This is why data privacy matters!

It’s me in front of my tell-all smart TV. And my hears-all Amazon Echo.

Did you know your television is watching you? Specifically, that most smart TVs are sending data off to their makers and in certain cases, to marketers. Consumer Reports showcased the security flaws and the lack of privacy inherent in connected TV in a report last week, while over at Gizmodo Kashmir Hill has a new article out about privacy in the smart home that puts a big focus on televisions.

It’s no secret that internet-connected TVs share data with others, nor is it remarkable that most TVs available today are smart. That’s what allows you to watch Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime shows. But the rest of our appliances are also going the way of TV. Samsung and Kenmore both say that, going forward, all of their appliances will have some kind of connectivity built into them.

And for many, the features enabled by connected devices will mostly outweigh the fears of data surveillance. I’m not talking about connected light bulbs and home automation here, but about adding truly innovative and helpful features to once-dumb appliances, letting them become truly smart.

An example of this is a washing machine that can tell how dirty your clothes are and select the proper cycle. Or a fridge that can offer you a remote camera feed to the inside so you can see what’s on the shelf. Maybe the fridge could reorder your water filter when it’s getting old. Even better, maybe that same filter could report back on the purity of the water to environmental agencies and consumers as a way to ensure public health.

Smarter products will have to be connected in order to create information exchanges that benefit the consumer, the manufacturer, and maybe even society. However, the industry so far is screwing this up with an ineptitude driven by greed, short-term thinking, and a desire to act first and beg forgiveness later.

This is emblematic of the culture built up over the last two decades in technology, where we took the internet and used it to turn users into the product. The current backlash against Silicon Valley companies is a reaction to this exchange of personal data for services. Especially as the services became more about keeping the person engaged to the exclusion of their well-being or the well-being of society.

This may sound like hippie dippie stuff, but there is a direct link from Google and Facebook’s behavior to the privacy concerns that people have with regard to connected devices. That those concerns are completely justified only makes it worse.

I’ve spent years trying to tell the industry and the government that privacy matters. Not just because it’s a basic right, but because if you respect people’s privacy and offer them agency over controlling their data, they are more likely to buy the product. And if you offer them a compelling reason to share their data while still offering them some control, you actually build a model where the data you collect has to benefit the user or the larger society.

We are starting to see some momentum on this front, and I am hopeful that 2018 will be a turning point in the U.S. The General Data Protection Regulation in the EU has already established a framework for how to establish data privacy as a human right. What’s even more promising is that many of the regulations in the GDPR are impossible or difficult to implement today, and the EU realizes that.

The hope is that the EU will guide technologists in developing tools that match the regulatory framework while the regulatory stick offer will offer an incentive for companies to make a market to develop the tools required to meet the law. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., technologists are increasingly asking themselves how to get and use data responsibly.

While this entire essay is focused on the importance of managing user privacy and the intentional gathering and sharing of consumer data, security is also related to the topic. Specifically, what happens to consumer data when security is breached. As it stands, consumers are worried both about a loss of their privacy to companies, but also to hackers as part of the all-too-often security breaches.

Until the tech companies get their priorities in order and the government steps up with rules that give consumers some control over their information, I believe the promise of the smart home will never take off, because consumers won’t trust it.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Five things that are bigger than the Internet: Findings from this year’s Global Cloud Index

The scale of the Internet is awe-inspiring. By 2021, there will be 4.6 billion people and 27 billion devices connected to the Internet, and Internet traffic will reach 2.8 trillion.
IoT – Cisco Blog

How IoT will evolve this year and why disposability and recyclability will determine the future

The year is shaping up to be one of the most innovative in history, and you may be wondering which trends will emerge to drive connected life forward. After we saw IoT become a household name in 2017, says Vivek Mohan, director of Wireless IoT Products at Semtech, here’s what I believe 2018 has in store.

As people try to find greener and more energy-efficient methods, energy harvesting will be important in the Internet of Things (IoT), especially for low-power technology. This will have particular relevance with solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy captured and then stored for small, wireless autonomous devices like those used in wearable electronics. Wireless sensor networks will take on added significance as these new cutting-edge IoT technologies are developed.

Field services

The field service industry is huge, encompassing 20 million field technicians spread across the world. These individuals are responsible for maintaining everything from hospital equipment, to office elevators and heavy manufacturing machines. Maintenance can be a daunting and costly task, so creating efficiencies and leveraging predictive maintenance is crucial. IoT technology such as sensors and real-time monitoring are becoming more crucial because organisations need to know exactly where and when equipment needs to be adjusted or replaced.

Keeping rodents and pests, such as rats, mice and termites, away is an age-old problem that has deep consequences when it comes to meeting food and building safety requirements.

Leveraging sensors with IoT devices and networks is becoming more prevalent, and in the year ahead we will see even more creative applications of this technology for monitoring of pests, so people and businesses can detect possible problems before they become serious.

Disposable IoT

However, by far the biggest trend that I believe we will see this year will be the rise of disposable IoT. As IoT become more mainstream, new types of use cases and applications appear that require low-cost and low-power solutions with the ease of one-time usage.

Disposable technologies are not a new concept (think disposable cameras), but disposable technologies for IoT is new. The concept of disposable IoT is in its infancy, yet we are starting to see innovation in this area from large industries.

For example, the U.S. Marine Corps is now testing single-use drones made of cardboard, powered by inexpensive motors, to deliver supplies to combat troops. Tech companies have also begun using low-cost, low-power, green tags that can track real-time feedback.

Various challenges needed to be met before truly disposable IoT could become reality. Firstly, the diversity of the types of application that exist within IoT and the subsequent need for multiple types of technology – and the adaptation of others – has posed perhaps the biggest hurdle.

A further challenge has been related to the battery. Indeed, a key issue with IoT stems from the fact that many devices require batteries, but these energy sources need to incorporate materials with much lower levels of toxicity than, for instance, lithium-ion batteries, which are difficult to recycle. I’ve seen this innovation up close, as Semtech recently invested […]

The post How IoT will evolve this year and why disposability and recyclability will determine the future appeared first on IoT Now – How to run an IoT enabled business.

Blogs – IoT Now – How to run an IoT enabled business

This week’s podcast: IoT’s nuclear winter

The Apple HomePod goes on sale this week and Kevin is getting one for the show. We’re not sure if you should yet. We discuss that, and our respective Google Home experiments. We also cover Ring raising money at a big valuation, layoffs in consumer IoT, and trouble at SigFox and more. This week’s guest is Matt Turck, managing director at First Mark Capital. Every two years, Turck amazes us with his map of all the IoT startups. This year, he came on the show to talk about where the industry is, what he’s looking to invest in and the end of the first phase of the IoT hype. Listen to the overview and then go check out his in-depth blog post and market map.

 

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

This Arduino infinity mirror lights up to music

Infinity mirrors, which make light appear to stretch to infinity by bouncing light between two mirrors, are incredible to observe. Hacker “Evocate” decided to go the extra mile and not only illuminate the inside of his mirror arrangement, but used an Arduino Uno and a sound sensor to enable it to react to sound.

In addition to this sound sensitivity, a Bluetooth app controls color and brightness, allowing him to customize the device on the fly.

The mirror also has a built-in microphone which detects sound/music and reacts accordingly by generating eye-catching light strobes on the beat of the music! Simply start up the app, connect to Bluetooth and see the magic happen!

If you’d like to build your own, full instructions along with Arduino and app code are available here. Or you can simply check it out in action below!

Arduino Blog