In this year, the Internet will connect to about 1.5 billion new “things,” and over 20 billion devices will be online by the end of 2020. Theoretically, every one of them will be connected to each other.
The initial model of the internet wasn’t created to handle this population explosion of information generating devices. Now, the internet is threatened by its own expansion and growth.
So is the Internet headed for destruction? No, but it will change. Here’s how:
The previous phase of Internet was not designed to handle the data that is being generated by 20 billion devices, but soon it will have to. Although, we are not going to face the collapse of the internet because of this.
Unlike general-purpose computers and smartphones, Most of the IoT devices or sensors aren’t sending or receiving too many data. IoT devices are used in special purpose and normally send and receive only small bits of data to a single destination. The Internet can handle the data of billions of the new sensors as long as the sensors don’t become too much chatty.
And while the original specifications for the Internet only allowed for about 4.3 billion devices, and we’ve already re-architected it to manage a lot extra: about 340 trillion trillion individual things. That should hold the force for a while.
But while the fabric of the network itself may be robust, hackers can exploit its flexibility.
IoT-based attacks, like the botnet that brought down Twitter and Netflix last year, are going to get more pretentious and more damaging. Attacks on infrastructure (power grids, traffic systems) or on IoT consumer devices themselves (appliances, for example) are already being attempted. Eventually, one will succeed at scale.
Fortunately, the Internet can, and will, be made safer. Security can be built into the network itself.
But unfortunately, there’s always a key to the lock, that means every time you are going to build a stronger and unhackable strategy, there is going to be a key that can reverse the process and hacker’s know a way or two to do these things. Although it will be to early to say that how early or late they’ll be able to do it, that purely depends on the type of security technology being used.
One way is to restrict the type of traffic that network equipment will accept from an IoT device. While personal computers and smartphones get mostly unrestricted access to the Internet and the Web, there’s no reason a webcam or a temperature sensor should have the same rights. For example, a thermostat shouldn’t be allowed to send millions of Web page requests a second.
Networking companies and standards bodies are working to let device manufacturers securely affirm what their devices should be allowed to do on the network, and network equipment companies will encode the following of those rules into the fabric of the network. This way, we can put a restriction on the wide range of possibilities through which internet can be accessed to the bad things since these small things are built to do a very specific set of jobs and do not require any higher level permission to do their part of duty.
Some IoT devices do have the potential to bog existing networks, especially if they’re deployed in large numbers. Video cameras send a lot of real-time rich data. New jet engines are laden with sensors (GE’s new PW1000G engines have over 5,000) and generate 10 gigabits per second when running, terabits per flight. Cars also are now recording massive amounts of information.
Devices that do record huge amounts of data will need new systems to connect to that can process their data that can have some extra layers of security that should be unbreachable.
If an engine that’s recording gigabits of data a second sees a fault or other issue that should be addressed at the moment, its computers should have the intelligence to communicate to the right people and machines, on the plane itself and via radio to the ground, immediately. But most of the data these sensors read is recorded, not transmitted. It is only transferred to a collection and analysis system when there’s a robust and private connection. The airplane engines can offload their data when they’re on the ground and connected to the airline’s own high-speed wireless network.
But if you’ve got hundreds/thousands/millions of planes (or cars, or power plants, or video systems) all uploading terabytes of data at the same time, it’s still too many data to dump onto the Internet to send to the cloud for storage and processing. What we need — and what’s getting built now — is intelligence at the edge of the network: between the devices collecting data and cloud data centers.
If there’s one part of the global network that needs rapid upgrades to serve this new wave of things, it’s the edge — the border between IoT devices and the computers on the Internet. The massive amount of data these things generate needs to be processed, reduced, and analyzed before it hits the Internet. It’s a big opportunity.
Still, have a simple iron machine made up of a few heating elements and some rotatable devices? Maybe save it for an auction one day, because appliances and machines, from light bulbs to ovens to drill presses, are connecting to the Internet. And they’re getting smarter day by day.
The cost of putting Internet connectivity into a device of any kind is dropping fast, and at the same time device manufacturers are fighting each other to put more and more features into their devices. So we’re getting “smart” devices that you can access via a Website or a Mobile app.
The problem for ordinary humans is the experience of using all these interfaces. Nobody wants one app for their lights and another for their thermostat. Most people don’t want to use an app for those things at all.
Soon, these smart devices will get really chatty with you. They’ll communicate through voice (either with their own speakers and microphones or through something like Amazon’s Echo), or through chat in a text or Facebook message. One morning, you may wake up to an emoji and a Good Morning greeting from your toaster.
There’s an opportunity to mediate or aggregate what’s going to be a crowded cocktail party of gadgets all vying for your attention. Players in the baby “chatbot” industry will fight hard for your attention this year.
Who needs traffic lights when your car itself knows when it should stop and go? Audi is experimenting with cars that communicate directly with traffic lights in Las Vegas. Things are just heating up, after a few years there won’t be such a thing as an unconnected vehicle.
We all want safe and more efficient cars, and that requires that they are networked – to each other, to roadway and city infrastructure, and to data collection services in the cloud. Better automotive networking will also help push the rollout of self-driving technologies.
The current infrastructure doesn’t guarantee the fast, low-latency, and reliable connections that cars need. So car companies and wireless carriers are hustling to standardize new networks: Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and 5G cellular.
2017 will see tremendous upgradations in automotive industries.
Billions of new things are already striving the Internet and forcing to redesign the protocols. Inventions, economics, societal changes, and even creative criminality are also forcing changes to the Internet. To adapt to these changing pressures, we need to weave newer, stronger communications onto the existing Internet so it can lay a strong foundation for billions of new devices and for businesses we haven’t yet imagined.
So, here are few things that we think how the internet will impact your life in 2017.
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