The purpose of this research paper is to provide the reader with an understanding of the digital world around them in the creation of the Internet of Everything. Each and every person who has any form of a digital footprint on the internet is connected and is having data collected on them constantly. Currently the Internet of Things provides people with a network of physical objects that can be accessed through the internet. Objects like a smartphone, computer, refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher, door locks, alarm systems and even cars have internet connections that provide data and feedback to the user. But what if the human could provide data that the physical objects could use to become more efficient, provide better services and provide businesses with the data needed to provide and overall better product? This is where the Internet of Things transforms into the Internet of Everything. This paper will cover a brief history on the internet, give an understanding of the IoT, show the transition to IoE and show the composition IoE through the four pillars of IoE. The internet has ever changed the life of humans everywhere and as more and more humans become a part of it is only a matter of time to see where in the future this technology going to take mankind.
The Internet of Everything
In today’s fast paced world, it is hard to find something that doesn’t directly relate to the internet. The internet is all around us, it’s in homes, cars, phones, appliances and in just about every business you can find out there. There are companies that rely solely on the internet for business and sales. The internet keeps families connected, business growing and has connected the world. In 1900, a piece of mail could take weeks by stage, to months to deliver a piece of mail being transported from Missouri to California (Longfellow, 2017). As inventions such as the automobile, train and airplanes came along this time improved greatly, but it wasn’t until the internet was released to the public that mail could then be delivered instantaneously. There was no more waiting, no more finding paper, pen, envelope and a stamp to communicate with someone. Now one could open up their web browser, type a message and send it electronically and the message would be received instantly on the other side. After e-mail came chat rooms where one could go and communicate around the world with anyone who was online. The growth and innovation of the internet has taken people to a whole new level of connectivity far more than most have ever imagined it would, it is called the Internet of Everything.
In August of 1962 J.C.R. Licklider of MIT discussed his “Galactic Network” concept. He envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site (Leiner et al., 1997). Sound familiar? Licklider when on to head up the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and later ended up creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) which became the basis of the internet as it is known today. Today’s internet provides everyone whom has a way to connect to it with more data that any one will ever need. The ability for a person to go online and find whatever they need, communicate with whomever they want and interact with computers like never thought of is an amazing accomplishment. As technology continues to grow more and more interactive devices are being created to make peoples everyday lives easier. The more connections there are the more data can be extracted and shared with everyone and everything. Licklider wanted to see a network where all computers were connected and able to share data with each other. Because of visionaries like this, this ability has not only been obtained, but taken to an entirely new level.
At one time to be on the internet meant that a computer with a modem had to be purchased, a phone line needed to be connected to it and a subscription with a web master had to be purchased. This was almost 30 years ago, fast-forward to today and with the exception of a subscription, no computer is needed and no phone line is need to access the internet. Connectivity is now provided through many different sources, such as Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a technology that provides wireless local area networking based on IEEE 802.11 standard using radio waves to transmit data rather than a wired connection (Beal, 2017). This technology was introduced to the world in 1998 and was revolutionary for internet connectivity. Now computers can go wireless. Any device that contains a wireless network interface card can access a Wi-Fi network, with the proper permissions of course. There are limitations to this type of network though, just as a wired network. The user must be in range of the Wi-Fi signals. In some cases, the signal can be boosted through repeaters to extent service, but this is still very limited to a singular location. Most homes in America today connect their Wi-Fi enable devices to their home network in just this way.
In the mid 1980’s people were able to go wireless on their phones and by the mid to late 90′ people were using cellular devices at an alarming rate. By 2010 the smartphone was in full effect and everyone was enjoying internet right on their phones. In 2012 4G LTE was released to the public, even though limited areas had it at the time. Today, between Wi-Fi and 4G LTE people are connected to the internet just about anywhere they go. No business today, including the government and the military could survive without the internet. As technology continues to grow, more and more items are added to networks. For instance, today there are homes that are almost 100% automated and can be controlled by a smartphone. Everything from the window shades to pet feeders with the simple touch of a button or a voice command (Griffith & Colon, 2017). This is called the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Internet of Things simply put, is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of (Morgan, 2014). A great example of this would be the ADT security systems people place on their homes. At one time all these systems could do was send an alarm during a break in. Now, a home owner is able to lock doors, view video, control lights, open/close the garage door and change the thermostat temperature in their homes all from their smartphone, tablet or computers (ADT.com, 2017). Self-driving cars are now all the craze. Even though in limited areas, these vehicles are going to make definitive changes to the way people get around. Think of the way people get around now driving themselves around having thousands of individual drivers with thousands of different driving styles on the road. Some speed happy, some slow, some tired and the occasional under the influences, but all causing traffic and traffic related deaths. Having a network of cars on the road that communicate with each other could all together eliminate traffic and traffic related deaths (Google.com, 2017). By using sensors and software companies like Google are able to make this happen. Even though in its infancy, people owning self-driving vehicles is closer to becoming reality every day. Many would think that there is no way it could get better than that. The internet of things is how machines interact with each other through inputs by a human. All the machines can do is take direction and report an outcome. Imagine though if the machines could read human interactions, adjust and perform task accordingly or having machines that perform task with any human interaction such as a refrigerator that orders milk from the store when it senses that supply is running low. This is where the transition from the Internet of Things moves to the Internet of Everything.
The Internet of Everything (IoE) is the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things. The Internet of Everything describes a world where billions of objects have sensors to detect measure and assess their status; all connected over public or private networks using standard and proprietary protocols (Banafa, 2016). This technology and vision is what is seen in movies such as Minority Report, I-Robot and a few other sci-fi thrillers out there. A world where “things” and humans interact in a network together. Eye scans as soon as a person walks in a store identifies who they are and begins to post ads from previous web searches they have made would be an example of this type of process. It is seen already where someone goes to Amazon to search for an item or a few items. Then they move over to Facebook or perform a Google search and next thing they know, there is that product they were just searching in Amazon right there on their Facebook page as an add. The data mining processes to make this this happen is happening right now. The massive data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) are considered of high business value, and data mining algorithms can be applied to IoT to extract hidden information from data (Chen et al., 2015). By extracting this data, they are pushing closer and closer to having a fully integrated society. For an example of approximately how much data is collected, with over 40 billion connected devices on earth today people generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each and every day. On top of that 90% of all data that exist today has been created in the past 2 years (Back, 2017). Everything from a person’s phone, to their scale at home, to their car and even their watches are collecting data that is being stored and used by business for a multitude of ideas.
The Internet of Everything is built on four pillars. They are people, data, process and things (IoT). The first pillar is people. Connecting people in more relevant and valuable ways (Banafa, 2016). As seen above people are generating data at an alarming rate. This data is being used to create, better interfaces between humans and computers. Alexa by Amazon is a product that was designed to be placed in a home and with the correct equipment control parts of a person’s house. The user can interface with Alexa by voice and Alexa will respond to the command and give the answer needed or perform the task given. As a person interfaces with Alexa, more and more data is collected about the user allowing Alexa to understand a person’s likes, such as music selection and ensure that when ask the correct music is played. As innovative as this it is still a request from the user and data given back. But, imagine if Alexa could use for instance the sensor on a smartwatch to identify that the user could be going into cardiac arrest, diabetic shock or a stroke and was able to notify 911 and report vitals to the in-route medical team. Thousands of lives could be saved every day and give an example in the difference of IoT and IoE.
The second pillar of IoE is data. The more data that is known, that data can be converted into intelligence to make better and more informed decisions. As stated previously humans generate quintillions of bytes of data each day. This data is extracted from every single connected device the user touches and is converted into many uses. For instance, insurance companies use huge amounts of data to produce reasonable insurance premiums for their users if the users choose to opt in to the program. Progressive auto insurance has had the option to attach a device to a vehicles OBD-II port that sends data back to the company on a drivers safe or bad habits, such as acceleration, breaking and speed to determine whether someone is a high-risk driver or not and adjust their insurance premiums accordingly (Threewit, 2016). Once again, a sensor taking input data and sending it out. In the IoE concept though if there were devices all around the car and inside of the car, the car could perform its own collision performance, adjust seating to a specific person in the driver’s seat by actually recognizing the person in the vehicle by profile and weight. Imagine having no extra equipment attached and the vehicle not allowing a person to drive because it senses a dangerous situation, such as under the influence, lack of sleep or even a potentially life threating situation allowing it to notify the user and authorities if needed. This is what more data can do to help make people safer.
The third pillar of IoE is process. Being able to deliver the right information to the right person and/or machine at the correct time. Throughout this research there have been example provided of life saving techniques that IoE can provide humans. Being able to deliver life saving information to the person and make the call to a medical team without any interaction from the person. The current process requires a phone call to be made or in some instances a panic button pressed to imitate a medical response. The response team only has what little data that is provided either by the victim or by a bystander to go on. This leads to misdiagnosis and time-consuming processes to figure out what is wrong. When integrating sensors into clothing or other devices that could be worn on the body, when something is actually wrong the sensors could send data to a computer in the home and the computer can make the call by diagnosing the problem. This could mean the difference between going to the hospital for a heart attack or being able to stay at home because they just have indigestion. This not only helps with the persons health, but also keeps them from having to spend unnecessary money on medical bills if services are not needed.
The fourth pillar things. This is speaking back on the Internet of Things. Without IoT there is no IoE. Having objects that have the ability to communicate with other devices in its environment and with humans is the end goal. To have devices that are able to learn a user’s patterns and behaviors by collecting data, so that the device may adapt to them. Not only so that devices can adapt to them, but also services become better suited for them. For those who read sci-fi books or watch sci-fi movies there are many instances that have promoted this type of technology years before it ever became reality. Many movies have shown instances where someone walks into a room and the pictures on the wall change to depict that person’s mood or robots that are able to serve people and self-driving cars that are networked with every other car on the road to improve traffic efficiency. All of these technologies are becoming reality or very close to reality because of the IoE concept.
For business this concept is most excellent and companies will see billions, if not trillions of dollars in revenue from the data that is collected from people. Companies can start taking advantage of this by using these data-based insights to come up with more effective advertising, and get to know their target demographics on a more specific, qualitative level. Chances are, you’ll have more data at every stage of the consumer buying cycle, from research to purchase and implementation (DeMers, 2017). Through big data a company will be able to direct someone to stores in the mall their products are sold in, because that person searched that item on the internet at some point in time or mentioned it through a conversation where their phone picked up a product name. Business will also see an efficient increase tracking and managing inventory. By doing this business are able to increase revenue by using smart technology to track items automatically and also directing items quickly to areas that are running low without the interaction of a human to see the data, process the data and make a decision. With the Internet of Everything, business should see massive upswings in productivity and efficiency, because the human and the machine will be working together as a singular unit rather than two separate units as is seen now. Businesses will also be able monitor and improve business processes constantly, because data is constantly being recorded and processed. They can find the best times workers are most productive at and possibly make changes in schedules to maximize efficiency out of those workers. IoE is a huge step for companies around the world and will not only maximize revenue, but maximize and improve work environments for the employees that work for them.
Of course, though with any exceptional technology there are dangers associated with them. Cyber-security is always on the forefront of conversation when it comes to the internet. There can be no good without evil and cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for the next big challenge when it comes to the “hack”. Statistics show that cyber crime damage cost will hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 (Morgan, 2017). That is an astonishing amount of money that will be lost due to cyber-attacks, but comes no where close to the damage that could be inflicted if a cyber-criminal were able to get a hold of someone most personal data. Hacking into sensors that are recording health data for instances. There are companies, such as Nike and Under Armour that are developing clothing infused with sensors that can report health issues as they occur, track heart rates and a multitude of other items (Mottl, 2015). Being able to hack medical records and devices could pose a grave threat to many people. Some medical devices like MRI scanners and pulse monitors are now connected to the internet at hospitals and doctor’s offices, which leaves them vulnerable to hackers. Andrew Hacker, a cybersecurity expert with Harrisburg University, said, “If these devices aren’t secure, then hackers can actually get into those devices and use those as a launch point to get to the more valuable data, such as databases that contain all these medical records” (Sinett, 2017). Medical data contains social security numbers, critical medical information about allergies and medication taken. This could be a new form of homicide that is seen before long where a hacker is able to access a person’s medical data, change a few things in the records such as an allergy or medication and the person dies due to this. If it is not in the record that someone is allergic to penicillin and it was there before how does the hospital prove it.
Another object that is equally dangerous is the car. If a hacker is able to hack the computer of a car they could cause major damage to them and even wreck them. This could be used as another way to commit homicide without leaving a trace of physical evidence. Smart homes are vulnerable too. Changing thermostat temperature, locking and unlocking doors, changing temperatures on a refrigerator and opening and closing garage doors are all instances of hacking that might be seen in the future under the Internet of Everything. Military equipment is becoming more reliant upon network connectivity, rather than the old standalone systems of the past. By having a network on the battlefield information is allowed to flow more efficiently ensuring the right people have the right information at the right time. Doing this will result in less friendly casualties on the battlefield and maximized efficiency of the fighting forces. Great concept once again, but as soon as military hardware is placed on a network it is susceptible to being hacked. Hacking someone’s credit card is one thing, but hacking into the weapons systems of a $100 million aircraft is another and could cause catastrophic damage to equipment and human life. The more connected people and things become, physical security will no longer be the only thing a person has to worry about. Today many only worry about getting a credit card hacked or their checking account hacked. When the world is fully up and running on the IoE concept people will have to worry about having their entire lives hacked. Cyber-security challenges will be taken to the next level and require everyday people to mindful of what they are doing and where they are doing it.
There have been many important inventions throughout human history. Most of them have been developed over the past couple of hundred years. Inventions like the automobile and airplane, cures for diseases and the splitting of the atom. But even with all of the greatness of each of those inventions the internet could very well be the most important of them all. This invention has spread to almost every corner of the planet. It allows people to connect to an endless database of information, allows them to communicate like never before and makes all around life a bit easier. This technology continues to evolve and grow like the human brain (Woodford, 2017). This allows for more and more things to be connected together and allows for these things to connect with humans. The Internet of Everything will continue to bring this world closer and closer together and allow humans and machines to interact in a manner only seen on the movie screens. With this technology though will come great challenges in securing even more data than ever known before and protecting it from cyber criminals. The Internet of Everything is the future of mankind as a whole and should be welcomed by all, but by no means taken lightly.
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