The Internet of things

We are all aware of computers, mobile phones and video streaming. But due to the ubiquitous availability of the internet and low-cost microcomputers it is now possible to control or monitor just about anything, anywhere at anytime.

IoT is becoming an everyday part of our lives whether we want it or not. It will be in our homes, workplaces, public spaces, streets, skies and waterways.

So, what are these IoT devices?

At Home
• Home automation – lighting, cooling, irrigation and security
• Health, personal and fitness devices, like a fit bit.
• White goods, washing machines, fridges, ovens.
• Home care monitoring for people at risk
• They can also monitor air quality, energy, water and waste

At Work
• Monitor rubbish bins in off-street hard to access places
• Asset Tracking
• Irrigation systems
• Lighting
• Parking
• Traffic and pedestrian flow
• Monitoring waterways, storm-water, PH and pollutants
• Air-quality and microclimates
• Energy, waste and water metering
• Feral animal movements and pest control
• Science, nesting activity and movement of possums, bats, penguins, fish, turtles and birds.

Energy Utilities can better deploy smart grids and manage energy on a smaller scale for load balancing. Improving the distribution of home renewable and battery storage systems.

• More precise crop monitoring
• Feed usage
• Water storage, soil moisture and turning on and off pumps
• Livestock movements and paddock usage
• Weather and pasture conditions

Combine all this with AI systems, the possibilities are immense.

Issues to consider
With all this data being transmitted and shared all over the internet, so too does the risk of losing our privacy.

Meaning we all need to be more aware of making strong passwords, managing your network, using VPNs, encryption and firewalls.

Also using reliable manufactures of IoT devices is an equally important consideration. Is the manufacture actively working to protect you from potential risks? Do they have customer support and do you or your IT department understand how to manage these devices and prevent against the possible risks?

When accessing these devices over the internet how is this done? Is the data encrypted? If it uses an internet service, is it secure? Who else is the data being shared with?

I’m sure we were all shocked when we learned that Facebook was selling personal data for dubious political activities. However, I feel our greatest risk is the community being left behind. Only 10 years ago video rental was commonplace, now it’s Netflix or something similar.

Consequently, it is important we understanding what this technology is and be better informed, so we can make better decisions. Personally, professionally and politically.

There are new opportunities to improve our cities and lifestyles. There are new ways to improve business, operations and to serve our communities. Meaning new business opportunities, new products and services, and this will translate directly into new employment for those who have the know-how.