The Internet of things, or IoT, is all about connecting smart devices for people’s comfort, convenience and efficiency. What began a few years ago as mostly a technical phenomenon is today a social trend: connected devices change the way we behave, live, interact and think of our privacy and safety.
IoT is here to stay. The research firm Gartner says that 2019 is the year in which IoT adoption becomes mainstream, with practically most devices and gadgets becoming connected.
For example, the number of wearable devices will increase 25.8% to 225 million in 2019.
Global shipments of wearable devices are forecast to increase by 25.8% year over year to $225 million (GBP 176.3 million) in 2019, according to the latest figures from Gartner. The research firm also predicted that that the end-user spending on wearable devices will reach to $42 billion (GBP 32.9 million) in 2019.
As for smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, they will be the fastest rising category, with a five-year CAGR of 39.1%.
IoT includes all connected devices from smart cars, kitchen appliances, surveillance cameras, locks and doorbells, light bulbs, heat sensors to smart toys and baby monitors.
Gartner predicts the number of connected devices will exceed 50 billion by 2020.
What could these numbers (and IoT statistics) mean for you?
The bigger the smart home market gets, the greater the chance that smart gadgets get into your home, one by one. You start living in a smart home without even thinking of it that way. But, as long as you have devices that ”talk” to you or each other, that connect to your wifi and have an app to control them, you are there. New sensors, new algorithms and new experiences will make your life more connected, more productive and more comfortable.
Even if your devices are smarter, it’s still your job to make sure they’re safe.
2018 was the year in which people started to pay attention to “data protection” and privacy. Beyond the legal concerns, people want their privacy to be respected, and they started to push for a change in businesses approach of using their data. Although this problem is far from being solved, people are at least aware of it.
Why would anyone hack your family?
Another challenge that IoT brings for this year is safety. Connecting your devices to the internet creates a gateway into your home and family. Like a real door, it can be used by people who want to force their way in – and many of the smart devices available aren’t even protected by security software and thus are vulnerable to hackers.
They want to take control of your devices to steal your money, use your identity, spy on you or use the processing power of your fancy smart appliance to take down web targets.
You may have read news about IoT devices being infected and exploited, but never thought it could happen to you.
What you can do to secure your smart home
- Buy IoT devices only from reputable manufacturers and vendors.
- Choose devices with built-in security.
- Change the default login and password.
- Check for security software updates.
- Keep an eye out for sudden spikes in internet traffic or slowdowns in devices — they may be signs of trouble.
- Get a security solution for your entire home network to safeguard all the smart devices that share your wifi connection.