2021 Trend Almanac: Technologies and trends that will dominate the business and consumer landscape. Get instant access
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated devices that are connected to the internet and able to pull and transmit data across a wireless network. Utilizing data from billions of devices, the IoT network brings the cloud computing power of the internet, data processing, and analytics to the real world, allowing interaction with the global information network without needing a screen or a keyboard. Examples of IoT applications include smart home speakers, such as Google Home or Amazon's Alexa, and video doorbells. Using Wi-Fi, many everyday appliances contain IoT sensors and can be collecting data, transferring data, and taking instruction from the IoT network with little to no human interaction.
IoT devices can be used to monitor and control mechanical, electrical, and security systems in public buildings, industrial parks, smart homes, or even a smart city. IoT data, combined with machine learning and automation software, can be shared and controlled across several disparate IoT systems. Businesses utilize IoT to process large amounts of data constantly coming in from various devices and their sensors, adapting to the analytics and responding in real-time. Because of this, IoT security is crucial.
This age of digital transformation has brought innovative technological advancements and previously impossible capabilities, but it also comes with a large amount of security risk. Cyber attacks at this level are catastrophic. When securing IoT devices, attention must be paid to not only industrial machines, building automation, and energy grids, but also any personal IoT devices, such as smartwatches, that employees bring to work. Without effective IoT security, any connected appliance or device can be hacked, affecting appliance or device functionality, as well as accessing and stealing corporate or user digital data. IoT security involves end-to-end encryption, device and appliance monitoring, and extensive authentication steps.