How is the internet of things impacting our lives?
Now to start off, you have to understand what is the internet of things?
It is simply any internet connected device that you have around your home that might be able to help you in some way. For instance, you can get light bulbs or locks for your doors, remote control gates, and a bunch of other different things that you can automate with your phone or any other devices which will make your life easier...or that's the intention.
Now, the internet of things is a really, really cool, really, really cool idea and it's fantastic. I am completely up to my ankles in internet of thing devices. Every light bulb in the house, I can change the colour, I can change the temperature, I can change the brightness, I can do them in groups. I've also got a sprinkler system with 16 different zones so I know that my tomatoes are getting the right amount of water while the natives are getting less water. All the plants are thriving, not getting any root rot and you're not getting any moss growing, because I have it set to automatically water at the right times.
As for my gates, as I'm approaching the house, it knows that it's my car and it knows that it's me and my gates automatically open to let me into the property.
So the internet of things is really, really, really cool, and as I said before, idea. There's a few limitations. So the address range of how many devices you have on the internet is 4.3 billion addresses with your current IPV4 technology. The internet of things means that where before there might have been a family that had one external address, the internet of things when they're connected externally is increasing this exponentially.
I can comfortably say that on my internal network, I've over 150 different devices that are all talking with each other and that would mean that I'm taking up 150 addresses just for this one house where only 10 years ago, 15 years ago, it would have been one or two addresses. So, there's a significant change in the way that things are working.
A lot of the internet of thing devices have the potential to be broken into. People buy them off Ebay, and people buy them from from suppliers without knowing much about them or about their brand, and most of them communicate to some external cloud service. If that cloud service gets broken into, that can lead to a back door into your network, and when you're relying on the internet of things that can be a dangerous cocktail waiting for disaster.
Imagine you've got someone that's looking to break into your home. Instead of before them breaking them breaking a window, all they have to do is break through some code that might already be vulnerable because you've bought something from China that wasn't protected appropriately and then they're in the house. You're alarm system's off, your door's automatically opened itself up, and you come home and your stuff's gone.
The good news is, for the internet of things, most people that are using these devices are minimalists so when they broke into the house, there wouldn't be anything to steal! But this can have other widespread complications. If the hacker upgraded what's called the firmware, which is a bit of code that runs on the hardware chips of these devices, there is a risk that they could make things overheat, change the ways the fridges are operating and have your food spoil, order things online that you wouldn't have otherwise purchased, and a plethora of other things, you need to just make sure that you're staying protected.
The big issue with internet of things devices and where security is going is we've got so many more passwords now to manage than ever before and with every extra password that is insecure, there's an extra window of opportunity for a hacker to break in and where before the might have been just able to read your emails, now they could jump into your cameras, turn on your taps, and open your house.
I can definitely say that my house is 100% connected with the internet of things in a very secure way. Over time, it's going to impact every sector imaginable. There's no reason why it wouldn't. Being able to have every room and every classroom at 7:00 in the morning or 7:30 start to turn on the heaters in the winter months and the air conditioners in the cooler months, or have the lights come on and the computers be ready to use, is going to be more efficient for the students, more efficient for the staff and teachers, and overall give a better experience. Much better for the environment as well because they'll have less of a carbon footprint.
When calculating out the amount of electricity that a school uses between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., for their computer tower use alone not the monitors, the average school in southeast Queensland uses around $480 of electricity in that 13 hour period. If we were able to have everything turn off at 6:00 p.m. and turn on at 7:00 a.m., we're saving the schools literally thousands and thousands of dollars and saving the environment at the same time. It's a win win.
It would be very sensible for the internet of things devices to go into different schools and to go into any environment where there is a need for improvement and you want to have reliability and accountability.
That's the other thing the internet of things can bring to you very easily is the ability to pull out data and usage statistics. I've got a company that we're working very closely with called True Energy Metrics. What they do is they create these devices which tell you how much electricity every device in your house uses and you can see if there's any spikes, peaks, or changes over time and that in turn lets you change and adjust your habits and you can see that in real dollar figures. Compare your numbers to your neighbours if they've got the same devices in there and work out why are they paying so much less for electricity for their fridge versus your fridge and maybe it's time to upgrade if your fridge isn't efficient anymore and the seals have broken on it or something like that.
Most internet of things devices can be retrofitted to any house. I live in a cottage style home that is around 40 years old and the whole house is completely automated with cameras inside and out, automatic locks, the whole lot. Hell my fish pond even automatically tops it self up and tells me when there's a leak through these devices. The internet of things is an amazing transformation in the way that we use technology with the real world. Long live the internet of things!