THE INTERNET OF THINGS: AN AUTO CONNECTED ECOSYSTEM
Author: Suparna Mukherjee
College: University of Calcutta
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”
In India, Internet of Things has trended under the ‘Make In India’ Campaign since 2014, wherein startups from Bangalore introduced CARIQ[i], SENSEGIZ[ii], ENTRIB SHOPWORX[iii], TEEWE[iv] and LIFEPLOT[v] to attract investment and make of this country a hub for manufacturing.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. These devices, often called "connected" or "smart" devices, can sometimes talk to other related devices, a process called machine-to-machine(M2M) communication, and act on the information they get from one another without manual intervention[vi], thereby engendering a nexus between internal system and external factors as an "inextricable mixture of hardware, software, data, and service".[vii] This concept has the potential to change not only how we live but how we work by merging physical and virtual worlds in order to provide a smart ecosystem of connected life.
"Things", in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, cameras streaming live feeds of wild animals in coastal waters,[viii] automobiles with built-in sensors, DNA analysis devices for environmental/food/pathogen monitoring,[ix] or field operation devices that assist firefighters in search and rescue operations.[x] The technologies enabling the internet of things encompass sensors, networks, standards, augmented intelligence and augmented behavior.[xi]
Practical applications of IoT can be found in many industries today, including precision agriculture, building management, healthcare, energy, and transportation. For consumers, the IoT can potentially deliver solutions that steadfastly improve energy efficiency, security, health, education and many other aspects of daily life. For enterprises, IoT can upgrade decision-making and productivity in manufacturing, retail, agriculture and other sectors.
IoT gathers, analyze, and distribute data that can be turned into information, knowledge and ultimately, wisdom. The economic impact and benefits of the IoT will be humungous. The analysts at McKinsey & Company[xii] have looked at the IoT also and have identified 6 major benefits (at least) of the IoT [xiii] vis-à-vis tracking behavior for real-time marketing, enhanced situational awareness, sensor-driven decision analytics, process optimization, optimized resource consumption and instantaneous control and response in complex autonomous systems. Additionally, there are 8 major driving forces inducing the predominance of IoT including Ubiquitous Networks, Connected Computing, Ubiquitous Sensors, Intelligence at the Periphery of Networks, Analytics-as-a-Service, Marketing Automation, Supply Chain Analytics and Aging Workforce.
But as every rose has its own bunch of thorns, IoT is clutched by the chains of incompatibility at present, chances of failure due to complexity, impediment to safety due to vast information connected to anything and everything, loopholes in privacy as financial status or household conditions may become public knowledge if not encrypted and categorized separately and finally obstruction in security due to scope of hackers infiltrating the systems.[xiv]
Every invention, great or small, ever made has both virtues and vices. Even if artificial intelligence and smart environment gain prevalence in near future, the truth that humans will always control the “what ifs” and “what nots” behind every man-made creation is ultimate. Thus, mankind shoulders the responsibility to curtail the perils of IoT; by increasing its compatibility, addressing the complexities and ensuring safety, security and privacy by proper management, encryption and compartmentalization of the superabundance of data, to lift itself a hassle-free, automated and connected ecosystem that can be the epitome of “TIME IS MONEY” and “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”.
[i] A complete car ecosystem making cars smarter.
[ii] A sensor which can reduce the time we spend in looking for the things needed.
[iii] A shop floor smarter which connects all of the shop floors to deliver a unified view of how it is run and when to act.
[iv] Connecting all our contents, from pictures to movies, on our TV through a single device which connects via Wifi to our laptop, phone, remote storage, etc.
[v] The Cheapest And Most Mobile Electrocardiography Diagonis Tool.
[vi] The lifeline for a data-driven world, What is IoT, see https://www.happiestminds.com/Insights/internet-of-things/, last visited on 16/11/17.
[viii] Sharma, P., Singhal, K., Neha, M. D., Singh, R., & Gill, S. AReview ON “IOT-HAS VIA WI-FI MODULE”.
[ix] Erlich, Y. (2015). A vision for ubiquitous sequencing. Genome research, 25(10), 1411-1416.
[x] Balasubramaniam, M. R., Sathya, R., Ashicka, S., & SenthilKumar, S. (2016). an analysis of RFID authentication schemes for Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare environment using ELgamal Elliptic Curve cryptosystem. International Journal of Recent Trends in Engineering & Research (IJRTER).
[xi] Deloitte University Press, Inside the Internet of Things, page 3, figure 2, see https://dupress.deloitte.com/content/dam/dup-us-en/articles/iot-primer-iot-technologies-applications/DUP_1102_InsideTheInternetOfThings.pdf,
[xiii] 14 Benefits and Forces that are driving the Internet of Things, see https://mapr.com/blog/14-benefits-and-forces-are-driving-internet-things/, last visted on 18/11/17.
[xiv] Saxena P.(2016). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet of Things. See https://e27.co/advantages-disadvantages-internet-things-20160615/, last visited on 18/11/17.
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