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The Internet Of Things

26 June 2014 2:44:53 PM AEST

IF ‘WEARABLE TECH’ is the buzzphrase on the streets, at home all attention is focused on the ‘Internet of Things’, meaning the ongoing development of ever more household appliances and devices which can communicate with the internet, and with each other. 

Network security company Fortinet recently conducted a survey of homeowners in 11 countries, including Australia, asking questions relating to the Internet of Things as it pertains to the connected home.

Although homeowners reported a willingness to pay more to enable a connected home, when asked what factors impact their buying decisions of connected home devices, the number one answer (consistent in all countries) was price, followed by features and functionality and then manufacturer brand. Privacy, trust and data breaches proved a key concern (as you might expect from a survey conducted by a security company), with 69 percent of respondents globally saying that they were either “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about exposure of sensitive, personal information.

But the naivety of some responses may surprise the experienced installers whose services are available through Entertaining Environments. For example, we are informed that “In Australia, 53 percent of homeowners said that the connected home is extremely likely to happen in the next five years...” — yet qualified integrators are today already able to deliver smart home solutions of the spectacular quality featured in the ‘Inspire Me’ section of EE’s website, www.e-e.com.au.

COUNTING CONNECTIONS
There is, however, no doubting the trend. Far more things than people are connected to the internet — a line that was crossed in 2008. By 2010 there were 12.5 billion devices connected to the internet, and Cisco predicts that some 25 billion devices will be connected by next year, and 50 billion by 2020. Early worries that the IPv4 protocol for internet addresses would not be able to handle such numbers have been assuaged by IPv6, which provides around 100 possible internet addresses for every atom on earth (the actual number of available IPv6 addresses is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456).

DATA MINING
While Apple, Google and others are eyeing up the domestic home market for this Internet of Things, it may be industrial applications which lead the way and reap the early benefits. CISCO CEO John Chambers recently told The Australian that mining, oil and gas would be top of his list for connecting the data from widespread and diverse internet-connected sensors, while connected health care, education and cities could revolutionise the way we deal with services, traffic and more.

“We want everything to get connected, and we want to do it in an open fashion,” he told The Australian.