American International Group, a global insurance provider with over 88 million customers, has decided to tackle one of the internet’s greatest (and most dangerous) futures: the Internet of Things. If you aren’t familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT), it boils down to devices. The billions and billions of devices connected to the internet include smart watches, weather stations, cars, phones, and anything else with its own sensors and connected to the internet. Their first report challenges companies to monitor the growth of the IoT, and explains the factors of the explosive growth.
The greatest concern regarding growth of the IoT is the vulnerability. Every device you own is a hole in our armor, but those holes are precisely what make these devices work. The sensors in your devices collect data which is then uploaded to millions of servers. Consider GPS; when your car and phone tell everyone where you are, how do you maintain your privacy? On the other hand, that same technology is required in order for thousands of apps to work, including maps, star charts, Yelp, Gas Buddy, and more. For most of the IoT, passive data collection from the masses means that consumers get lightning fast updates and real-time functionality.
For businesses, risks evolve around rapid change. With every operating system update, smartphone upgrade, even minor improvements to the quality of sensors in devices, the Internet of Things grows, but cybersecurity isn’t developed as quickly as new features are added to devices. Companies all over the world are already behind the curve forming via consumer-driven growth. This delay creates the gap that hackers and malcontents use to interfere with businesses.
The IoT will continue to grow at a rapid pace. It is no longer a question of “if” the world will be connected by everyday items. Rather, the question are “when?” and “how?” AIG`s report (which you can download here), details the four major industrial uses of the Internet of Things: Safety, Efficiency, Data-Driven Decision Making, and Infrastructure. The report goes into detail for several industries including banking, energy, and aerospace, explaining how the IoT is already driving those fields, and how those fields are growing with the technology.
The report then dives into the risks presented by the IoT. Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Liability are huge concerns for any business, and at home. Legislation regulating the collection and use of personal data is long since outdated. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission still encourages strong data security and calls for breach notifications for consumers, but there are few (if any) effective laws governing how your data (or your business’s), is used.
After reading the report several times, I keep coming back to a few questions that I hope are addressed as the Internet of Things grows:
- The IoT allows employers to track employee behaviour, but is it ethical to do so?
- Can a worker be punished because of data collected from an IoT object?
- Must an employer inform his workforce about sensors tracking their behavior?
The age of the Internet of Things is upon us all. Will your company be swept into the next phase or drive it forward? Is your cybersecurity already failing? Could your business already benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things? Check out the AIG White Paper “The Internet of Things: Evolution or Revolution?” here, and join the conversation with #InnovativeTech.
This article is the product of a partnership between GeekDad and member companies of American International Group, Inc. Although this post is sponsored, the information and opinions expressed in the article constitute only my own beliefs.