Sat. Jan 21st, 2023

Emerging technologies

Internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that was coined to provide a category for the myriad of new internet-enabled products but have come to market in the last few years.

For example, an internet-enabled fridge which incorporates a barcode scanner: these allow the user to scan items as they are used, allowing the fridge to automatically place orders to replace the items once they have run out.

It is currently common to find TVs, lights, domestic appliances, security cameras, childrens’ toys and much more all connected to the internet.

What is the IoT?

Increasing integration and complexity of systems

As covered above, one example of an IoT device is a smart-fridge. In their first incarnations, they were little more than ways to sell gimmicks (e.g. a screen built in to the door that could fetch recipes).

As technology has advanced, becoming more powerful and with a lower cost of entry, these same devices can now integrate with other systems: for example, being able to re-order groceries on your behalf once you run out. Other developments to the humble fridge include models featuring internal cameras, so that you can view what’s in your fridge while out at the shops, in case you need to check whether you have something already or not.

What are the issues that come along with increasing integration and complexity?

Increasing complexity always increases the likelihood of something not working as expect, if only because the more complex a system becomes, the more difficult it becomes to test fully, because the number of edge cases increases.

In terms of increased integration with other services, the number of potential failure points increases: many services now use Facebook as a log-in verification system. When Facebook has technical issues, it actually affects users of any other system that also relies on Facebook’s login verification.

More about increasing complexity and integration