The Internet of Things Needs to Be Fixed

Those who are knowledgeable about technology, those who enjoy utilising the most recent gadgets and those who appreciate the value of convenience and ease of life are all amazed by the possibilities provided by the Internet of Things (IoT). Despite its reputation as a potential game-changer in the IT industry, there are already a number of IoT offerings available. The capacity to connect numerous devices over a network is rapidly entering every aspect of our existence, including thermostats, smart speakers, footwear and windows.

It is becoming increasingly evident that we are entering the Age of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, the reality is that we have yet to witness its full potential. This theory is supported by the facts, as the global IoT market was estimated to be worth $212 billion in 2023 and is projected to increase to a staggering $1.6 trillion by 2025.

One way to assess whether or not we have entered an era of the ‘Internet of Things’, is to count the number of internet-connected devices you have in your home. Although it may well be the case that you have a considerable amount, not all of them will be connected to the internet. This is the promise of the ‘Internet of Things’: a connected future in which all of our devices are seamlessly linked.

As we are currently witnessing the beginning of the Internet of Things (IoT), many people are becoming overwhelmed by the potential that these devices offer. Whilst this can be an exciting prospect, there is an issue with this enthusiasm; it can lead to a lack of understanding of the current capabilities of the IoT, which may not meet the expectations of those people.

The Internet of Things’ Biggest Problem

As we approach our home, a sensor triggers the lights to come on, allowing us to take advantage of our refrigerators for their planning and purchasing capabilities. Furthermore, we have a dedicated team of professionals available to assist us with any queries we may have; moreover, we can even purchase those iconic ‘Back to the Future’ sneakers. With all of this in mind, what is it that you are concerned about?

It is undoubtedly true that the Internet of Things (IoT) has its faults. Our eagerness to embrace the current wave of IoT products has meant that we have overlooked a number of major problems. In particular, the issues surrounding privacy and data collection are particularly salient and should be carefully considered by anyone looking to purchase a smart speaker. Although some of these issues are already apparent, it is likely that their full extent will become more obvious as time goes on.

Before we get started, it is essential to look at the primary issues with the current version of the Internet of Things. If we take a look at creating a new Internet of Things product, from a smart table to a clever blazer, it is clear that a number of considerations must be taken into account. From the hardware to the software, the connectivity, the firmware, the applications, updates, and regulations, all must be addressed to make the concept a functioning product.

Due to the complexity of the Internet of Things, the challenge of creating such a device is significantly greater than creating a non-connected product or gadget. Companies wishing to join the IoT must be prepared to undertake a range of tasks, such as devising the hardware, developing a reliable software system to operate the device, creating a mobile application to monitor and control it, safeguarding the backend of the cloud, and scheduling accordingly.

As the Internet of Things is still relatively new, one may wonder how many of the potential issues faced by IoT companies are being considered. The range of problems faced by IoT devices is substantial, as highlighted by recent occurrences in the real world. For example, a seemingly innocuous issue was seen when an Android software update caused Nike’s Back to the Future sneakers to revert to their original form. On the other hand, the Ring smart doorbell has highlighted the more sinister issues, as attackers have been able to use it to gain access to video and audio material from inside a person’s home.

Both of these scenarios demonstrate how some organisations focus on the most essential elements of a product’s launch and postpone the rest until after it has been released. In these circumstances, the most suitable course of action is to address any problems that have been reported by customers. This approach shows that not all businesses are working to create the highest quality goods, but rather products that are at least functional.

When one takes into account the potential risks posed by a failure of IoT devices caused by a software update or an unreliable internet connection, it is clear that this strategy presents an inherent issue. Upon reflection, the prospect of an autonomous vehicle being unable to contact its main server and consequently operating without any clear direction is far more concerning than having to walk around with your shoelaces undone.

Today’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology presents a significant challenge, caused by lack of consideration from some developers when designing solutions. Consequently, we are often presented with products that are not up to standard, missing essential features or becoming entirely useless when there is no internet connection. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed if we are to enjoy the full potential of IoT technology.

How to Solve IoT’s Core Problems

At present, there is a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) devices available, from those which are fully developed to those which are still in the early stages. It is not possible to predict whether these devices will ultimately be unsuccessful or how long they may continue to be operational for. There is a slight risk that they will be unable to be used again in the future.

Companies that are unfortunate enough to fail can see the benefits of their Internet of Things (IoT) devices significantly diminished as a consequence, as the connection required to access their features is no longer supported or maintained. This could potentially leave the customer with a product that is nothing more than a costly paperweight, rather than a useful and effective device.

The Internet of Things (IoT) presents an additional fundamental problem. Generally, when an item is purchased, it is the property of the purchaser, who can do as they wish with it. However, this is not the case with IoT, as its end-users, that is to say, us, can never own the servers to which its products are connected.

If a particular company terminates our access to their services, they are depriving us of something that is rightfully ours. It is essentially the same as when you buy a movie or video game; while you have access to it, you do not have full ownership rights.

It is possible to argue that by only buying products from well-established and successful businesses, it is possible to avoid risks associated with them going bankrupt. However, it is important to recognise that no business is ever completely safe from facing insolvency, and there are other scenarios which could lead to an Internet of Things device losing its connection.

A restructuring of the management team within a company may lead to a shift in its primary target audience. This could consequently lead to a decrease in the sale of existing products. Additionally, the costs associated with sustaining older equipment and software may eventually outweigh the advantages they offer to the organisation. Furthermore, if new features are implemented, some of the existing stock may no longer be eligible for a firmware update.

The evidence available indicates that certain aspects of the current Internet of Things have been engineered with a view to providing benefits in the immediate future. It is asserted that these new technologies will enable us to enjoy more convenience and a range of impressive new facilities.

I am concerned that investing in a smart fridge may not be a cost-effective solution in the long-term, as any potential loss in functionality due to a software update, mismanagement or security breach could be expensive and inconvenient. I would not want to have to replace my refrigerator every few years because of design flaws or obsolescence, leaving me with no technical support. To ensure that I am not making an imprudent purchase, I need to be assured that my smart fridge will remain reliable and up-to-date for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, the situation is not immovable. Some organisations that produce or design Internet of Things (IoT) products are starting to take into account these elements prior to launching their products. If you want to manufacture superior IoT goods in the light of these complications, you must figure out a way to ensure that the device will still function even if its internet connection is lost.

It is ultimately up to the companies producing the goods to decide whether or not smart objects are better than their traditional counterparts. As consumers, we are left with the choice of determining which option provides us with the most practical and intuitive solution. We can also send a message to companies by rewarding those who make this commitment.

At last, the only certain way to guarantee that the fit of your new pair of Back to the Future shoes matches that of your previous Air Jordans is to try them on. Whilst this may not be a dramatic shift from the current approach of IoT companies, it is an essential step towards fulfilling the extraordinary potential of comfort and convenience that this technology has opened up.

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