Think about all the devices you use every day. Fitness trackers, TVs that pull up any show’s episodes on demand, and smart locks that grant entry using separate codes. Everything people use at home and work is becoming more connected. It’s not only a phone, tablet, or laptop that gets you online anymore. Plus, the devices you rely on don’t just connect to your internet service provider’s network; they sync with each other.
The rise of smart devices and new technology developments are reshaping people’s expectations and norms. They expect to remotely manage their homes by receiving alerts from cameras and thermostats. With a simple voice command, individuals can pull up directions, order dinner, or find the answer to a burning question. As increased connectivity changes society’s behaviors and norms, it’s also impacting the internet. This article discusses how.
Standard Network Services Are Becoming More Sophisticated
Home internet service used to involve signing up for an account and installing software on your computer. You used your existing phone line and desktop’s built-in modem to connect. That eventually changed to using an ISP’s modem or compatible router. However, there wasn’t much else to it. Your devices were connected to the modem using a network name and password.
While that’s still true, subscribers now have access to a broader range of service options and controls. They can troubleshoot and reset their modems, set parental controls, and change or update their network names and passwords. They can also turn on advanced security options, monitor data usage and connected devices, and enable hotspots for guests.
As home networks connect more smart devices, smart home solutions are becoming standard. Users are demanding more control over their home networks with better monitoring and security tools. People also want more flexibility so they can reap all the benefits of the smart home experience.
Service providers are meeting that demand and recognizing that internet service is no longer a simple connection. It’s a complex suite of network solutions that an increasingly tech-savvy public can handle. Adding to the complexity of those solutions is the shift to virtual and cloud-based infrastructure.
Increased Data Calls for Additional Capacity
More devices mean more data. That fitness tracker you wear every day records your steps, heart rate, and body temperature. However, that information gets synced to an app on your smartphone. A phone might store your data in the app, but that information is also sent to the application’s developer. Your account and all its data are stored and ready for use somewhere in the cloud.
As the Internet of Things becomes more widespread and IoT devices increase, so does the data people exchange and access. IoT devices are predicted to produce 79.4 zettabytes of data by 2025. These devices will significantly increase the internet’s volume of data. Current predictions expect that volume to grow from 4.4 ZB to 175 ZB by 2025.
The more data that’s flowing through the information superhighway, the more it needs to expand in capacity or bandwidth. That’s why solutions like fiber internet and 5G infrastructure are on the rise. Homes and businesses need faster speeds and increased bandwidth to keep up with the demands additional devices create. The need to upgrade and expand the internet’s infrastructure is like that of a growing city. More traffic means it’s time to build additional lanes and roads.
Enhanced Security Is a Must
Constant online connectivity might offer many conveniences and make it easier to get things done. However, connecting more devices and exchanging and storing a lot of data can put homes and businesses at risk. Before, you only had to worry about whether someone nearby could hack into your Wi-Fi modem. Now it’s more than that. Every IoT device is a potential point of entry and contains sensitive data that could be exposed or misused.
CompTIA outlines several security threats that can come from IoT devices. Network service disruptions, data theft, and service and data manipulation make up most of them. All it takes to shut down essential services like electricity is for someone to gain control of an IoT device. Cyberwars may increase as utilities and vital industries, such as agriculture, become more connected through the Internet of Things.
As a result, the need for enhanced security features and monitoring will only go up. Ironically, technology may have to monitor itself as humans rely more on detection and threat intelligence systems. More layers of verification and authentication are already being seen on smart devices and internet-based services.
However, robust security standards for IoT devices will likely continue to evolve. Public and private organizations, as well as individuals, will need to be less casual about online connectivity. They’ll need to think through ways to protect their data and what devices they should connect. Mapping out recovery plans for cyberattacks and data breaches will become an additional priority for connected organizations and individuals.
A Hyperconnected Society
The rise in IoT devices isn’t going away. Plans are already in place for smart cities, increased automation, and appliances that operate without human intervention. What this means for society is a hyperconnectivity that will offer added conveniences and increased efficiency — and heightened risk.
The impacts the Internet of Things will have on the infrastructure that makes it all possible aren’t fully realized yet. Clues, such as enhanced home networks and security services, are emerging. As the adoption of smart devices continues to go up, the internet’s power and influence will only expand.