The Internet of Things describes a network of connected devices that collect and exchange data to benefit the user experience. This all sounds really high tech and futuristic, but this is happening right now! Most of us have smartphones and wearable technology such as FitBits and Apple Watches, we are all very much a part of this collection of data. Obviously there are some really clear benefits to the Internet of Things such as improved convenience as a result of home automation, health benefits from the FitBit and overall increased productivity due to smartphones (PEW Research). This is a great way for marketers to gather accurate and real time information, but one question still stands… how connected is TOO connected?
I stumbled across this video on Facebook a while ago which addresses the issue of hackers and security. A group of hackers managed to compromise a gun and control it remotely, this is pretty scary stuff considering how common guns are in the US. The wifi connectivity leaves a massive vulnerability for hackers to exploit. In the video below, the hackers are only using the technology to disable the rifle or to change the target, but if they can do that there is nothing stopping them from remotely launching the rifle and causing all types of issues.
Even devices as innocent as baby monitors are at risk. Hackers are once again able to breach the security of these wifi connected baby monitors to have access to the video and audio. This video would definitely make parents think twice before purchasing wifi baby monitors.
It’s not just wifi guns and baby monitors that are at risk of hacking, hackers can compromise houses with home automation capabilities, smart TV’s, smart cars and the scariest of them all…. toilets. Satis toilets have been hacked in the past, allowing hackers to control flushing, opening and closing the lid, bidet features and air drying. Now that’s scary!
On the other hand, the Internet of Things streamlines processes and makes connecting and using technology integrate more seamlessly into our daily lives. An example of this is how cars are now commonly equipped with technology to allow communication even when driving. The network that all these connected devices have created is really useful for digital marketers as it allows real time data collection, personalised marketing and faster customer service. Data collection is generally time consuming and expensive, but marketers can collect real time data from devices which can provide invaluable insights into usage (Benady). Marketers can also gather a consumers’ personal information and gather a better understanding of their demographics. In addition, customer service can be sped up dramatically, with live troubleshooting as the data is all easily accessible. And who wouldn’t want better customer service when things break?
Although the internet of things allows workflows to be synchronised and technology to make life easier, there are some significant security concerns and vulnerabilities that can be exploited. For marketers the Internet of Things can lead to huge opportunities for development and creation of value, but as consumers a lack of security is pretty concerning and leaves consumers with the question, how connected is too connected?