As the march to connect each and every noun on this planet continues with a blistering pace, the various ways, contraptions and sensors used to collect data is greatly expanding. What once was a (relatively) small collection of fitness trackers, smartwatches, thermostats, automobiles and surveillance cameras has grown into a an industry where shirts, shoes, sleeping bags and even liquor bottles want to gather your info. And most of these devices monitor silently without you even knowing. According to Ryan Matthew Pierson over at Readwrite.com, ‘The strength of IoT is in its ability to be invisible to the user.’
In addition, the mad dash to simply insert a chip, beacon and software into everyday objects is slowly graduating to era where user experience, privacy and security are becoming critically important for mass adoption. In 2014 Gartner released a report saying the typical family home could have as many as 500 smart devices by 2022. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) notes that 20% of US households now own an activity tracking wearable device, two-times the households that owned one last year. And Nielsen reported that smartphone penetration has reached 82% in the U.S.
Interacting and engaging with the customer in real time is a desire of many organizations.
From media and entertainment, to appliances, to transport technologies, to security and environmental controls, along with healthcare and fitness equipment almost every ‘thing’ around us will track something. Or as Dr. Nick Riviera sings, ‘The knee bone's connected to the something. The something's connected to the red thing. The red thing's connected to my wrist watch... Uh oh.’
With the IoT growth comes threats, along with resources to reduce the risks. In Gartner’s latest forecast, IoT security spending is set to nearly double between 2014 and 2018, growing from about $232 million to almost $550 million. Nearly $350 million will go into securing IoT this year alone. They also predict that there will be 6.4 billion connected devices in use worldwide this year, up 30% from 2015.
The security investment is good news since according to Spiceworks and Cox Business, the flood of IT devices entering the market does create security and privacy issues in the workplace. 84% of their survey-takers named the growing number of entry points into the network as a major concern. Number two on the list, at 70% of respondents, was insufficient security measures on the part of IoT manufacturers.
But soon we might be able to solve some of the challenges with our Brain.
There are some very smart research brains out there that have come up with a way to identify you by your brain waves with 100% accuracy. This is your Brainprint. A team of researchers at Binghamton University, recorded the brain activity of 50 people wearing an electroencephalogram headset while they looked at a series of 500 images. The pictures were designed specifically to elicit unique responses from person to person. Images included things like pizza, a boat, certain words, celebrities and so forth. They found that participants' brains reacted differently to each image, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer's ‘brainprint’ with 100% accuracy.
According to researchers, brain biometrics are appealing because they are cancellable and cannot be stolen by malicious means like a fingerprint or retina scan. The results indicate that brainwaves could be used by security systems to verify a person's identity. This could be key since our personal data and pattern of life seems to be more valuable now than a silly, worthless credit card number.