Internet of Things (IoT) Meaning
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical objects that are connected to the internet using software, sensors, and other technologies. In effect, this allows the devices to “talk” to the cloud, sending data that is processed in the cloud and then returned to the end-user.
A Historic Timeline of Internet of Things (IoT)
Given its current popularity, it is not surprising that the concept of IoT was discussed throughout the 1980s, but it may date back to even earlier times.
1974-- The Beginning of TCP/IP
In 1974, Robert E. Kahn and Vinton Cerf invented the Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). IP makes sure data goes from one place to another without any being lost along the way. TCP helps reassemble the data into what it was before it began its journey.
1990 -- The First IoT Device
In 1990, John Romkey made a toaster that could be switched on and off over the internet. He made and presented it for the October ’89 INTEROP conference.
1991 -- The First Webpage
Tim Berners-Lee created the first webpage in 1991, and it had the address info.cern.ch. It ran on a NeXT computer at CERN, which is the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.
1999 -- IoT is Coined for the First Time
Kevin Ashton first coined the actual term “Internet of Things” in 1999 while he was giving a PowerPoint presentation for Procter & Gamble. He proposed devices that could sense their surroundings using sensors and software.
2013 -- The First Official Entry of Internet of Things
Even though the term had already been around for 14 years, the Oxford Dictionary added “Internet of Things” to its pages in 2013. The influence of advocates like Helen Duce likely played a role. Ms. Duce wrote, "We have a clear vision—to create a world where every object—from jumbo jets to sewing needles—is linked to the internet."
2016 -- Mirai Botnet Almost Brings Down the Internet
2020 -- IoT Devices Exceed 20 Billion
There are over 20 billion devices connected to the internet, and that number will continue to grow over the next decade. This is primarily due to the value many enterprises put in producing products and services that either depend on or heavily leverage internet connectivity. Soon, an electrical device may seem obsolete if it does not at least allow for a connection to the internet.
What Is IoT: How Does the Internet of Things (IoT) Work?
IoT devices are embedded with sensors that collect data about their surroundings, which is then transmitted back to a central server. This data can be used to monitor and manage the devices, as well as provide insights about the areas where they are deployed.
Here are some scenarios:
IoT devices can be used in the home to automate tasks and improve efficiency. For example, you can use an IoT-enabled thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule or the weather outside. You can also use an IoT-enabled security system to monitor your home for intruders or environmental hazards.
Safer Transportation Systems
IoT devices can be applied in the transportation sector to increase efficiency and improve safety. For example, they can be used to track the location of vehicles or to monitor traffic conditions in real time. They can also be used to automatically control traffic lights or to provide information about available parking spots.
IoT technology is also being used to develop smart cities, where a variety of municipal services are connected and managed by computers. These include waste management, energy use, and traffic flow. By connecting all of these different systems, it is possible to get a real-time overview of what is happening in the city and make decisions accordingly.
The potential applications of IoT are virtually limitless. As more and more devices connect to the internet, we will continue to see new and innovative ways that IoT can improve lives.
Examples of Internet of Things (IoT)
What is IoT? We are surrounded by a plethora of different types of IoT devices. While some are still viewed as cutting edge, many have become common elements of everyday life.
Perhaps the first IoT device, a toaster, was a forbearer of things to come. Now, in addition to toasters, many kitchens boast smart refrigerators and ovens. Smart thermostats manage and adjust to the heating needs of people’s homes, and televisions can be programmed remotely to record shows while their owner is thousands of miles away.
Wearables work by incorporating software and sensors that collect data about the person wearing them. The data is processed to reveal insights about the user. Wearables penetrate a wide variety of markets, from fitness to health to entertainment.
The term “connected car” refers to a vehicle that can optimize its own operation, with maintenance and comforts designed to enhance the experience of passengers and drivers. Many prominent auto manufacturers such as Tesla, Jeep, and BMW have developed connected cars. Other companies, like Apple and Google, are in the process of developing connected cars for mainstream audiences.
Internet of Things (IoT) Benefits
The advantage of having more access to their devices’ data is one major reason many companies have already implemented IoT in their business model. Many are adjusting their product offerings, as well as systems, to reap some of the rewards of IoT incorporation.
IoT devices can increase productivity in manufacturing with their ability to update in real time, making it easier to report needs along the supply chain and within factories—even before they arise.
Companies can also use IoT devices to introduce remote troubleshooting of devices employees use to enhance productivity. They can also make employees' lives more seamless with automated tea or coffee makers, self-sterilizing bathrooms, and the like.
Lower Operational Costs
IoT solutions can help companies slash costs, making their business more financially sustainable. In manufacturing, for example, IoT devices can track equipment and manage their maintenance schedules. Businesses can save money on HVAC expenses with automated IoT-powered heating and cooling systems.
Empowered Smart Device Applications
In a variety of business sectors, IoT devices have grown in popularity. In the healthcare, entertainment, transportation, hospitality, and education industries, IoT usage has been and will continue to increase as users find more ways of leveraging real-time, interactive data.
Challenges of Internet of Things ( IoT)
The flexibility and possibility of IoT come with significant challenges. With a well-designed threat detection and response system in place, however, an organization can meet the following obstacles head on.
Data Interception and Exploitation
The data that goes between IoT devices and the cloud can be intercepted by bad actors and then used to extort companies or sold to the highest bidder. This includes users’ personal information, medical records, and identities.
Devices as Breach Opportunities
Every connected device is a potential entry point for a hacker. They can be used as a convenient access point for a network or to introduce malware.
Compromised Devices Affecting the Manufacturing Process
Because IoT devices can control the critical machines a manufacturer uses, they need to be carefully secured.
Interruption or Hacking of Critical Infrastructure
More and more, IoT is becoming incorporated in transportation, chemical refineries, energy grids, and other critical elements of everyday infrastructure. If these were hacked, pivotal services could be interrupted.
Some of the challenges faced by IoT are not necessarily new, but the way they affect IoT devices is unique.
An Increase of Botnets
A botnet is a string of internet-connected devices that hackers implement to remotely control IoT devices and use them for illegal activity. The more IoT permeates business, the more botnet attacks there will be.
Lack of Encryption
Many IoT devices do not have the storage or processing capabilities that would enable them to take advantage of the kinds of encryption that computers use. This can leave their data exposed to hackers. Hackers can then manipulate the security protocols that were supposed to protect the IoT device.
Many devices come with default passwords that are weak and easy to figure out. If users fail to change the default passwords as soon as the device is installed, they can be especially vulnerable to attacks.
IoT devices are the largest attack vector of phishing attacks, which is when an email is used to trick someone into opening and installing malware. Once a phishing attack has implanted malicious software, a hacker can send a signal to the IoT device to disable or control it.
Many IoT devices use user information to individualize the experiences they provide. Hacking into an IoT device can gain a malicious actor access to a treasure trove of personal data.
How Fortinet Can Help
- Network visibility or seeing each device and its user as they interact with the network
- Control over the network to restrict the access of certain devices
- Automatic responses to security events to reduce the amount of time it takes to address issues
FortiGuard offers simplified network security operations to manage and control IoT devices. With FortiGuard intelligence, IoT devices can be discovered and segmented, and policies can be enforced against them. Further, FortiGate can query FortiGuard servers to obtain information regarding unknown devices and then take appropriate action.
With FortiGuard, IoT devices can be assigned to network access control virtual local-area networks (NAC VLANs), which reduces the amount of work needed to manage them within customer environments. The Fortinet Security Fabric also gives organizations the ability to detect voice traffic, as well as the devices involved.
What is Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical objects that are connected to the internet using software, sensors, and other technologies.
What is the purpose of the Internet of Things (IoT)?
IoT allows the devices to “talk” to the cloud, sending data that is processed in the cloud and then returned to the end-user.
What are some benefits of IoT?
The advantage of having more access to their devices’ data is one major reason many companies have already implemented IoT in their business model. Benefits include increased productivity, lower operational costs, and leveraging real-time interactive data.