The concept of the Internet of things (IoT) dates back to the early '80s when the first appliance, a Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University, was connected to the Internet to check its inventory to determine how many drinks were available. But IoT wouldn't become practical until IPv6's huge increase in IP address space allowed us to assign an IP address to every "thing."
The emerging IoT market we see now is all about a new way of connecting people with products and how products will connect with each other. Before long there will be more "things" on the Internet than people, according to Gartner, with over 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Investors are taking note – pouring $1.1B in financing across 153 deals across the IoT ecosystem in 2013, a rise of 11% year-over-year.
While much opportunity and innovation will result from IoT, there's a dark side that should be addressed early on in the adoption cycle.
The dark side: privacy and security
The increase in the number of smart nodes brought on by IoT, as well as the amount of data the nodes will generate, will only increase concerns around data privacy, data sovereignty, and data security. Additional challenges will include understanding how devices will effectively and securely transmit and store these huge amounts of data. New messaging protocols like MQTT (messaging queuing telemetry transport) will become available to transmit the data securely.
If it's online, it's vulnerable. With IoT, we're entering an age where hackers can not only break into government agencies and corporations and routinely perform identify theft, but also target connected houses and cars. It's one thing when your PC or phone acts up, but what do you do when you can't turn on your lights, open your door, or turn on the heat?
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