5 Opportunities and Risks of the Internet of Things

Internet of Things Straight out of sci-fi and into your homes, the internet of things has long been a dream of a world where everyday things are seamlessly interconnected. While the focus is often wearable items such as Google Glasses, smart wristwatches. There is huge potential beyond consumer items.

But of course this development is not without risk. The connection of things via the internet will open up a whole new world of hacking, data theft and snooping. Users adapt to new technology quickly but effective security often lags. Here are the 5 most obvious benefits and the risks that come with the internet of things:

1. Augmented Reality - The leader in this is of course Google Glass, pictures with a wink, check emails hands free. In theory it offers the sort of heads up display so far only seen in video games. But it’s not without its risks, security researchers were able to hack Google Glass by getting users to take a picture of a malicious QR code. Hackers would be able to see what you see.

2. Internet of Everything - This goes beyond having facebook on your toaster, to seamless inventory, distant monitoring of patients, easy transfer of data between devices, amongst many other possibilities. It opens us up to a world of security risks, particularly as the internet of things could allow cyber terrorism to become physical by hacking critical machines.

3. Smart Home - As long as there has been the internet of things, there has been the smart home concept. Extensive automation of household tasks and systems has its obvious benefits and risks. Beyond the usual theft risk, a smart home could be handing over more data that you realise to service providers. Do you really want targeted advertising throughout your house?

4. Smart Communities - Internet of things can go beyond personal use into the community. Removing the need for humans in all sort of environmental monitoring and maintenance activities. Cost would be a huge factor for setting up smart communities as well as the threat of cyber attack against critical infrastructure.

5. Security and Surveillance - Being able to check your home CCTV on your smart phone, or an a notification when car alarm goes off, locking stolen phones or tracking stolen items. Security can be enhanced, but of course surveillance can be turned on the user. Or worse some of the applications to protect the smallest family member can have serious flaws, like the hacker who liked to scream obscenities over baby monitors.

The internet of things has great potential but must tempered with the reality that with that potential comes a lot of risks.

What do you think about those developments?