IoT 101

One of the great joys of reading as many audit reports as McLeod Governance does is that you get to see a full spectrum of how an audit function sees it role.

The United States Government Accountability Office has always seemed to see its remit as a broad one and it is in that context that a recent report on the Internet of Things (IoT) is a great example of the benefits of thinking broadly.

In what they call a Technology Assessment, the GAO has considered the status of the IoT and its implications in an increasingly connected world.

The GAO defines the IoT as:

the technologies and devices that sense information and communicate it to the Internet or other networks and, in some cases, act on that information

And in terms of how big the IoT is:

As IoT technologies are embedded in a growing number of devices and applications, the number of connected devices is expected to increase. In 2013, the number of devices connected to the Internet globally was estimated to be over nine billion.

The report notes not surprisingly:

The IoT’s rapid emergence brings the promise of important new benefits, but also presents potential challenges.

Those challenges include amongst many other things:

Information security. The IoT brings the risks inherent in potentially unsecured information technology systems into homes, factories, and communities.

Privacy. Smart devices that monitor public spaces may collect information about individuals without their knowledge or consent.

Safety. Researchers have demonstrated that IoT devices such as connected automobiles and medical devices can be hacked, potentially endangering the health and safety of their owners.

This is a good overview report worthy of sharing to anyone that cares about the future and even if you can’t convince them that the future is important draw their attention to a quote in the GAO report that:

McKinsey estimates that in 2025, IoT devices will, on average, reduce labor by 100 hours per year (or 17 percent) in a typical household by automating chores such as vacuum cleaning or lawn mowing.


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