computer.jpegGreetings; I had originally planed to look at different operating systems that can be installed or already are installed on many of the existing computers out there. But in the last few weeks I have spoken with a number of individuals that had questions about home security systems. Since that can be a rather large topic all on its own, I decided to break it up into a few areas.

No doubt most of you have watched TV shows or movies that have shown things that were on computer monitors that people were working or looking at. Maybe you’ve seen or heard of people talking about ‘smart this or smart that’. Maybe you’ve even been shopping for a new security system, mobile phone, refrigerator, vehicle or a number of other myriad things. Well, all of items already have what is called the ‘Internet Of Things’ (IOT) installed in them.

What the ‘Internet of Things’ is in the easiest definition I can offer: Is basically “a connection point to the internet”, thereby allowing it to be connected to your existing
cell phone, home computer, a computer at work or anything else on the internet. Specifically, it refers to the multitude of devices and applications that are becoming
increasingly pervasive in our society and how these things can work or be connected together. The development and engineering of these interfaces allows them to speak to one another as well as the internet and the engineering departments that created them. Unfortunately, it also allows them to be-hacked and in some cases be used for things they were not initially meant to be used for ̶ even for ill intent.

Our world is quickly becoming one vast collection of electronic devices in billions of machines and devices around the globe and even out into space with the International Space Station. You’re probably thinking to yourself “not MY ... (stuff)”. Although the truth of it is that anything electronic that you may have purchased within the last ten years, could easily have those connection capabilities built right into them already, without you even knowing it. This does not only apply to consumer goods, it also applies to commercial and industrial goods. I have experience with a variety of smart devices such as hydraulic valves, refrigerators, light bulbs, door bells, cameras, speakers and many others, and truthfully their use comes at a cost to your personal privacy.

The newer the electronic device is, the more likely it has these intrusive abilities, but even older items have had ‘Bluetooth or Wireless’ connectivity and with the help of a few inexpensive programmable microchips, the devices essentially become ‘telepresence robots’ and are continually being improved upon.

"Internet of Things" (IOT) connected devices can easily control every electronic item in your home if it is installed. In a great deal of situations, this is a great boon, but it also puts us in somewhat precarious circumstances if we loose the internet or the power that supplies the signals. Even though I have used computer technology for more than 45 years and worked in the industry for 24 of the last 25 years, in my mind, it takes us farther down the road where humans will not be able to do many things for themselves. I feel we must remain vigilant and educated regarding all new technologies. We must decide for ourselves how far down that road we are willing to travel. In one sense, we can gain a tremendous amount of ease and connectivity, but obviously it is nowhere near the same connectivity our parents or our grandparents were familiar with.iot1.png

Technology is evolving rapidly, through new services, devices, and applications constantly being introduced, and it can become overwhelming to try to keep up with it all. Without trying to go down the nay-sayers road, people are at a risk of being at the mercy of their electronics. We have all seen this already with the use of smart phones so prevalent in the world. We see and hear about technology everywhere, but in order to use it and reap the benefits it can provide, it leaves us open to a certain amount of outside control.

There are barriers that those technological items have to overcome, but as our use increases, many of those barriers are simply brushed aside as we adopt the use of new things. When we purchase many items, they often come with a Manual and an End User Licence Agreement (EULA). If you’re like most people, including me, you often don’t read the Manual or the EULA and simply plug it in and turn it on and when it asks about the EULA you simply say "yes" or "continue" and do the setup for the device (If in fact it has a setup that needs to be done). As soon as setup is complete, you start using the device and you are subject to everything in the EULA (what it actually covers/allows is different, depending on the country you live in and where the item was purchased). Technology is changing at a break neck pace and as greater numbers of people go online and use so called smart devices, the amount of control any single individual has decreases.

Although access to Internet-connected devices is growing, not all access is the same. The speed at which an individual can get online to send or retrieve information has a significant effect on the types of applications accessed and on how those technologies are used.

When the Internet was just beginning, the method for access to the Internet was usually a dial-up phone connection, which used a telephone line. In recent years, that
has changed to a broadband connection, which may or may not require the use of a telephone line and which is much faster than dial-up. In many places now, there is already the newest 5G wireless connection which is faster still. It easily covers vast distances and areas with it websites, software applications, devices/equipment and can send whatever data chosen, back and forth to there respective EULA owners. They can pretty much do what they will with the information gathered.

A recent Pew Report (Horrigan and Duggan, 2015) found that North Americans who do not use broadband Internet connections are “increasingly likely to be at a disadvantage in key areas of life.” Between 2010 and 2015, the percentage of who did not use broadband and who indicated that not using broadband was a major disadvantage in finding out about job opportunities and gaining new career skills, rose from 36% to 43%. In the same timeframe, the percentage who did not use broadband and who indicated that this was a disadvantage, rose with regard to other topics as well, including the following:

• Learning about or accessing government services (rose from 25% to_40%)
• Learning new things that may improve or enrich their lives (rose from 23% to 37%)
• Getting health information (rose from 27% to 38%)
• Keeping up with news and information (rose from 16% to 32%)

Many people are slow to adopt new technologies, particularly those with little to no experience. People often prioritise the things that are important to them ... until or
unless they see a reason becomes apparent (examples of this would be getting a cell phone or and email account). Most people use the internet primarily for
communication purposes via email, FaceTime, Zoom or Skype with friends and family or business associates.

In short The IOT is a vast arena of devices that may help or hinder us as individuals and as societies. However they are viewed they will require a good and fast internet connection, one will not be able to do everything it boasts without the other. Thanks for reading this and should you be interested in learrning more or making
some sort of change to one or more of your systems, you can send an email to Webbingz I will get back to you asap.

I look forward to writing something for you next month.


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