Newswise — Internet of Things (IoT) devices will continue their exponential growth into 2018. The growth will occur in multiple directions, including special-purpose connected devices, wearable devices, and smart clothing, to name a few. IHS[1] predicts that the number of connected devices will grow to $30.7 billion in 2020. General Electric[2] forecasts that IoT will add $10 to $15 trillion to worldwide GDP growth by 2030.

According to Babak D. Beheshti, Ph.D., associate dean and professor, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, this tremendous growth has now moved IoT beyond the pilot phase. In fact, he notes, it has “entered a stage where the focus on the number and diversity of connected devices has shifted towards a more universal and global view of products and services that incorporate IoT as an integral part of the value-add they provide to consumers.” Given this growth, especially following the number of IoT-enabled devices given as holiday gifts, Beheshti offers the following perspective:

Businesses Collect More Data … 

The mounting adoption of devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, along with a growing inter-operability of various IoT devices with these intelligent agents, will provide an opportunity for businesses to collect data to market more effectively. The collected data will enable businesses to focus their products and services much more effectively to their target consumers through the following three steps:

  1. Collect data through IoT devices
  2. Aggregate, store and analyze the data (Big Data)
  3. Use big data analytics and machine learning algorithms to extract “deployable” information

While Consumer Face Unprecedented Security Risk 

What does this mean to the consumer? Along with enormous gains in options and conveniences, consumers also open themselves up to the risk of loss of privacy, and potentially unauthorized access to personal information. Companies using Big Data, Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence will have access to significant behavioral and financial attributes of individual consumers, including shopping habits and personal information. This abundance of data stored in the current, inherently unsecure networks poses a security risk unprecedented to anything we may have seen in the past.

Evans Data indicates that 92% of IoT developers consider security will continue to be an issue in the future.[3] In fact, security will be the major challenge for consideration by manufacturers and consumers alike. Manufacturers must implement security measures to prevent data breaches, according to Beheshti. “Consumers will have to secure their mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.), as well as home video monitors, wearables, vehicles with Wi-Fi, smart door locks, and refrigerators and washing machines,” he says.

No Place to Hide?

Cyber-criminals can attack devices in your home and car to access information, disabling them to breach your perimeter. What does this mean to the consumer? “A continued level of vigilance in securing any connected device through practices such as regularly changing passwords, enabling encryption, and regular firmware updates should become the norm in our daily lives,” Beheshti cautions.

Media Contact

Beheshti is available for interview or comment on IoT trends in 2018, including security challenges and steps consumers can take to protect themselves. Please contact Elizabeth Sullivan, Media Relations Director, for further information.