sions. For example, farmers could determine the going rate for their crops,
rather than relying on a third-party
intermediary to determine prices.
Knowing what the weather is going
to be like in a few days to make decisions about farming practices, and so
on. That being said, having access to
information for education and training and awareness doesn’t replace
having access to clean water and very
One problem in a lot of the developing world is that much of the Internet
traffic is routed back through more developed areas; traffic in South America
being routed through Miami, or traffic
in Africa going through Amsterdam or
London, etc. So there is a missed opportunity to host local content locally.
For example, if you’re in Kenya, a local
Kenyan website will be hosted outside
of Kenya, making it very expensive and
slow to get information. What we are
starting to see more are efforts to have
Internet exchange points in the region
so that the multiple network providers
within Africa and within South America can directly connect with one another and provide a stable platform for
hosting of local content.
For organizations and individuals to
be confident when conducting transactions and exchanging information, the Internet has to be secure. How does the Io T
impact the security of the Internet?
JIM KUROSE: With an ever-increasing
array of devices being connected to the
Internet (between 26 billion and 50 billion devices in manufacturing, business, and home applications by 2020,
by some predictions), the question of
resilience—knowing that a device will
continue to perform its tasks safely
and securely in the presence of unintended as well as malicious faults—is
VINT CERF: There are technologies
that allow people to protect themselves better. Two-factor authentications are a good example of that—the
best practice of which is to encrypt
everything from the laptop or mobile
all the way to the server on the net.
All of these are practices we adopt
NICK FEAMTSER: There are a couple
of reasons why IoT raises the stakes
as far as the security of the Internet is
concerned. An Internet attack may now
involve physical inconveniences or
threats such as security cameras, door
locks, thermostats, etc.
The issue here is that most businesses are fundamentally focused
on the market they serve. In other
words, a hardware company is just a
hardware company, a consumer electronics company is just a consumer
electronics company. They are not
thinking about the security of the
software they put on the devices they
sell. So it won’t be long until we have
an abundance of fundamentally un-patchable, insecure, and difficult if
not impossible-to-patch devices affecting nearly every aspect of our daily
lives. It’s a perfect storm.
ERIC BREWER: Even though “
less-con-nected devices” sounds paradoxical in
today’s scenario, I believe it’s an option. As an example, if a device has to
connect through the user’s phone or
home laptop or computer, maybe that
is a bit safer because then, at least, the
gateway could be secured. Another option is to stop making these devices so
flexible. They are really just doing one
kind of reporting, and all the rest of the
data is in the cloud. It’s more plausible
that you could make that secure.
What makes security hard is if you
are trying to have a lot of flexibility in
the device, or complexity, or if you’re
trying to change what the device is doing over time, and that’s why you’re
having upgrades. All this makes it
much more like a phone and then it
really needs to have a more automated
form of security patching.
What are the possibilities, and repercussions, of Io T capabilities such as smart
cities and connected cars?
MARTIN CASADO: There are obvious
answers here around energy efficiency, traffic, safety, etc. But I feel that
those are already easy to see from
where we are today. So perhaps I will
take a bit of a longer view and say that
in the limit Io T could very well make
the notion of a city anachronistic.
Cities are largely products of organic growth and physical constraints;
close enough for protection and
commerce, and far enough away for
privacy and access to resources. However, IoT changes these constraints.
Drones can deliver goods without
requiring traditional roads or supply
routes. Advances in connected and
urban farming can allow sustain-
ability just about anywhere. And the
Internet provides a social overlay that
is independent of geography. We are
heading toward a future where cities
are more defined by common inter-
ests than by geography.
What do you think are some of the
potentially most exciting/important
applications of Io T beyond the ones already being actively developed?
JIM KUROSE: It’s difficult to predict
future Internet applications. But I’ll
make one prediction. I believe education and skill acquisition have yet to
be truly disrupted by the Internet, or
by interactive and/or virtual reality/
augmented reality technologies. As
a long-time teacher (and learner), I
don’t think there is anything as good
as learning with inspired and engaged teachers and students, using
interactive learning and team-based
activities in the classroom. But that
approach is neither uniformly affordable nor scalable. So I do believe
a next generation of interactive soft-ware/textbooks/classes is increasingly important to meet the pace and
need for training, skills updating,
and acquiring new fundamentals.
GEORGE ROUSSOS: One specific way
that I hope the IoT can bring about
change is by shifting the emphasis
away from our current predominantly
visual mode of interaction with information, which I consider to be the key
ingredient enabling a sedentary and
passive contemporary lifestyle. IoT
technologies afford interactions engaging the whole body through touch,
proprioception, equilibrioception, in-teroception, and perhaps a few new artificial senses that can hopefully rebalance the focus on the brain as the only
locus of intelligence.
In particular, my hope is that the
Io T will play a key role toward improving the health and the sustainability
of the planet: overconsumption of raw
materials, pollution from fossil fuels,
and industrialized farming, the destruction of forests and numerous other effects of modernity are setting massive challenges ahead. I believe the Io T
has to play a central role in addressing
these challenges and ensuring the welfare of future generations.
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