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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to keep a close eye on the growing Internet of Things (IoT) boom, as more connected Things access the Internet.
The FTC will task the newly-created Office of Technology Research and Investigation with a high-level approach to analyzing IoT. It will focus on studying "privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things."
The IoT provides great potential for connectivity everywhere a person goes, but the FTC has concerns related to privacy and security.
There will be 1.1 billion connected things accessing the Internet of Things (IoT) to help power smart cities in 2015, according to the Gartner research group. That figure will increase up to 9.7 billion by 2020, as more products and services rely on the Internet.
Forty-five percent of total connected things in use will be smart homes and smart commercial buildings - and that figure will rise up to 81 percent by 2020. The new opportunity provides great sales pipelines for manufacturers trying to provide connected solutions to customers.
"Smart cities represent a great revenue opportunity for technology and services providers (TSPs), but providers need to start to plan, engage and position their offerings now," said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research VP at Gartner. "The majority of Internet of Things (IoT) spending for smart cities will come from the private sector."
Smart appliances connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) could help businesses cut energy consumption, yielding financial savings that can be used for other business ventures, supporters say. A growing number of connected sensors, which are dropping in price, provide more choices for business leaders when embracing smart technology.
Businesses can embrace smart tech that is able to provide additional details regarding energy consumption, where and when it is happening the most, and how to save money. New offerings provide minute-by-minute metering, a unique metric that holds great potential for the future.
"Energy costs for businesses, particularly small businesses, are always a big challenge - especially if that business is energy intensive," said Rob McNamara, executive director of SmartGrid GB, in a statement published by The Guardian. "So any technologies, products and services that can help them reduce their energy costs are typically going to be welcome. And things like smart metering, in particular, can provide them with tangible benefits."
Siemens has done something unique to unveil its new commanding and signaling devices, with a mockumentary on its new Sirius Act modular system. Sirius Act features a new strong design with an IP69K degree of protection, high-quality looks and easy-to-use operation.
The big point of the new Sirius Act devices is that we have a wide variety of pushbuttons and emergency stop buttons, selector and key switches, as well as acostic and optical indicators. The new parts are connected to the controller through an AS-Interface, IO-Link or standard cables. The new system is easy to deploy, and better yet - without errors, even if the holes are not keyed.
One of the other key features of the new Sirius Act commanding and signaling devices is that we have IP69K protection, which keeps the Sirius Act safe from dust, oils, caustic solutions and serious (get it?) environmental situations, where it can be easily cleaned with a high-pressure jet, even at high temperatures. This means that the Sirius Act products can be used in the harshest environments, without having to worry about breakdown over time.
AT&T is strengthening its connected technology offering, saying it will link car and smart home technologies to provide even better service to customers. The company didn't provide financial revenue figures related to IoT, but said it has sold around 20 million connected sensors, while creating new partnerships with US automakers.
"Once you've told your home when the car is (for instance) within 20 feet of the house to please open the garage door, put the lights on, turn the alarm off, move the thermostat up, you can have those inanimate objects, the home and your car, really taking care of you," said Glenn Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility, in a statement to Reuters.
There is a growing fight among ISPs and wireless carriers to help power connected services, as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Google, and other major companies jump into the market.
In an interesting, but not so surprising announcement, Google has announced Google LTE-A. Google LTE-A is a "next generation cellular network, brought to you by Google".
Yes, in the future you will be able to connect to a Google mobile network, instead of your usual cellular network like AT&T or T-Mobile. Google has said that this could be the Nexus of the mobile network market, but we don't yet know if they'll operate as their own MVNO or not yet. The Mountain View-based search giant has opened up a Twitter account for Google LTE-A, but as soon as we have more information on it, we'll report it as it breaks.
More than 40 percent of organizations anticipate the Internet of Things (IoT) will lead to significant changes in the next three years, but that doesn't mean senior business leaders are prepared. Less than 25 percent of companies have chosen an executive to lead IoT, according to Gartner - a troubling sign if businesses are going to begin relying on IoT services.
There seem to be enough problems related to cybersecurity in the enterprise, and IoT may only further complicate things. Security protocols are difficult enough to follow, but with connected technologies growing, companies must be proactive.
For companies interested in adopting IoT rapidly, a high-level business executive leader must be chosen to drive IoT initiatives. In addition, the entire organization must be educated regarding IoT adoption - including potential opportunities and pitfalls. Analysts also recommend planning sooner rather than later, especially if IoT solutions will be utilized quickly.
The Model City of Mannheim project, embraced by the city of Mannheim, Germany, is designed to pair local renewable energy when residents are in need of power.
The infrastructure is built upon a broadband power line that is able to submit consumption and generated supply information to the power grid - and each house in the city is connected to the smart energy network powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).
"I think the power grid can become a brain for the city by all that information that is generated in the grid," said Thomas Wolski, from Power Plus Communications, in a statement published by CNN. "We turned (the existing grid) into a communication platform by adding just small modems of the nodes of the network. We now have data available everywhere. We can send control data from the utility to remote places, we can send information back from the meters, from measurement devices about power quality, about the current status of the grid."
The Internet of Things (IoT) connected more than 1.2 billion devices to the Internet in 2014, with an expected annual growth rate of 28 percent up to 5.4 billion things by 2020.
Manufacturing, finance and insurance, media and entertainment, and home security and monitoring businesses are expected to lead the way in enterprise IoT adoption. More than 1 billion enterprise IoT devices already are connected to the Internet, and analysts expect that figure to skyrocket as more products and services are released.
"We've seen the early adoptions, but now we're getting to a new phase where we're seeing fast followers in this business," said Mark Bartolomeo, VP in charge of IoT business of Verizon, in a statement to RE/code. Verizon's IoT business helped generate $585 million revenue last year, with the wireless company expecting strong growth as IoT becomes more popular.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is invading at a rapid pace, with even more Things being deployed, but privacy and security legalities remain confusing. Consumers are concerned of how collected data is stored and used, and users are also wary of the government creating IoT legal expectations.
Privacy advocates want companies to be transparent when discussing what information is collected - and give owners the chance to control how much data is collected. However, if there are no laws to control data collection, then there is nothing to force companies to be forthcoming.
"Under most circumstances, information that many people may consider very personal or sensitive legally can be collected, shared and used for marketing purposes," according to US Government Accountability Office. "This can include information about an individual's physical and mental health, income and assets, mobile telephone numbers, shopping habits, personal interests, political affiliations and sexual habits and orientation."