A taste of IoT – Internet of Things

Data cloud graph showing the closing percentag...

Data cloud graph showing the closing percentage increase or decrease of the New York Stock Exchange. Only the top 500 stocks by volume traded are displayed. Data is from Oct 2001, source: NYSE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine tomorrow. In the morning, you go out from your flat. The smart door senses your exit, check out if anybody else is in the house, then lock itself sending data both to your smartphone and to the company that ensure safety in the building. You reach your smart car, that unlock itself when you’re in the two yards distance from the door.

When you leave the smart parking lot, a sensor in the ground communicates with a server that the place is now available. Your car communicates as well with the city traffic grid, receiving information about traffic jams, work in progress and the availability of parking lots in the proximity of your intended destination. Communication is two ways, your position is tracked second-by-second. Your smart car is also able to relate atmospheric data and your personal preferences, activating the AC system and polarizing the windshield if needed.

This is a little sample of a smart environment, a taste of what Internet of Things (IoT) can do. We already have the technology needed, the equipment is also in production. This is both interesting and problematic. The IoT will get us a more efficient and reliable urban environment, will help to reduce costs and contribute to build a new era of services. On the other side, it will require more infrastructure at many levels (sensors, actuators, wi-fi nodes, server factories for the data cloud) and add more power consumption. IoT will need a lot more of software to manage the huge mass of data generated and required by the smart devices.

A typical server "rack", commonly se...

A typical server “rack”, commonly seen in colocation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the other side, it will require more infrastructure at many levels (sensors, actuators, wi-fi nodes, server factories for the data cloud) and add more power consumption. IoT will need a lot more of software to manage the huge mass of data generated and required by the smart devices.

What about the other side of the coin? The data and the concept of privacy are a dangerous mix, not to mention the choice of hacking the devices and/or the data cloud. A citizen that live in a smart city will be tracked anytime and whatever he/she will do will be recorded and used somewhat.

Crimes like identity theft will become even more dangerous, the choice of hacking individual medical devices (i.e. a peacemaker) open the doors for new ways to perform hideous activities (e.g. homicide, blackmail). In non-democratic nations, even the idea of a uber-controlling state is enough to scare anybody.

So we have to evaluate costs and benefits of this new, unstoppable, industrial revolution. IoT will happen. It’s up to us to decide in which way it will surface in our world.

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