What is IoT?

The internet of Things, or “IoT” for short, is about extending the power of the internet beyond computers and smartphones to a whole range of other things, processes, and environments. Those “connected” things are used to collect information, send information back, or even both.

IoT has the power to change our lives, to operate our homes or even to automate our jobs in the industry. To be part of IoT, means that it have to be connected to the internet and share data, and is actually a pretty simple concept, it means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the internet.

Iot

Something important is, if we extend the power of computers and cellphones to others things such as environments, and processes, our lives can transform completely, all what we know and our way of living.

As we say before when something connects to internet it means it can receives or sends information or do both, and the ability to send or receive information make things smart. To be smart a thing has to has a big “storage”, but actually if that thing can be connected to a supercomputer with a super storage it actually can be smart

An IoT could be an object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to transfer data over a network, but I will give you some details and examples of IoT later.

Let’s see a little bit of History

“The Internet of Things, as a concept, wasn’t officially named until 1999. One of the first examples of an Internet of Things is from the early 1980s, and was a Coca Cola machine, located at the Carnegie Melon University. Local programmers would connect by Internet to the refrigerated appliance, and check to see if there was a drink available, and if it was cold, before making the trip.” — Dataversity — “A brief History of IoT”

Devices connected and transferring Data

Examples

IoT also consists of any device that can have an on and off state or switch connected to the Internet. This includes almost anything you can think of, from cellphones to building maintenance to the jet engine of an airplane. Medical devices, such as a heart monitor implant or a biochip transponder in a farm animal, thermostats that you can control from your smartphone, video baby monitors with feeds you can view online from anywhere, and fitness trackers that sync with phones, computers and even weighing scales. can transfer data over a network and are members of IoT.

Ring, a doorbell that links to your smart phone, provides an excellent example of a recent addition to the Internet of Things. Ring signals you when the doorbell is pressed, and lets you see who it is and to speak with them.

Essential IoT technologies

Five IoT technologies are widely used for the deployment of successful IoT-based products and services:

  1. Radio frequency identification (RFID): Allows automatic identification and data capture using radio waves, a tag, and a reader.

2. Wireless sensor networks (WSN): consist of spatially distributed autonomous sensor-equipped devices to monitor physical or environmental conditions and can cooperate with RFID systems to better track the status of things such as their location, temperature, and movements

3. Middleware: Is a software layer interposed between software applications to make it easier for software developers to perform communication and input/output.

4. Cloud computing: Is a model for on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable resources such as computers, networks, servers, storage, applications, services, software etc, that can be provisioned as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS).

5. IoT application software: IoT applications enable device-to-device and human-to-device interactions in a reliable manner. IoT applications on devices need to ensure that data/messages have been received and acted upon properly in a timely manner.

“For example, FedEx uses SenseAware to keep tabs on the temperature, location, and other vital signs of a package, including when it is opened and whether it was tampered with along the way.” — The Internet of Things —

Advantages of IoT

  • Ability to access information from anywhere at any time on any device;
  • Improved communication between connected electronic devices;
  • Transferring data packets over a connected network saving time and money.
  • Automating tasks helping to improve the quality of a business’s services and reducing the need for human intervention.

Disadvantages of IoT:

  • As the number of connected devices increases and more information is shared between devices, the potential that a hacker could steal confidential information also increases.
  • Collecting and managing data from all the devices connected is a challenging and difficult task
  • If there’s a bug in the system, it’s likely that every connected device will become corrupted.
  • Since there’s no international standard of compatibility for IoT, it’s difficult for devices from different manufacturers to communicate with each other.

Challenges in IoT

The companies adopting Iot, will present multiple challenges. Because the amount of data generated by Iot machines will cause: Challenges in security, the enterprise, consumer privacy, data itself, storage management, server technologies, and data center networking.

1. Data managment Challenge

Few companies are willing to invest in data storage because with the amount of data produce by all the devices and sensors, that also needs to be process and stored, enterprises will prioritize data for operations or backup base in their needs

2. Data mining Challenge

Data needs to be tamed and Understood using mathematical models and computers. By now Is necessary data mining tools in order to had an accurate data, the same as personal prepare in analytics, which can make business decisions base on big data

3. Privacy challenge

Data generated by the IoT is fundamental to improving the quality of people’s lives and decreasing service providers’ costs. However while the IoT continues to gain popularity through smart home systems and wearable devices, confidence in and acceptance of the IoT will depend on the protection of users’ privacy.

4. Security Challenge

Is important to know that IoT improves the productivity of companies and enhances the quality of people’s lives, it will also increase the potential attack surfaces for hackers and other cyber criminals.

“ A recent study by Hewlett Packard (2014) revealed that 70% of the most commonly used IoT devices contain serious vulnerabilities. IoT devices have vulnerabilities due to lack of transport encryption, insecure Web interfaces, inadequate software protection, and insufficient authorization. On average, each device contained 25 holes, or risks of compromising the home network. Devices on the IoT typically do not use data encryption techniques. revealed that 70% of the most commonly used IoT devices contain serious vulnerabilities.” — The Internet of Things (IoT) In Lee, Kyoochun Lee

5. Chaos Challenge

With the hyper-accelerated evolution of IoT technologies such as chips, sensors and wireless technologies there are still competing standards, insufficient security, privacy issues, complex communications, and proliferating numbers of poorly tested devices. If not designed carefully, multi-purpose devices and collaborative applications can turn our lives into chaos

IoT Security and Privacy Issues

One of the major challenges that has to be resolve before keep pushing into the Internet of Things into the real world is security. IoT architectures are supposed to deal with an estimated population of billions of objects, which will interact with each other and with others, such as human beings or virtual entities. All these interactions must be secured somehow, protecting the information and service provisioning of all relevant actors and limiting the number of incidents that will affect the entire IoT.

However, as most users are not experts, mistakes will happen if the security mechanisms are not usable enough. Such configurations can be used by malicious “others” to access personal data or even take control of that particular object. The hard part to control is not in centralized entities, which the configuration of the security mechanisms will be made by experts, nevertheless any mis-configuration will create a very big window of opportunity that can be exploited by any expert adversary. — On the features and challenges of security and privacy in distributed internet of things Rodrigo Roma, Jianying Zhoua, Javier Lopez

By reviewing attacker models, we can conclude that no approach is better in terms of threats and attacker models — all of them have various advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see

  • In a centralized IoT the central entity becomes a single point of failure; and although the number of attack vectors are smaller (and the protection mechanisms might be better), a single vulnerability or a inappropriate configuration can cause extreme damage to the whole network.
  • If the resources of the network are distributed, the impact caused by a successful attack will be smaller, but the number of attack vectors will increase.

As you can see in all approaches there will be a huge number of data providers, the things, that can be highly constrained and physically accessible as easy targets. Therefore, it is clear that any IoT application will have to deal with a certain amount of false data.

Conclusion

With the Internet of Things is most likely that we are going to transform and shape the technology ecosystem with many more devices going to be ready for this technology in the coming years. IoT has the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. We know Iot devices generate enormous quantities of data that need to be process and analyzed in real time to provide information regarding status, location, functionality, and environment of the device and with this there are challenges that companies have to overcome.

Resources

[A Brief History of the Internet of Things By Keith D. Foote on August 16, 2016 https://www.dataversity.net/brief-history-internet-things/#]

[On the features and challenges of security and privacy in distributed internet of things By Rodrigo Roma, Jianying Zhoua, Javier Lopez Julio 15 2013 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389128613000054]

[The Internet of Things (IoT): Applications, investments, and challenges for enterprises By In Lee, Kyoochun Lee Julio 2015 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681315000373]

[What is IoT? — A Simple Explanation of the Internet of Things By Calum McClelland Julio 2 2020 https://www.iotforall.com/what-is-iot-simple-explanation/]

[internet of things (IoT) By Margaret Rouse https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT]