Much of the world has been excited with the prospects of IoT and how it can change their life for good. It can literally change the way we shop, travel, and offer different consumer services. Such a giant interconnected network of devices and sensors paves way for advanced data sharing and communications. Imagine a scenario where you regularly top up your fridge with supplies and groceries. After regular consumption, you are out of milk, the refrigerator that’s connected to IoT notifies to your smartphone, and your smartphone directly places an order for milk. Within some time, the milk arrives at your door without you even breaking a sweat. The future looks promising for IoT with many more applications not only in the household sector but also in the industrial area. However, few challenges or issues need to be tackled to successfully embrace the future of IoT.
Challenges in IoT
IoT has already garnered serious attention from tech firms and government agencies across the world for security reasons. Since all household devices are interconnected to IoT, it can be disastrous to consumers if their baby monitors, cars, cameras, or security systems are hacked. Such an act of hacking can cause severe damage to the society. Poorly designed devices can expose the user to data theft, leaving vulnerabilities exposed. Additionally, IoT deployments also consist of identical or near identical devices, and the sheer amount of such devices in totality can leave the question of security lingering. Adding security protocols will be costly and time-consuming, and the users will then need to consider the tradeoffs between cost and security with IoT deployment.
There are certain things that are personal to an individual and they would like to keep it that way. However, since IoT is interconnected and each device shares information across the network, privacy can be of concern. Privacy is one of the biggest challenges in IoT. One would not like others to know information such as where they drove their car to, whom they call, what kind of media have they stored in their phone, and personal things they buy off the market. Additionally, since IoT relies on sensor data to enable automation, there is a feat that sensors and tracking device may actually spy on people. They can actually know what TV show a particular individual is watching and secretly transmit the data to a cloud service for processing. Such data collection and distribution exposes companies to legal and regulatory challenges.
Numerous companies are investing in IoT to develop devices that are compatible. It is then enabled by multiple network carriers, all of whom may have different protocols and standards. Achieving a standard is one of the biggest challenges in IoT as it can limit the potential of devices to communicate effectively throughout the network irrespective of device, manufacturer, and service provider. The absence of standards can enable strange behavior by IoT devices. Developers should design products that operate in disruptive ways on the internet, and poorly designed devices may not facilitate the smooth workings of IoT network. Standardization should flow not only in terms of design but also configuration tools, methods, interfaces, and protocols such as IPv6.
Since IoT has a lot of scope to be abused and misused by unintended parties, regulations will be set by government authorities to curb such problems. Privacy and security issues will pose questions for the IoT technologies, and thoughtful consideration from law enforcement authorities is required to help control such issues but not hamper the development of the technology. Additionally, legal issues arise when the data is shared between two countries, surveillance and civil rights issues, security breaches, privacy lapses, and unintended uses.
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