IoT Lightbulb

For the first 25 years we’ve known about the Internet, it’s been an “Internet of Screens”, powered by an “Internet of Servers”. We’ve connected to the Internet via desktop computers, laptop computers, mobile phones and more recently TVs, watches, and health monitors.

What’s different about the Internet of Things – a.k.a IoT – is that IoT is almost exclusively a network of devices that don’t require human intervention to run and share data.

There have been some ugly early attempts at IoT, including toys that were sharing messages across International borders and were soon compromised by criminals, and thousands if not millions of devices that were left with publicly-known default passwords that were then hacked and became part of the Mirai botnet attack in 2016.

Comparing contemptibly-amateur attempts at IoT in toys to the IoT we’re looking to in the big picture of our future seems like warning off people from getting on cruise ships because your tinny tipped over.

In the first generation of IoT, or perhaps pre-1st generation, the current paradigm is for connected devices to speak directly to a cloud service for both data storage and analysis/action.

There will be millions of problems needing IoT solutions (known as “use cases”) to be developed for both Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). While the cloud remains critical to provide the storage and sharing/collaboration of the Internet, the compute power and security will happen inside a local network, just as most business happens now in our Internet of Screens.

Early implementations of IoT are typically proprietary and centralised, typical of budding technologies. Data progresses directly from IoT gateways to the cloud for compute, processing and storage services.

In future generations of IoT, it’s expected that much of the computational work and processing will move back inside the LAN, where data will be parsed and secured by local servers and devices and then forwarded on to a cloud service for storage, where it can be integrated, analysed and actioned.

Processing and or filtering the data inside the LAN before being passed on to the Cloud reduces the volume of data broadcasts, and provides gateway filtering and obfuscation to improve security and privacy.

The use of personal computers as an “everything” tool is likely to continue deceleration, but the need for local networking and compute will remain as the Internet of Things matures and reaches out across all horizontals.

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