The Internet of Things (IoT) are multiplying as technology costs decrease and smart device sales increase. Generally speaking, if there is a device with an on and off switch, there is a likely chance that it will become a future part of the IoT movement. IoT architecture includes the sensors on devices, the Internet, and the people that use the applications.
IoT devices are connected through Internet infrastructure and different wireless networks. Smart devices by themselves are not that good at dealing with massive amounts of data, let alone learning from the data received and generated. Currently the data from IoT devices is relatively basic because of the small computing power and limited capacity to store data on most devices. However, that basic data gets transferred to a data processing center that has more advanced computing capability to produce desired business insights.
IoT smart devices require unique addresses that allow them to connect on the Internet. There are some challenges as it relates to accessing these new places on the Internet with growing amount of smart devices. Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) has the capacity for about 4.3 billion addresses. Gartner estimates that by 2020, the world will have over 26 billion connected devices. However, there are several thought-leaders as it relates to a unified addressing scheme for IoT that may help solve this bottleneck.
IoT applications also have bottlenecks around the quality of the current artificial intelligence algorithms. For example, having increased transparency and reduced bias around algorithms continues to peak the interest of citizens and could pose challenges to some proprietary business models. With machine learning, producing training sets that are actually representative of targeted populations also remains a challenge.
There are some additional obstacles as it relates to the physical path of the transmission media. For example, IoT can receive or transmit data based on a variety of technology from RFID to Bluetooth. The common problems associated with these kinds of transmission media from bandwidth to interference also creates problems for IoT. Trying to optimize transmission media is a challenge in IoT applications as it relates to supporting and sustaining networks.
Security is also an ongoing concern to IoT since the basic data feeds into a receiver on the internet. Many IoT devices are low powered constrained devices making them more susceptible to attack. Security challenges of IoT include the ability to ensure that the data has not been changed during transmission and protecting data from unwanted exposure. The World Economic Forum estimates that if a single cloud provider was successfully attacked, it could cause $50 billion to $120 billion of economic damage. With the growth of poorly-protected devices on a shared infrastructure, there is a wide attack surface for hackers where IoT botnets could send swarms of connected sensors information through a variety of IoT devices like thermometers, sprinklers and other devices. A recent State of IoT Security Research report shared that 96 percent of businesses and 90 percent of customers think there should be IoT security regulations. As public confidence decreases in security while IoT sales increase, this is likely to result in regulatory reform.
IoT allows businesses to solve problems and even delight their customers by leveraging the intelligence of connected devices. While there is always uncertainty and risk involved with new technology, and customer confidence around IoT may be hit or miss, the promise of IoT is a fully connected world where devices connect together and with people to enable action that has never before been possible.
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