It’s the fourth day of Ars Unite, our week-long virtual conference on the future of technology. Today we’re talking about the “Internet of Things” (IoT)—the fusion of networking, embedded computing technology, cloud computing, sensors, and electronic controls that is gradually working its way into nearly every aspect of daily life. A new wave of technologies are making the physical and digital worlds more closely connected, for better or worse. We’ll be talking about the future of IoT technology, the challenges that need to be overcome to make sure it doesn’t kill us all, and more on our YouTube channel at 1pm Eastern Time.
You may already have IoT technology in your house and not know it. if you have a “smart” electric meter, cable television, a broadband router, or a “connected car,” congratulations! You’re already touched by the Internet of Things, technically speaking. But as we discussed in our feature this morning, there are three major areas of concern that need to be addressed as IoT scales toward its expected size of over 50 billion devices in the next five years: security, privacy, and reliability. In many ways, these three concerns are all closely connected.
One of the biggest concerns about IoT is that connected devices don’t get the same sort of security patches that the types of things we usually think about being connected to the Internet—PCs, smartphones, and servers—get regularly. The software dependencies of embedded devices are just as complex as they are for larger systems in many ways, and patching bugs without breaking things requires time and money. But it also requires that systems be built to be patchable in the first place.