The relevance of communication cannot be understated. Often times, those in the business world can often minimize the extent of communication. Because business practices have long been established, many people cannot conceive the true breadth, depth, and width of communication. For the business world, communication may simply mean emails, faxes, and face-to-face verbal contact.
However, communication is so much more than that. As a society, we are not only working on communicating between people, but also between people and our environment. Specifically, the internet of things (IoT) defines the communication between our environment, objects within our environment, data about these objects, and people.
As a computer science major, the internet of things is extremely consequential and exciting. Last semester, I actually took a course at UVA in the computer science department where I was able to build my own IoT system and write a tutorial on how to do so. (IoT Tutorial)
Open source development is going to be huge for IoT. It is going to help IoT reach farther and affect deeper. For example, in looking at the “kaa” IoT platform, I see that there are many different IoT use cases that kaa has already implemented. One specific area that is of interest to me is automotive cloud services.
In the future, the way we interact with our cars will be solely dependent on IoT systems. We are going to have sensors that can actively monitor the effectiveness of each part. Using predictive analysis, we will be able to circumvent part deficiency and proactively replace broken or damaged parts before they cause problems for our cars. In addition, the IoT platforms will be crucial in not only identifying a problem, but also working with our environment to find a solution. Imagine that your car gets a flat tire. An IoT system will not only be able to tell you that you need to replace your tire, but also be able to suggest several locations around you that can immediately service your vehicle.
And I think this summarizes the future of IoT. We as a society are going to be faster and more predictive. I imagine a world where you are sitting on the toilet and you realize you’re on your last roll of toilet paper. Through the innovation of IoT and OSD development, Amazon will already have known that you only had 1 roll left, and they will deliver a new 12 pack of toilet paper rolls to your doorstep that very day, even before you yourself knew you were about to run out.
Or, I imagine a world where you walk into the room and your house already knows what kind of music you like, turns on the lights in the rooms you’re walking into, and preheats the oven for the meal you’re about to cook.
Unfortunately, the innovation and progress of IoT also yields new problems: IoT data security. For example, on October 21 2016, there was a major data hack by the Mirai malware on major corporations such as Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, and Reddit. The attack occurred by hacking into IoT devices – primarily DVRs and IP cameras. This hack resulted in the loss a lot of data, and it is believed that there are more than 515,000 devices with vulnerable hardware. This is just one example of the growing threats to come. All innovation comes at a cost. For IoT, that cost is the need for improved data security.
Despite these threats, IoT is worth it because the possibilities of communication are endless. Who knows how we will innovate our communication with the living and communicable world? To be honest, the only way we will be able to truly harness the power of IoT’s effectiveness, is by testing. Open Source is the only way we can we invent solutions that meet every communication need. Our world is an amazing place, let’s work on communicating with it.