How connected is too connected?

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!

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Source: LinkedIn

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?

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2 thoughts on “How connected is too connected?

  1. This is a great blog and you pose some very interesting thoughts! I too blogged about the risks of technology and it seems that society are almost blind about the risks until something actually happens to them!

    That rifle stuff is so scary!! The consequences of that can be so dangerous especially in countries where guns are so easily accessible! And the baby monitor scare through mixed wifi signals or being on similar frequencies is another worrying sign that technology is becoming too connected and too easy to hack!

    The fact that the collection of data and the IoT can identify key value areas for consumers is great for marketers, business and consumers, the innovation and products that could be offered in the future and even now are astounding and it just seems to be getting better and better but, to answer your question, I do believe that we are getting too connected. Where has that sense of privacy gone? There is no sweeping it under the mat or hiding behind closed door anymore, a simple hack into a sensor, phone mics and laptop cameras will be able to exploit anyone and everything. Whilst this may be scary and daunting, it seems to be the way the world is heading down and I feel like people need to start thinking very seriously about how much technology they connect and use in their lives.

    For example, Google and their self drive cars could very soon rule the roads, and this can help navigate congestion, accidents and problem road areas as well as reduce the road toll and thus reduce the burden on hospital and emergency services. However, what if all the cars can be hacked at one time in peak hour traffic and literally cause havoc on the road? What if technology gets too smart for us?

    I think the risks are so high but we may just have to keep finding ways to deal with them as the world is forever becoming more connected.

    Kelly 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Thanks for your comment! As you said, the Internet Of Things has some clear benefits but some huge downfalls. That was a really interesting point that you mentioned about laptop and phone cameras, this poses an even great threat on privacy as our devices are so personal to us! Although automation and IoT is the way of the future, its pretty scary that being more connected can leave you more vulnerable to cyber attacks and hacking. However, from a marketing perspective it is a great way to gather information on customers and improve brand and customer value. There is definitely a difficult trade off between the pros and cons.

      Have a great day,
      Emma

      Like

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