Living in a Connected World

M2M Communication SmallA chief concern about living in a world of ubiquitous connectivity is managing the balancing act of convenience versus privacy. Driving our smart car to our smart home to watch our smart TV while the temperature is controlled by our smart thermostat and our smart LED light bulbs set the perfect level (all controlled by our smart phone) involves massive amounts of digital communication.

In the world of the internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology millions of “conversations” are happening all around us, as our devices, homes, cars and appliances send and receive information, and in many cases decisions are then made without any human intervention. The simplest example has been around for well over a hundred years. We set our thermostat at a desired temperature and, when that threshold is reached, the thermostat automatically calls for cooling or heating, without the need for any further input from us.

But of course today, in a connected world, our smart, connected thermostat can actually learn from our patterns of behavior, and program itself, always with a goal of meeting our comfort expectations, but also maximizing efficiency and energy savings. Or of course if you will be arriving home early, you can always change the temperature remotely from your smart phone, which can also trigger your garage door, turn on the lights and music – maybe have your coffee waiting. Run out of laundry detergent? Just push the Amazon Dash button, and it’ll be there in no time. Running low on milk? No problem – your smart refrigerator already took care of it.

Just think of the “big data” created from these millions of interactions. Who can access it? Did you read each Privacy Policy before you clicked “I Agree”? Do you appreciate the discount coupon you received for Tide? Did RetailMeNot show you the product and service offers you like based on your proximity to the mall? When you’re in a retail store, does the pop-up you receive because you approached an iBeacon provide something you are really interested in?

So many questions, and we’re just getting started. Something to think about…

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