The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding, and it’s become the new Wild West of the Internet world.
What, exactly, is the IoT? It’s the collective term used to refer to all the new smart devices that are being connected to the internet. It started with smart phones, and now has morphed into any device you can imagine: TVs, thermostats, door locks, lighting control, video cameras, doorbells, and yes, even refrigerators. The trend of smart devices has recently seen an exponential surge in popularity, fueled by our collective fascination with voice control. The most popular gifts this past holiday season included Amazon’s Echo and Dot, as well as Google Home. So if you thought you’d never have the opportunity to talk to an artificial intelligence engine in the cloud, think again. Asking a question of Siri, Alexa or Google is just a normal everyday occurrence for millions of people now.
However, the explosion in both the number of users and the number of devices has created this new Wild West environment: lots of cowboys and guns, but few sheriffs and laws. Users sometimes struggle with how to use IoT; IT folks struggle with to how to set up, integrate and manage all these devices; and the IT security world is scrambling to find a way to secure them.
One recent article compared today’s early adoption of voice control to the old MS DOS days of computing. It’s a fair assessment because, like DOS, IoT can be a bit tricky and incredibly frustrating, but equally powerful, entertaining and useful. Integrating various IoT technologies can bring more freedom to disabled people, novelty to the home entertainment, and efficiency to our daily lives … but it’s probably still a good bet that Alexa, Siri, and Google are cursed at millions of times every day.