FitBits, Philips Hue light bulbs and Google driverless cars.
These are examples of Internet of Things (IOT). These are things that are connected to the Internet, can be recognised by other devices, can collect data and upload them on to the online database.
For instance, FitBit tracks and collects data, such as the number of steps walked, calories burned and amount of food consumed. The data collected can be synced to the user’s smartphone or tablet, allowing the user to keep track of his/her activities and the amount of food consumed.
Well, FitBits are not supposed to be used in this way…
Philips Hue light bulbs are smart light bulbs that users can control from anywhere using their smartphones. Users can control the brightness of their lights without having to get up from their couch to do so as they can do it with a touch on their smartphones. In addition, users can also switch on the lights through their smartphones to make it seem like they are at home when they are not. This helps in keeping their homes safe and potentially avoid from getting robbed.
Besides these objects, IOT has other applications in other industries, such as agriculture and retail. For instance, Amazon Go is a supermarket that has no cashiers.
Not only is it convenient, saves time from queuing at the check out, but also saves operation costs for Amazon.
IOT has its advantages, such as the ability to track one’s fitness, keeping your home safely when you’re out of town and saving time spent on queuing at the grocery store.
However, there are also disadvantages of IOT. These smart techs make us become more reliant on them. For instance, we are becoming more reliant on our smartphones to do a lot of things, including keeping track of our agenda.
With the implementation of IOT to manage inventory and self check-out counters in the retail industry, people who used to work in these areas will also lose their jobs.
In addition, privacy might be compromised as people’s data are increasingly uploaded on to the Internet. We are losing control of our data and how they should be used.
Last but not least, connecting things to the Internet makes us more susceptible to hacking. For instance, our smartphones collect our personal information and since they are connected to the Internet, our data become more susceptible to getting leaked out through hacking.
The video below explains clearly why making things smart may not be a very smart thing to do after all.
Ultimately, I feel that we should not connect every little thing (such as a hairbrush) to the Internet. Not every gadget makes our lives better when it is connected to the Internet.