software performs processing on the acquired data. Finally, the processed information can be (typically) presented to the end-user by the means of mobile phone, emails or SMS. In the case of a vehicle, it might be a dash mounted display or alarm.

IoT Sensor - Communication Process
IoT Sensor – Communication Process

There will be cases where where certain IoT events result in automatic responses. By having some predefined rules, the entire IOT system can automatically adjust various settings with no human input or presence required. This would be the case if any intruders are sensed, the IoT security system can generate an alert (alarm state) not only to the owner of the house but to the various authorities.

IoT Profile

The internet of Things (IoT) is about extending the power of the internet beyond computers and smart-phones to a whole range of other things, processes and environments. These “connected” devices are used to gather information, or send information back, or to do both. By doing so, IoT allows businesses and people to be more connected to the world around them and to do more meaningful, higher-level work.

Internet of Things – Simply explained in 3 minutes


Internet of Things (IoT) and Security

The goal of IoT devices are applications that are designed to make life easier and simpler. However, this data exchange over the internet does present some security issues.

Internet of Things - Security
Internet of Things – Security

Truthfully, the Internet of Things is known for having weak security, and the IoT technology can have some extremely sensitive information. Cyber criminals are definitely aware of this vulnerability with figures showing criminal IoT attacks have grown in 2019.

It is estimated that forecasted global IoT market will reach a value of $2.0 trillion (AUD) in 2019. There is a fast pace to release new IoT products in a booming market that is similar to the computer market selling frenzy in the mid-1990s. It is estimated the number of world-wide IoT devices will reach 26 billion in 2020.

For now, the state of the IoT is relatively secure. Hackers have not fully exploited the technology to blackmail people or devastate entire organizations as most of the internet-connected devices are built on different platforms, operating systems, and use different programming languages. Developing malware attacks for every type of IoT device is not yet an attraction for the cyber criminal’s time.

However, while cyber-criminals are not creating catastrophic IoT security breaches, they can still exploit your smart devices vulnerabilities to access those other systems connected to it.

Ways to be Protected from IoT Security Threats

Choose a reputable IoT device supplier

Any extra cost to pay more for a reputable suppliers product will be a long term commitment to security.

IoT Device Security
IoT Device Security

Change your devices’ login and password access

Cyber criminals can easily find a manufacturers default access code and password online (a lot of devices to default to ‘admin’ and a password of ‘password’). The use of a password manager such as LastPass can easily generate random passwords for your IoT devices that are nearly impossible to guess.

Regularly check and Update your IoT software

Reputable IoT vendors will release software updates for the product when vulnerabilities are discovered.

Isolate your Home IoT from your business IoT devices

If a cyber criminal does access your home network you certainly wish to deny them access to information about your work or business.

If possible disable the devices remote access

If it is acceptable for the core operation of the device, disable remote access.

IoT Security Trends

Those companies that sold personal computers in the mid-1990s ended up fixing security issues. Now, more than 20 years later, the computer market is still booming. It is certain that reputable IoT manufacturers will follow the same pattern, even though shoring up security might cost IoT companies more money initially. This investment in time and money will build trust, loyalty and a fair revenue for the future of IoT sales.

Summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices called “things” that are embedded with software, electronics, network, and sensors which allows collection and the exchange of data.

The idea of connected devices was first proposed in 1970.

The four Key components of IoT framework are:

  • Sensors/Devices
  • Connectivity
  • Data Processing
  • A User Interface
IoT - Key Components
IoT – Key Components