Infographic: Fun Facts About the Internet of Things

The number of connected devices is steadily increasing, fuelling the continued growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). To help demonstrate the impact IoT will have, we’ve created an infographic containing six fun facts about the technology.

6 Fun Facts IoT

For businesses that haven’t adopted IoT yet, it’s time to start thinking about what your competitors could do if they embraced IoT solutions faster than your company? Or consider what new business ventures can be created through the use of IoT. This technology has the potential to change the way companies communicate with their customers, and the way customers interact with their devices. If you haven’t started exploring IoT – now is the time (like, right now).

Don’t know where to start? Click here to learn more about Internet of Things.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Your Fridge May Be Sending Out Spam – And Not the Canned Meat Kind

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At the 2014 Consumer Electronics show, the Internet of Things and smart devices stole the spotlight. Tech heavyweights Samsung and LG unveiled their “Smart Home” devices, which consisted of household appliances that were able to communicate with the homeowner and each other. These M2M devices (machine to machine) are each assigned an IP address, allowing them to connect to the Internet and transfer data (or, in other words, talk to each other) over a network without the need for human interaction.

This technology provides businesses and consumers with an array of benefits, without a doubt. Consumers are able to save on time and money – now that they can switch their appliances to an energy saving mode remotely or text their fridge to find out if they need to buy milk at the store before arriving home. Businesses are able to collect endless amounts of information from their customers and their devices – such as maintenance requirements or customer food preferences. However, with both parties looking to utilize IoT as soon as possible, security measures have been overlooked.

Between December 23 and January 6th, several Internet-connected “smart” devices – including refrigerators – sent upwards of 750,000 malicious emails. This is believed to be the first cyber attack involving IoT, and likely won’t be the last. Many IoT devices are poorly protected and consumers aren’t able to detect or fix security breaches when they do occur. As more of these smart appliances “come online”, attackers are finding ways to exploit them for their own needs.

Additionally, following an M2M conference in Toronto, ON, the Director of Policy for Ontario’s privacy commissioner pointed out that these devices also hold a lot of data that will be personally identifiable. Organizations are being urged to think about the privacy of customer data before employing M2M and IoT devices. Recently, customer data was leaked by LG’s smart TV as it was collecting and transmitting personal information to the manufacturer because there was no encryption. In an even more bizarre circumstance, the signal transmitted from a wireless camera used to monitor the interior of a Canadian methadone clinic was being picked up by a back-up camera inside of a vehicle outside of the building.

It’s imperative for organizations and consumers to comprehend the security and privacy risks associated with M2M and IoT enabled devices. Consumers will need to ensure that they keep their software up-to-date, change all default passwords to something more secure, and place their IoT device behind a router. Meanwhile, organizations who manufacture these devices must incorporate any available security measures available to ensure their customer’s information and network stayed protected. The benefits of IoT devices far outweighs the concerns, but those concerns still need to be addressed before IoT can really take off.

To learn more about the Internet of Things, check out our previous blog post by clicking here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

 

Technology Trends Expected to Change the Game

Guest Author: This week’s blog was provided to us by Ramya Raju, a freelance writer from India. With over 8 years of writing experience, Raju discusses a variety of topics, such as data centre technologies, SEO, web design, and mobile. You can learn more about him by visiting his website. 

Whirlwind changes are happening in the world of business and organizations, and that has had an impact on IT as well. The IT sector will have to go through a major transformation in 2014 and that can be seen in cloud, mobile and social technologies. There is an increasing amount of focus and demand on access to information, and these technologies are quickly “coming of age” in order to keep up. As a result, it’s now necessary for companies, especially their IT, to reinvent themselves. And there are some major trends that will make their presence felt in 2014.

The Internet of Things will make things more interesting and challenging for IT

There are a large number of Smartphones and devices that are out there today. Bring your own device (BYOD) culture is also gaining ground to a large extent and that in itself can be a tricky proposition for IT. But things won’t stop at that because Internet Of Things will pose further challengers to IT masters. It involves different types of constituents including wearable personal technology and smart consumer and medical devices. There are sensors in different parts of the world and connected machines to deal with as well, and that doesn’t make the task of IT any easier.

IPv6 has been lapped up in all kinds of places and the addresses it comes with are endless. Thus there is going to be an explosion of data that will have to be handled very carefully. Thus there will be a growing emphasis on scalability and complexity. IT will have a task on its hands when it comes to these factors.

Analytics gains prominence

The industry has often focussed on connection and data movement. Immediate application functionality was another aspect that was given a lot of importance. But now Analytics will takes its place of pride. It will definitely move from being an add-on that often seemed like an afterthought for people till date.  There are several factors that have contributed to this sea change in approach. The major onslaught of large amounts of data is one factor and the impact of Internet Of Things is another. The importance of data is also observed and acknowledged a lot more today, which has made it necessary for people to incorporate analytics right from the beginning. Context sensitive and location aware abilities for IT will also become common place.

More attention on apps

People are paying a lot of attention to the performance and functionality of major projects, especially in the healthcare sector. But expectations from application delivery will be a lot higher in 2014 and things like model drives, user based development will be stressed upon. Thus IT has its task cut out as far as apps are concerned.

It means that the new age, fast development tools will be in the spotlight. People will also have to think about processes that will lead to speedy delivery, which will remain important. Other crucial aspects to think about will be predictability and reliability. To make things more challenging, people will have to think hard about meeting service level requirements and keeping the costs under control as well.

PaaS will be widely accepted

Platform-as-a-Service will get its due and wide recognition in 2014 and it will be one of the important trends of the year. This is a cloud layer that certainly has its advantages and they will be noticed by people, who are only going to lap it up. Some of its benefits include agility, analytics and faster development. Moreover it is more suited for scalability, which is something people will want. And of course, it has the cost benefits of cloud, which will be a huge bonus.

There are few other reasons why people will take to PaaS in 2014. It is known to offer structure and control for strategic needs of organizations. And that’s an appealing proposition for companies irrespective of their size. Once these advantages are noticed, the industry will be forced through a major change. It will lead to business specialists being in charge of data integration tools. Overall data integration will become omnipresent.

Budget Shift in IT

Now that cloud is becoming widely accepted and democratized, development trends seem to be the norm, individual lines of business will start getting more power. They will be in a position to start funding their own projects and wrest the initiative from IT.

As a result, companies and CIOs will have to come up with strategies to ensure that they cope with the evolving climate without losing information. They will also have to ensure that there are no security risks involved and they don’t get into technically dead-end situations. Things will change rapidly and they will have to learn to adapt quickly.

In 2014, one size fits all philosophy will become more redundant than ever before. It could mean different things and strategies for different people based on their requirements but they will certainly have to be worked on. In short, it’s all about making it possible to access information anywhere, anytime and wherever it’s needed.

CES 2014: The Technology Trend that will Impact your Business

There was a lot of buzz surrounding the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, and we’re not just talking about Michael Bay’s big blunder and subsequent walk-off during the Samsung presentation. It’s important for any business to monitor technology trends – whether it’s for consumers or businesses – because it will likely have an impact on their company, directly or indirectly.

The most noteworthy trend is the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) enabled devices unveiled at the show by top tech companies. Many innovators have brought the concept of connected devices to CES in previous years – but they have never been as practical as they are today. For example, tech titans LG and Samsung unveiled smart household appliance systems that let consumers communicate with them.

Samsung introduced a service for managing its smart TVs, home appliances and smartphones called Smart Home. In fact, this Smart Home system is due to roll out in the first half of 2014. The system will allow for consumers to get real-time views streamed from appliances equipped with built-in cameras. And Samsung isn’t stopping there – they have plans to expand by including more and more smart devices and appliances.

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LG has devised a way to communicate with household appliances through text messages called HomeChat. Users are able to text in natural language and receive a response from their appliances that are slightly playful in nature. However, the more practical feature is the ability for your fridge to tell you what’s in it, suggest recipes, and tell you oven what temperature to preheat to. This will require some manual efforts from the user – since keeping track of food requires entering data into the refrigerator each time items are added or removed – but the beneficial results are worth it.

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Just think, you could be informed when an item in your fridge is close to spoiling, or set your appliances to an energy saving mode remotely, or even have your oven text you when your roast is almost done. This technology would allow for consumers to save on time and money, while the company who created the device is easily able to collect information on their customers and products. LG’s National Product Trainer expects that it will only take a few years until a universal standard for communicating with devices is established.

None of this would be possible without the proliferation of IPv6 – which provides a seemingly infinite number of IP addresses. Now companies are able to assign an IP address to almost anything, allowing for that item to communicate with other things, people, or animals. The ability for all “things” to communicate with each other is more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply defined, the IoT is a system in which unique identifiers (or IP addresses) are assigned to objects, people, or animals – allowing them to transfer data about their assigned “thing” over a network without the need for human interaction.

The companies that utilize this type of technology will have an edge over the competition, with endless amounts of consumer and product data. In the near future, the Internet will develop into an online experience that has been customized to each individual user – your personalized Internet, with your data. Businesses will be able to deliver exactly what each individual customer wants, when they want it – that is, as long as they start incorporating this type of technology sooner than later.

To learn more about IoT, and how to get started on implementing it, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Holes in the Internet of Things

In previous blogs, we discussed the benefits of embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) for business. In fact, many companies are already using IoT technologies to save on resources, optimize operations, and cut costs. Some examples include the use of real-time data collection and alerts to let municipal workers know that a garbage bin is full, or running real-world A/B tests by using networked cameras and sensors to detect how customers are engaging with specific products. But how does one manage the abundance of data coming in from each “thing”?

Sure, from a business perspective, the answer is an easy: hire more employees and store any data collected in a data centre. But what about the consumers? Take a moment to count the number of emails, alerts, messages, and updates you receive on just one of your devices – your cell phone, for example. Now add in all the data that you could receive, like an alert from your smart home informing you that the furnace filter needs to be cleaned, or an email from your car to let you know that the oil needs to be changed, or even a reminder from your plants to water the garden.

Multiple Devices

The vast amount of incoming information can overwhelm consumers, and it’s likely that buyers will hit a ceiling of what they’re willing to babysit. Once the “cool factor” of a new IoT device subsides, the chore of responding to all the incoming messages can set in, leaving users frustrated and exhausted. In addition to responding to all the incoming information, users will then need to decide how they will manage and store the data. Typically, homes don’t come equipped with a built-in data centre. Therefor, consumers will need some type of system in place to help them respond, manage, and store the information provided by their IoT devices.

This is where we find the hole. There doesn’t seem to be a holistic solution in the market today that can help users efficiently manage their data and devices. Sure, there are companies soliciting the cloud for consumers, but they tend to be targeted to each specific operating system. For example, Apple has a cloud that connects all their devices – but you can’t sync your BlackBerry device to the Apple cloud – and vice versa. Consumers need help from businesses to manage their devices and all the data they’ll soon be getting.

Businesses that are looking to capitalize on the wave of IoT devices need to take this into consideration. Usability is essential in creating a successful product or service, because consumers won’t be willing to waste their valuable time on managing data. Since businesses looking to utilize IoT technology will need a place to store their data anyway, why not provide space to your customers as well? If your company hasn’t started exploring data centre options, and you’re looking to capitalize on IoT, you can begin exploring your colocation options by clicking here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

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