The benefits and challenges of the IoT

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Nowadays, the Internet is something that most people use every day, whether consciously or unconsciously. Further, with the rapid development of technology and network, more and more people have a connection with the Internet of things (IoT). For example, smartwatches, smart security systems, smart air-conditioners, and so on. The IoT makes life quicker, easier, and more convenient.

Most people enjoy the benefits of IoT and take it for granted. According to Martin Heidegger’s (1927) analysis of the relationship between humans and technologies, people usually pay little attention to the “technology” they use, only when there is something wrong with it, then people will notice. The users are not aware of the IoT while using it, and it is not surprising not to be aware of the challenges the IoT brings. It brings benefits but also plenty of new issues and controversies that most people do not realize at the same time.

Before understanding the current IoT problems, we should understand what the Internet of things is and why people use it. This article will start with a brief introduction to the IoT. And then I will mention the usage and benefits of the IoT, and propose what problems the Internet has caused in today’s society.

What is the IoT?

The internet of things, which is also called IoT, is a system consisting of different devices with unique identifiers, the devices are connected to each other and able to share data over their own communication network, and the devices can be machines, computers, objects, even animals, and humans (Gillis, 2022).

Briefly speaking, the internet of things literally means the things that connect to the internet. The concept is to connect everything to the internet as much as possible. By using IoT devices, the users can measure and analyze the data and take action depending on the results. Take self-tracking devices, as an example. The users can connect smartphones to wearable technologies, such as shoes or smartwatches, or even their bodies to digitalize their body situation. After using the devices, the users may change their behaviors, such as their diet, their sleep time, or the amount of exercise.

Why do people use the IoT?

Indeed, the rapid development of technology is one of the reasons for increasing people’s dependence and use of technology. On the other hand, the certainty created by numbers is also a reason why more and more people start using self-tracking devices. Data is objective and people trust it. Users can ‘see’ the data of the body to build self-knowledge, instead of ‘feeling’ their body situation (Lupton, 2013). Besides this, self-tracking devices bring the ideas of self-monitoring, self-responsibility, and self-control. People can produce a better self by using those devices.

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In addition to the use of the IoT at the individual level, there is a larger demand for the IoT. The IoT can be used in many fields, one of which is currently being discussed a lot is the application in agriculture. The main reason is that the world’s total demand for food has increased while the agricultural labor force has continued to decline (IOT solutions world congress, 2019). Thus, the application of IoT is required in agriculture, and the aim is to achieve sufficient production even with a declining labor force.

The issues of the IoT today

The biggest problems the IoT faces these days are security and privacy issues. Firstly, every IoT device represents a point of vulnerability (Poudel, 2016). At this moment, the IoT still has lots of room for improvement. There are many vulnerabilities in IoT systems that can be hacked. For instance, when someone has an internet-connected lock, a hacker may be able to unlock the door remotely by attacking one of the vulnerabilities in the system (GCFLearnFree.org, 2017).

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Secondly, the users do not know what and how their data would be used by the applications or the companies. The IoT devices start collecting all of the data from users while using those devices, such as the users’ heartbeats, sleeping patterns, and health situations. Poudel (2016) pointed out that IoT devices could allow intrusive surveillance into individuals’ private lives. Additionally, companies may use the data without consumers’ knowledge and consent, and it can be harmful to the users. For instance, insurance companies may increase the premiums for those who have higher health risks based on their self-tracking data.

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To sum up, the IoT has lots of possibilities and potential to create an easier and more efficient life for humans without any doubt; however, we should understand how data works, pay attention to the regulation and the downside of its usage before letting it enter our lives substantially.

Reference

Heidegger, M. (1927). Sein und Zeit. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer Verlag.

edureka!. (2018, Jul 31). Internet of Things (IoT) | What is IoT | How it Works | IoT Explained | Edureka. https://youtu.be/LlhmzVL5bm8

Gillis, A. (2022, Mar 04). What is the internet of things (IoT)? IOT Agenda. https://www.techtarget.com/iotagenda/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT

Lupton, D. (2013). Understanding the human machine. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 25–30.

IOT solutions world congress. (2019, Jul 10). IoT transforming the future of agriculture. https://www.iotsworldcongress.com/iot-transforming-the-future-of-agriculture/

Conveniently Primed. (2020, Aug 01). 3 Applications of AI in Agriculture. https://youtu.be/nsnpEmr1q_k

Poudel, S. (2016). Internet of Things: Underlying Technologies, Interoperability, and Threats to Privacy and Security. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 31(2), 997–1022.

GCFLearnFree.org. (2017, Jul 19). What is the Internet of Things? https://youtu.be/EKRVILAohck

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