IoTAP – Internet of Things AND People
This writing does not discuss the topic of Singularity. Singularity is for Ray Kurzweil and those that follow him for that purpose.
This writing is about the IoTAP – IoThings AND People, where people will still have conscious control over their thoughts, not thoughts relegated to computer processing (search, computation, recall, storage, etc.).
A common enough definition for IoT, derived from multiple articles and discussions:
The communications (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular & NFC) to and from devices across the ‘Net, devices and structures such as:
- Cell phones, radios & other devices, automotive sensors, RFID & RFID tracking, artificial implants imbued with Wi-Fi technology, robotics (in factories, in hospitals & later on, in homes), etc…
- Smart cities, cars, and houses
- Sensors for office building temperature conditions as well as the state of airborne germs/pathogens (think data collection & analysis)
- Robotics (& sensors) in Factories, hospitals and agricultural equipment
- Sensors in Roads and Freeways for safety – i.e. surface conditions, traffic congestion – again, data collection & analysis
Another IoT definition, from Mohit Agrawalat at Telecom Circle (1):
“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. In simple words, everything is connected over IP and would interact would each other based on pre-defined logic, e.g. refrigerator can order milk by itself when it is about to get over [old or spoiled] based on past consumption trends.”
In using the multiple devices (and many more not listed here), the connectivity infrastructure is going to have to be enhanced. The infrastructure will have to be enhanced not just by the TelCos (longhaul backbones and across the city to your door) but by vendors like AT&T, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent in supplying customers with better routers, switches, cellular and LTE (wireless) base stations – Femtocells and Microcells for improved signal strength, less congestion, latency and speed.
But speed by itself is no longer good enough; the suppliers of bandwidth have to now be concerned with Quality of Experience (QoE) for all users (offices, homes, utilities, etc.) in having fewer dropped calls and connections.
As many people currently know, the IoT is growing at a phenomenal rate with no end in sight. Gartner stated (2): “the Internet of Things Installed Base Will Grow to 26 Billion Units By 2020.” In that article, they state that the growth of connected devices (smartphones, tablets & PCs) will only reach about 7.3 Bn units.
Using another even larger figure is ABI Research (3), where they state the number will be more than 30 Bn devices connected to the IoT.
An even more massive number of connected devices, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) (4) – “IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion “things” globally by the end of 2020. This will include 30.1 billion installed “connected (autonomous) things” in 2020. This is largely driven by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data – across both consumer and enterprise applications – by the end of the forecast period.”
Either way, the number of devices connected to the IoT is going to be massive and who knows where it will stop… From the list of devices mentioned previously, you can see there are a lot of devices connecting to the ‘Net.
But in order for us to have a great IoT, suppliers, vendors and regulatory agencies need to continue working on hammering out the standards that will be necessary for the interconnectedness of all things internet and communication related.
Now we get to IoTAP, the interconnectedness of everything ‘Net related AND people.
You already know about the new novel and helpful IoT’s coming on line or already in use, such as your:
- Fridge talking to the ‘Net (you and the store for new supplies)
- Connected HVAC so you can change the settings or let the ‘smart’ HVAC do it on its own…
- Health care – doctors and nurses performing remote medical screening and checkups
- Banking services and
- Cloud services
What some people may not have realized or thought about is the connectivity of people to and from the ‘Net…
The number of people with embedded, implanted devices is going to skyrocket. Some people will have embedded/implanted devices for medical reasons but some others are going to do so for purely personal reasons, such as enhancing their hearing – before they need hearing aids. Following are several settings of connected people.
Google Glass or something else…?
In five years, Glass may well be passé; the future is likely to be contact lenses instead of the actual physical Glass, or even implantable contact lenses (ICL). Last year, I had previously been reading up on and researching ICL for a cybersecurity risks paper I wrote recently. What I found was that work on contact lenses and ICL has been going on for some years now, while not explicitly for social networking or searching the web but you can extrapolate on the possibilities.
The University of Washington (one of my alma maters) has been working on computers on contact lenses (5) for some years now, as has Samsung, a group out of Switzerland and even Google (6).
Then there is ICL and/or IOL (7) – implanted into the eye (behind the cornea and removable), which has been on the market since ~2000 around the world but only recently in the U.S. Imagine researchers embedding computer components into the ICL / IOL…
Now imagine either of the two scenarios with a built in, miniaturized computer (Linux, Microsoft, Android, etc…) with built-in Wi-Fi and you have yourself online (without Google Glass) to do research.
That enhanced listening capability I mentioned earlier, well, there are newer advanced hearing aids (8) developed by Soundhawk’s CEO Rodney Perkins, which appear to be leaps ahead of most of their competitors.
In several years, these could go beyond people who need them to hear better, they could be used as part of a better web experience. These Soundhawk hearing aids are adjustable enough to drop out extraneous noise, allowing only what the wearer wants to focus on, via Bluetooth.
Think about the copycats who will develop equivalent or superior hearing components, not just for the hearing impaired but everyone else who might want better hearing (after many ear blowing concerts…) – not just those people with criminal intent or malice.
Then imagine the enhanced hearing piece with built-in Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth) and with the capacity to connect to a smart phone and/or ‘Net AND smaller than any current Bluetooth / Wi-Fi device, using advanced bone conduction to listen and speak over. No one, due to their lack of hearing, would feel self-conscious because of the old-style conspicuous hearing aids.
It would be mind-boggling if that tiny device was able to be implanted into the person AND have smart phone capabilities as well. The implanted/embedded contact lenses would act as the display screen…
Artificial Body Parts & Medical Conditions
Think about artificial body parts, embedded with computer circuitry, to connect to the ‘Net wirelessly. Body parts could have sensors (or micro-computers) embedded. Those parts (artificial or transplanted) could be wirelessly connected to the ‘Net to report the current state of that part or if a failure is imminent and alerts that person and their doctor, body parts such as a:
- Heart or
- Kidney or liver or lungs
What about folks with MS or Epilepsy or another ailment that requires constant vigilance, they could have wireless and computerized sensors embedded to either, a) automatically inject some kind of medication or b) alert the doctor/hospital of a problem occurring before it is too late. Yes, the concern for rejection by the body would have to be worked out.
This is nothing new. One of the early first reporting of an RFID chip being placed into a human was a Mexican law enforcement agency (9). The chip allows the Mexican Attorney General and 162 other employees to securely enter a ‘new’ anti-crime information center. They were not the first to have RFID chips implanted nor will they be the last.
Recently, June 2014, even Morgan Freeman brought up RFID chips being used in humans on his Wormhole show.
And likely, I’m very sure, you’ve also heard about RFID chips being put in pets in case they wound being lost…
So it appears that RFID chips will continue to thrive and grow. These chips will allow various information (medical, financial, security codes) to be stored in the chips enhancing the user (and hospitals and computers) to gain the useful benefits of accessing buildings, offices, computers as well as being admitted to hospitals and dental offices without filling multiple forms again and again and again…
Having said that, having a security token (or biometric marker) as a secondary authentication security measure would not hurt…
But, there are so many benefits now (as some have already noted – tracking cargo containers, cattle or even fish) and in the future (you name it) that will allow that growth of RFID chip embedding.
Here too, for there to be a great IoTAP experience, suppliers, vendors and regulatory agencies need to step up their game and continue working on hammering out standards necessary for the interconnectedness of all – especially because of the People aspect of the IoTAP.
And just as well as social dynamics, there are possible malicious applications to all the above… It goes without saying, if there some good stemming from advancements, there is the flip side – the criminal or illicit mindset. These are people, companies or nation states bent on obtaining something from someone else at minimum cost (hopefully) but at a significant risk.
The theft of intellectual property, personal and/or medical identity theft and finances over the IoTAP is a massive risk and we will have to ensure better safeguards are in place to aid in thwarting unauthorized access and activities.
Because of criminal, malicious, espionage efforts that would, not might, ensue from some miscreant, the security component of any computerized implant has to be exceedingly solid – more solid than what has occurred in the past.
Security has got to be the number one item at the very beginning of the devices’ creation. Okay, well maybe item number two that is, after the actual functionality of what the device was made for. But seriously, security has to be addressed in any implantable/embedded device and locked down as rock solid as possible – and not addressed as item number three or number seven or seventeen as time allows.
We do not want someone else taking over an embedded device and causing it to fail and harming the person it is in. And we also do not want it to go awry by someone hacking in to the vision or listening component either (like turning on a person’s smartphone microphone without the owner being aware it is on).
Faster (Better) Internet Backbone
To accommodate the IoTAP, we will need to enhance the infrastructure, for better bandwidth and better QoE or Quality of Service (QoS). These two metrics boil down to the same thing, meaning, the customer has to have a better online experience – work, games, social interactions and so on.
Options for the near future
Flexigrid. This is one item I had not heard about until I read from one guy’s posting earlier this year of a link at one web site, which in turn led me to Gizmodo’s article (10) for more info: “The Fastest Real-World Internet Is 1000x Quicker than Google Fiber.”
UK researchers (BT along with French Alcatel-Lucent) have achieved a network speed of 1.4 TERABITS per second – with commercial grade hardware using a new protocol called Flexigrid. They overlaid seven channels of data in one fiber optic cable with each layer moving 200 Gbps (bits/sec) to achieve that 1.4 Tbps – they called the resulting combination, an “Alien Super Channel”…
From Gizmodo’s article: How fast is 1.4 Tbps? Fast enough to stream any one of the following in one second:
- 64 hours of HD Netflix
- 38 hours in 3D or 4K
- 36,409 songs from Spotify
Or, how about downloading 44 films in a second, in The Independent article (11): “‘Fastest ever’ commercial internet speeds in London: Download 44 films in a second.”
If we can even realistically obtain half of that monstrous speed in the U.S., it will help tremendously with the congestion and QoE problems we have throughout the country – in that people will have their data and will be off the ‘Net quicker, something along those lines.
Some of us cannot wait for this tech to be deployed and be put into real use. But, the telco’s are likely to charge an arm and a leg for this new Alien Super Channel as it is called…
Or, how about 100 Gbps Wi-Fi, eh…? That would be something as well. Checkout the article at Gizmodo, The World’s Fastest Wi-Fi Makes Google Fiber Look Like Dial-Up (12). Read the more serious KIT (one of the German teams) article as well (13).
The downside of this 1.4 Tbps speed – someone will have to foot the bills for outfitting the equipment all along the ‘Net to handle that kind of speed. Switches, routers, firewalls, servers, all communication equipment will have to be upgraded, either through firmware or hardware replacement.
The IoT is already here and well entrenched.
The IoTAP is here to grow, there is no turning back. We, physically (or at least internally and wirelessly) will be connected to the ‘Net.
The IoTAP will allow for ease of access, ease of use and other accommodations. Life can and should become easier for everyone in multiple venues. Those venues could range from:
- Wait staff taking your order via that premises’ private (or public) Cloud,
- Being admitted to any number of institutions (for health or entertainment) or,
- Simply enjoying life wherever you may be, via the ‘Net / Cloud employing your bodies accoutrements, aka – additive/embedded enhancements.
Remember, security will still always be paramount at all times. It is up to the numerous current and future vendors to bake in security (authentication, access and use) at every stage – from device manufacture to consumers’ use to end of device. It has to be in order for everyone to have a safer and beneficial use of being part of the IoTAP.
Remember – at all times…
BPS – Bits per second
NFC – Near Field Communication (no cable needed)
RFID – Radio Frequency Identification (communication via radio frequencies)
TelCo– Telephone Company
V2V – Vehicle to Vehicle (communication alerts, notifications, warnings)
1 – “What is Internet of Things?” Mohit Agrawal, http://www.telecomcircle.com/2014/05/what-is-internet-of-things/, May 26, 2014
2 – “Gartner Says the Internet of Things Installed Base Will Grow to 26 Billion Units By 2020,” http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2636073, Dec 12, 2013
3 – “More Than 30 Billion Devices Will Wirelessly Connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020,” https://www.abiresearch.com/press/more-than-30-billion-devices-will-wirelessly-conne, May 9, 2013
4 – “Soundhawk’s Rodney Perkins has an ear for hearing aids,” http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Soundhawk-s-Rodney-Perkins-has-an-ear-for-hearing-5105589.php, Dec 31, 2013
5 – “The Internet of Things Is Poised to Change Everything, Says IDC,” http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131003005687/en/Internet-Poised-Change-IDC#.U5ipNXpOXoo, Oct, 3 2013
8 – What is Visian ICL? http://visianinfo.com/ & Verisyse lens http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/eye-institute/lasik/procedures/verisyse.cfm – ICL vs IOL (intraocular lenses)
9 – “RFID Chips Implanted In Mexican Law-Enforcement Workers,”www.informationweek.com/rfid-chips-implanted-in-mexican-law-enforcement-workers/d/d-id/1026195? , Jul 15, 2004
10 – “The Fastest Real-World Internet Is 1000x Quicker than Google Fiber.” http://gizmodo.com/the-fastest-real-world-internet-is-1000x-quicker-than-g-1506564949, Jan 22, 2014
11 – “’Fastest ever’ commercial internet speeds in London: Download 44 films in a second,” http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/fastest-ever-commercial-internet-speeds-in-london-download-44-films-in-a-second-9077061.html, Jan 22, 2014
12 – “The World’s Fastest Wi-Fi Makes Google Fiber Look Like Dial-Up,” http://gizmodo.com/the-worlds-fastest-wi-fi-makes-google-fiber-look-like-1444857507, Oct 14, 2013
13 – “World Record: Wireless Data Transmission at 100 Gbit/s,” http://www.kit.edu/visit/pi_2013_14082.php, Oct 14, 2013