If you’ve been following technology news in recent years, you may have heard the term “Internet of Things” (IoT). The expression reached cultural prominence in 2016 when a wave of Distributed Denial of Service attacks crippled some major web servers. The botnet code, titled “Mirai” after the anime series Mirai Nikki, left the tech world scrambling to figure out which major government was responsible for such an attack.
It was later revealed that a student at Rutgers University, after recognizing the underused processing-power potential of these internet-connected “things,” wrote a code that exploited the unsecured “things” and banded them together to gain an advantage in hosting game servers for Minecraft. In effect, this student created a widely-disbursed super computer.
Despite these initial events, companies have been incorporating internet connectivity into more and more devices.
Today, one can purchase refrigerators, cars, light bulbs, coffee makers, and toilets—all connected to the internet. Devices like these collectively comprise “the Internet of Things,” and as of 2017, an estimated 8.4 billion “things” were connected to the web. On Black Friday/Cyber Monday in 2018, the Amazon Echo Dot was the bestselling device across all categories, adding several million more “things” to this network in just a few days. The result of this movement will have major consequences in the world of business.
Why does all of this matter? How can the presence of things like smart toasters play a significant role in the way business is done? If the risk of a security breach is so high, why would people even participate?
This technological change has potential to wreak havoc, but it also offers enormous societal and business benefits in an increasingly connected world. The opportunities for efficiency, task management, cost-effectiveness, etc. are significant—and this is just the consumer side of IoT.
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