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The Internet of Things (IoT) has great potential to be a truly disruptive infrastructure, with expectations of 20+ billion "Things" just around the corner. Consumers will enjoy smart technologies in their homes and in the workplace, opening up a large number of potential vulnerabilities that cybercriminals will exploit.
There is a mix of privacy and security concerns related to IoT products that must be addressed by manufacturers. Consumers were outraged when Samsung confirmed its smart HDTVs had the capability to listen in using the TV's built-in voice command features.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts are worried about hackers able to target smart technologies - especially newer products in which security may not have been a priority - that will complicate things long-term. IoT product vendors must keep in mind that consumers will be reckless with security, and it cannot be an optional feature.
David Cameron has announced that the UK government will pledge £50 million (or $77 million or so) into seeing free Wi-Fi on-board UK trains by 2017. The UK Prime Minister hasn't elaborated much on this plan, not stating whether this would be a large number of trains, or all of them.
There are rumors that the rail companies are paying for it now, and that the government would just be hanging them money to effectively have 'free Wi-Fi' on the trains, but we don't know that for sure just yet. Free Wi-Fi is currently offered on long distance, intercity services, but this should expand those services considerably.
Why can't the UK government just provide everyone using trains with that super-fast 5G Internet access Prime Minister Cameron teased about last year?
Cisco hopes to work its way into being the No. 1 IT and networking company in the booming Internet of Things (IoT) market, understanding that there is great potential looking ahead.
IoT-powered products are expected to enter households and offices at a rapid pace over the next few years, so Cisco wants to create partnerships and be in place to help other companies create their own products.
"It is the most fundamental change," said John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. "You'd almost call it the second generation of the Internet. We're back in vogue. It's like the 1990s all over again."
Intel isn't sure what will happen with the booming Internet of Things (IoT) market, but the Silicon Valley company wants to make sure it is involved.
During CES last month, Intel unveiled the Curie chip designed for wearables and other connected technologies - which it hopes will be introduced in a variety of different future products. Intel predicts there will more than 800 million Web-connected homes over the next three years, and that number will only grow higher.
"What we see in that segment of the market, the Internet of Things, there's lots of innovation going on," said Stacy Smith, CFO of Intel, in a statement to CNET. "If anybody tells you they know who's going to be the winner three years from now, they're making it up, because nobody knows."
Security systems connected to the Internet of things (IoT) could create an unexpected back door that puts owners at risk, according to a new security report from Hewlett-Packard. Specifically, brute-force attacks can be especially helpful in breaking through security, with manufacturers neglecting to use lockout procedures after failed repeated login attempts.
In addition, there were security vulnerabilities found in user interfaces on mobile, desktop and cloud platforms utilized by home owners. HP didn't disclose which vendors it used in its IoT security system study, but this appears to be a major problem that must be addressed.
"The results were pretty startling," said Daniel Miessler, practice principal at HP Fortify, in a statement to eWeek. "The big finding was that 10 out of 10 systems could be brute-forced to extract usernames and passwords via the Internet."
At least 40 percent of organizations understand the Internet of Things (IoT) has great potential over the next three years, with 60 percent even more optimistic for longer-term adoption, according to a report from the Gartner research group.
To help embrace connected technology, companies must work to ensure they have employees trained - and prepared - for a growing number of connected technologies, which will be used in the workplace and by customers.
"Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment," said Nick Jones, VP and distinguished analyst of the Gartner research group. "However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars. The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems."
There are plenty of opportunities for consumers and companies embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), but trying to secure connected things will be extremely difficult. Vendors must embrace continuous testing programs to verify their services are secure - and consumers will need to utilize available security protocols, while pushing for new securities in the future.
Regardless of potential privacy and security concerns, expect to see a number of new connected things in the coming years - with everything from smart energy meters to security, lighting and air conditioning expected to be connected. There will be over 28 billion things installed in households and apartments by 2020, according to IDC.
"IoT is a very fast moving space, and the pressure on companies to get new things to market almost invariably comes at the expense of proper security practices," said Casey Ellix, CEO of Bugcrowd cybersecurity firm, in a statement published by Forbes. "On top of this, many of the devices are built on top of open source libraries and components, which themselves have vulnerabilities which are discovered on a regular basis."
There is no question the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to have a high-profile in the years to come, but there is concern that a single platform will hold back progress. Companies are building next-generation IoT ecosystems, but there won't be a standard product offering through 2018, according to the Gartner research group.
Since a standardized IoT offering won't be available, future efforts will remain customized platforms - and that could hurt IoT adoption by consumers. Analysts believe connected devices will still become increasingly popular, but integration into mobile devices - which is popular today - could become cluttered with numerous infrastructures that cause confusion.
"Many standards and ecosystems for the IoT are still in development and some of the vendors and ecosystems may fail during the working lifetime of current IoT projects," said Alfonso Velosa, research director at Gartner. "CIOs will need to ensure their prime system integrator has a strategy to future-proof their project."
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a 55-page study focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), admitting that there are "numerous" and "potentially revolutionary" benefits to consumers - but at major privacy and security risks that must be addressed.
For companies making connected devices, the FTC hopes to see security built directly into devices immediately, instead of waiting to add it in later. Furthermore, it's important to train employees regarding security, so they can take it more seriously while designing - or using - connected technologies.
"The only way for the Internet of Things to reach its full potential for innovation is with the trust of American consumers," said Edith Ramirez, FTC Chairwoman, in a press statement. "We believe that by adopting the best practices we've laid out, businesses will be better able to provide consumers the protections they want and allow the benefits of the Internet of Things to be fully realized."
Ideum has launched its Duet smart coffee table, featuring 42-inch and 46-inch models, running the Microsoft Windows 8 and Google Android operating systems. The table has been designed for use in public spaces, offices, schools, retail stores, and other environments that feature continued use.
The multi-touch input provides increased responsiveness and has been designed to be the "hub of the connected home," giving owners the chance to control all their smart technologies from one location: controlling music, lights, thermostat, security, and other popular IoT-driven solutions.
The Duet has the following hardware specs: Intel Core i5-4570R (3.20GHz), Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 8GB DDR RAM, and a 256GB SSD.