The Internet of Things

Apr 25, 2016

The most recent phrase "The Internet of Things" has been coined as a phrase to describe where household appliances are wirelessly connected to the internet to interact with your own smart phones and other appliances. Such appliances could include a baby monitor, a kettle or even a TV and your heating system. This means tasks such as:

  • Turning off your heating remotely, or putting it on before you get home
  • Measuring your own blood sugar levels to be delivered remotely to your doctor if you are diabetic; or even 
  • Your fridge ordering you more milk when you run out. 

The list is endless. “The Internet of Things” allows them to intelligently interact with you and presumably make your life easier. The term “Internet of Things” has been increasingly searched on the internet and the awareness of it is slowly growing as people want to understand its implications and its workings. 

The main concerns of “the Internet of Things” centre around security and data protection. The smart meter that you may be using to measure your household energy use actually collects a lot of data from you, including when you are home, what you are using when you are home and when exactly. On the plus side however, having a smart fridge that knows when you are low on milk, and then orders you some more milk, could be a necessary convenience. 

However, to others, it may be worrying that too much of their information is being shared around and there is a loss of control on their own personal data. Critics indicate that “the Internet of Things” is relatively safe at the moment, but as with all new technologies, where there is personal data being stored hackers in the future are likely to start to look for ways to attack - especially if there are financial gains to be made. 

The increasing rise of hacking and security threats to general computer systems will undoubtedly need to addressed in the future and developed over time, to ensure that personal data is not lost, stolen and manipulated in a cyber-attack. Companies will therefore need to ensure that they pay close attention, particularly as the use of wireless products increases, to the data protection legislation to ensure they are handling data correctly, as well as privacy considerations - a Big Brother state tracking your uses, habits and health through your appliances could be a real deal breaker for users of such technologies.  

A fine balance will clearly need to be found in the future, but it seems the “Internet of Things” is very tangible and here to stay, and many would agree it’s an exciting next generation development of technology.

Nicola Lucas

About the author

Nicola Lucas

Nicola is a member of our Business Law Team handling all the commercial requirements of her clients such as shareholder agreements and negotiating on commercial ...

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