What Is IoT?(Part 2)

What Is IoT? (Part 2)

What Can IoT Do?

As the technologies become widespread, so do the applications. IoT has transferred over the years to industrial machinery, healthcare, transportation, logistics, farming equipment, smart cities, and beyond. We are already in surrounded by IoT networks, enjoying all the convenience that brings.

Chances are you’ve already added a lot of smart devices to create your smart home. When you come home after work, you open the door, the lights and the air conditioner is turned on, the curtains are opened, your favorite music is played, and the bath water is prepared for you. While you are actually away from home, your smart light bulb turns on and off at random intervals to pretend that someone is at home. You can sound the siren of your smart security camera to scare away intruders just with a few taps on your phone remotely.

Smart home is just the tip of the iceberg of the application of the IoT in life. Walk out of your house and you will find that smart community is also booming. Recently most community hospitals has begun to support mobile medical care, which has enabled residents make outpatient appointments, so you do not need to go to the hospital to register early in the morning. Checking medical reports on mobile phone is also available, waiting for a long time at hospital for the report is a thing of the past. Medical records are saved and can be checked at any time, without worrying about losing paper medical records. An effective medical information platform is gradually built to realize the interaction between patients and medical staff, medical instructions, and medical equipment. Creating smart communities and constructing multi-dimensional community services have become the future development trend of community services.

You may already be familiar with the idea of Smart Cities. Every city has its issues, such as urban water logging, traffic congestion, and parking difficulties, etc. Governments and engineers can utilize IoT to analyze the complex factors of urban planning specific to each city, to output the optimal construction plan for the city.  Recently, the Shenzhen Traffic Police teamed up with Shenzhen Telecom to launch the country's first "5G smart transportation demonstration road"-Xinzhou Road, achieving 5G signal coverage entirely. 5G SA network and 5G virtual private network technology are used to build a 5G traffic private network, which greatly improved the efficiency of road video return on the premise of ensuring information security. In the event of congestion or traffic accidents, high-definition videos and pictures can be sent back to the private network in real-time via telecom 5G smoothly, and the traffic police can deal with them faster and dispatch more efficiently, remove the congestion promptly on time, and ensure the smooth flow of the city's blood.

Applications of the IoT in all walks of life is uncountable, As­­­ IoT technologies continue to progress, everything is expected to network together to achieve more intelligent applications and bring more benefits.

What Are Challenges Related to IoT?

When we are using online services—shopping online, for example—what we have browsed automatically become the data sources of the business, which can be analyzed to improve customer satisfaction. But what if the data is sold to third parties for further analysis and profiteering?

Since IoT devices collect and transmit information about ourselves, in many cases extremely sensitive data like what we say and do in the privacy of our homes, our location and activities, health measurements, and the like. For this reason, privacy and security become major concerns.

PCs and smartphones, after years of research and development, are provided with user-friendly operation systems with automated patching and security features built-in. Many IoT devices, by contrast, are often equipped with stripped-down operation systems and lack of consistent IoT security planning across organizations. Thus, it’s hard to be patched or updated, leaving them quite vulnerable to virtual attacks.

Since objects in an IoT system are closely related, hackers may have an easier time discovering and attacking more devices, and the result can be catastrophic. It’s scary to think what disaster could occur if the sensors controlling the temperature of a power station were to be hacked, and what kind of chaos a city would fall into if any central autopilot system is attacked.

Security and privacy need to be ensured throughout the data flow within an IoT network. Only when data is reliable and safe, then information exchange and communication in IoT is meaningful and valuable.

What About the Future of IoT?

We all dream of a more intelligent and automated world, where human can completely free their hands and spend time focusing on the most valuable data and creation. You may do what you’re interested in on your smart electric car without driving, braking or changing gears. Your car may navigate to the nearest available parking space when needed, can slow down automatically at crosswalks and in front of schools, etc.

The large amount of data generated by the IoT devices cannot be managed under human control, so machine learning may be a key factor in the development of IoT. Machine learning algorithms can be used to collect and streamline data to find its true value, or be applied to the cloud to aggregate data and identify trends or important global details that can benefit both consumers and suppliers.

As mentioned above, billions of IoT devices bring security and privacy concern, but where the problem lies is where the opportunity lies. So security is also an area of innovation that can make a big difference. This includes not only data security, but also access security a large amount of potential endpoint devices and overall management security.

In Summary

IoT is a complex networking concept if we want to cover every aspect of it. But in practice, we can simplify it down to a system where the connected devices detect and report the changes for processing and analysis and adjust themselves based on predetermined settings or commands issued from an interface. Advances in various technologies have made it practical in numerous applications, making life in general smarter and more convenient. However, insufficient protection of connected devices and data has also raised concerns for security and privacy. The Internet of Things still has a long way to go. But with the aid of fast-developing technologies, we can expect more out of it.

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