How’s your heart today? How about your car’s fuel efficiency? Are the eggs you’re planning to have for breakfast on the verge of turning nasty?
Soon, very soon, all that information will be instantly available… for better or for worse.
Fibernetics is in the data delivery business. Through NEWT and Worldline, we’re providing Canadians across the country access to Internet with Unlimited high speed packages at sensible pricing.
That’s us today.
What we are also doing today is planning for the future. We have to be working on what will we be doing five, ten, twenty years from now.
And almost certainly what we will be doing is called the Internet of Things.
Coined in 2009, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept where essentially everything, your car, your toaster, you, me, your dog, are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
A thing, in IoT can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, a car that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low — or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network. So far, the IoT has been most closely associated with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and power, oil and gas utilities. Products built with M2M communication capabilities are often referred to as being smart.
As time moves on, plenty more “things” are going to get a whole lot smarter and the implications of this kind of universal connectivity are both super cool – and also super scary.
First the Cool
Your smart phone will soon be a conduit of information about everything about you. From your own body, your kids and pets, to your car and your house, there will be practically nothing you can’t find out through a mobile app.
Just this week, GE announced their partnership with an IoT start-up who is beginning with monitoring, of all things, the eggs in your fridge. This device sits in your fridge and records the age and number of your eggs and sends a reminder when it’s time to shop.
Quirky, but extrapolate that onto everything you purchase, use or basically come into contact with.
Projections state IoT will involve approximately 212 billion things by the end of 2020, including intelligent systems designed to keep track of their own status and report it, as well as the continuing digitization of pretty much everything that is a thing.
Here’s the Scary Bit
As more and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches, more and more can possibly be accessed without your permission or your knowledge.
You thought the NSA scandal, where they tracked who you called on your cell phone, was intrusive? Imagine that kind of scrutiny multiplied to the nth degree with an IoT. Former CIA Director David Petraeus said the intelligence community cannot wait to spy on you through them.
Earlier this year Petraeus mused about it’s emergence and he described it thusly:
“‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies, particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.
“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”
Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.”
All of this will be sorted out over time. For us, being in the data business is a great thing because more and more we are all going to become increasingly dependent on reliable, robust and secure data connections. It’s an obvious business strategy to continue to improve on our national infrastructure.
As for the rest, the future is going to be an interesting time, for better for sure when it comes to our personal health and convenience. Yet worse when it comes to… well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?