Internet of Things - D100

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What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things [1]
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows for electronic devices to be connected while also enabling the ability to transfer information on the device with the aid of the Internet.[2] This system also allows for devices to be interconnected to one another.

IoT can be demonstrated in various ways, and you may not know it, but you are probably using IoT right now, especially if you are reading this wiki. If you have a smart TV or Chromecast to access your Netflix account to binge watch a show - that is also another example of IoT. Alternatively, maybe you are out with your friends, and they ask you to “AirDrop” the group photo that was just taken, once again another application of IoT.

As shown, the possibilities for IoT are endless. With new products releasing every day, the only thing that would hold you back is a poor internet connection.

Personal Uses

The personal use of IoT is driven by the use of products known as Consumer IoT products. Consumer IoT products are essentially any consumer product that can be connected to the internet, and these products are evolving the way individuals live their day to day lives. This can be easily demonstrated with a use case:

Dave is a 30-year-old product manager who lives in the downtown core of Vancouver and has implemented consumer IoT products to make his busy life more efficient. At 7:30 am, the smart lighting illuminates Dave’s bedroom, and his Amazon Echo wakes him up with his alarm he has preset for the month on his Amazon Alexa phone application. Following this, this personal assistant reminds Dave of his meetings he has scheduled today. Without having to leave the bed, Dave seeks information from his personal assistant that will impact his wardrobe decision for the day: “Alexa, what is the weather outside?” Dave gets his clothes on for work and grabs his hot coffee from his smart coffee maker in his kitchen that he ordered from his phone. Dave is sure to check his vitamin levels before he leaves the house with his smart body analyzer. He finds that his iron levels are low, but when he goes to take his iron supplement, he finds he has no more. Dave waves his Amazon dash-wand over the barcode of his empty pill container and chooses the fastest shipping option. Dave finally leaves his apartment for the day and locks the door behind him from his home security application on his mobile device.

The case demonstrates how consumer IoT products are making humans’ lives more efficient. Furthermore, companies now understand the benefits to consumers of establishing connective technology inside products to make them part of the Internet of Things. As described in a Grand View Research study of the size of the Internet of Things market in North America, the consumer electronics IoT market in 2018 is $105 billion. This number is expected to increase by 15 billion dollars by 2019 and $20 billion in 2020.[3]

With all this in mind, we will now discuss four dimensions of consumer IoT products that are dramatically impacting the way individuals operate their day to day lives.

Connected Cars

The automotive industry can be described as an industry in the midst of a lengthy evolution. Furthermore, this evolution can be seen as the emergence of information technology being implemented in cars. Today, vehicles encompass many integrated systems that provide a better and safer user experience to consumers. As described by IBM: “Vehicles are moving data centers, connected inside and out, to traffic, weather, location and travel conditions.”[4]

Currently, there seems to be variations in the level of automation that different vehicles can provide. Researcher's have identified five levels of automation:[5]

  1. Level Zero - No Automation
    • At this level, the vehicle operator must have control of the vehicle, such as steering, braking, and accelerating
  2. Level One - Driver Assistance
    • At this level, the vehicle operator still handles steering, accelerating, braking; but the vehicle can perform minimal functions like extra braking if it detects that you are too close to another vehicle.
  3. Level Two - Partial Automation
    • At this level, the vehicle operator can disengage from some of their tasks. Level Two automation can assist with steering and acceleration functions. The driver must always be attentive and ready to take manual control of the vehicle, and they will be responsible for most safety-critical functions and monitoring the surrounding environment.
  4. Level Three - Conditional Automation
    • At this level, the vehicle operator has the ability to disengage even further driving operations. The vehicle will control and monitor the environment through sensors as well as the critical safety functions such as braking. At this level, vehicles operators will not be required to pay attention for any speeds at or below 37 mph.
  5. Level Four - High Automation
    • At this level, the vehicle can take over all human-oriented driving behaviours. Drivers will be notified by their autonomous driving system about when conditions are safe before enabling automated driving mode. The drawback is that the car will not be able to be used in dynamic driving situations like merging onto highways.
  6. Level Five - Complete Automation
    • At this level, no human interaction is needed. The vehicle will control all critical tasks and identification of dynamic driving situations. Pedals, brakes, steering wheels are not necessary because the autonomous vehicle will control all of these tasks.

Truly Connected Car

A connected vehicle will be able to communicate with other devices in five ways:[6]

The future of connected vehicles [7]
  1. Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) - where some public infrastructure captures information like traffic conditions and transmits this information to a connected vehicle, which in turn may reduce fuel emissions and consumption as the vehicle will re-navigate on a more efficient pathway[8]
  2. Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) - allows multiple vehicles to transmit information with each other, such as the speed and position of other cars.[9] While this may lead to a reduction in traffic and accidents[10], there is room for concern about how these vehicles will react if something that is not connected to some technology (like a falling tree or a rock) crosses path with these vehicles.
  3. Vehicle to Cloud (V2C) - with the mass amount of data being shared between devices, that data needs to be accessible somewhere.[11] Simply put, a connected car will be accessing your apps, and devices, through the cloud.[12]
  4. Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) - this form of communication allows cars to detect pedestrians via their smartphone to mitigate any potential accident.[13] Honda has been testing this technology with their own vehicles using a Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) technology[14] Whenever a car is approaching a pedestrian and nearly hitting them, the car will sound an alert advising the driver to brake, the issue is that the pedestrian will need to have a DSRC-enabled smart phone.[15] The emergence of 5G may resolve this potential drawback of phones needing to be DSRC-enabled.[16]
  5. Vehicle to Everything (V2X) - as the name suggests, this refers to a system where all vehicles connect to everything, like signs and intersections.[17]
Autonomous driving features will grow from $8 billion to $26 billion by 2025. [18]

Future Implications

As this is an emerging technology, autonomous vehicles today are only scratching the surface of the benefits that they can provide. This is because as more internet-enabled cars are manufactured and enter the roadways, more data will be harnessed and therefore lead to algorithm and technology advances.

Further, in the future, autonomous vehicles will not only omit information to the user and the car manufacturer, but also other vehicles on the road. As described by Will Knight in his article in the MIT Technology review: “Car-to-car communication should also have a bigger impact than the advanced vehicle automation technologies that have been more widely heralded. Though self-driving cars could eventually improve safety, they remain imperfect and unproven, with sensors and software too easily bamboozled by poor weather, unexpected obstacles or circumstances, or complex city driving. Simply networking cars together wirelessly is likely to have a far bigger and more immediate effect on road safety.”[19]

The implications of this are massive: 65 billion in potential annual savings to Canadians dissected by $37.4 in collision costs $20 billion in time, $2.6 billion in fuel and $5 billion in congestion avoidance.[20] Furthermore, the projected size of the global market for autonomous driving features (measured in US dollars) grew from $8 Billion in 2016 to $26 Billion in 2025.[21]

Smart Home Applications

Life at home is becoming less strenuous with the help of IoT. The attributes of IoT such as enhanced and integrated user experience paired with data gathering to drive more informed decisions are now being applied to consumer products that can create a futuristic at-home experience.

Home Security

General application of IoT in the home security industry can be seen in real-time and stored footage of the home, and it’s surroundings, smart keypad entry such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, and remote access of security features via typically a smartphone application.

Ecobee 4 Smart thermostat[22]

Heating and Cooling

Smart thermostats enable users to have the perfect temperature room set to their preference, at all times. Furthermore, some smart thermostats have sensors embedded in the product that can detect occupancy of the room, and adjust the temperature accordingly. This can be seen with the Ecobee 4.[23]

Along with the ability to control, monitor, and analyze the temperature of your rooms, smart thermostats provide cost-saving benefits to homeowners. According to Ecobee’s research, customers in the U.S. saved an average of 23 percent on their heating and cooling costs in 2013 – its most recent research.[24]

ZEEQ's smart pillow[25]

Child Monitors

With internet-enabled child monitors, parents can ease their anxieties about constantly monitoring their child's sleep. Smart child monitors utilize cameras and sensors to send real-time information to the parents smartphone through the use of a remote application. Major companies such as Philips have branched into this niche [26]

Smart Showers

Internet-enabled showers are emerging, allowing users to start the shower and set it to their preferred temperature from their phones. These products can be integrated with other IoT products such as personal assistants. An individual was able to control his smart shower via his Amazon Echo.

Smart Pillow

Smart pillows generally play soothing music until you fall asleep, track and analyze your sleep, monitor and react to your snoring, and wake you up at the ideal point in your sleep pattern.[27]


Wearables are a category of consumer IoT products that are making individuals lives more enjoyable and efficient. Wearables can be described as a mobile electronic device worn as an accessory or unobtrusively embedded in the user’s clothing. [28]

The emergence of wearable IoT can first be seen in the identification and security fields.[29] Examples of this can be seen regarding keyless entry, with RFID tags installed in a particular device such as a key fob are worn by employees of a business to enter secure rooms. Furthermore, with the continuing evolution of biometric sensors and their ability to generate real-time information on our bodies, the wearable device industry has become flooded with inventions.

Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected[30]

Smart Watches

The development of IoT has initiated a large shift in the watch industry. As described in TechRepublic, smartwatches are the fastest growing segment of the watch market, as traditional timepiece brands struggle.[31] Furthermore, smart watches can be characterized by watches that can connect to the internet, or can access the internet via a Bluetooth connection to a device that can connect to the internet such as a smartphone[32] These “full fledge digital tools” have the ability to run applications, digital playback media such as audio tracks streamed to Bluetooth headphones and interactive touchscreens which allow you to access functions such as calculators, thermometers, compasses and more.[33]

Smart Shoes

Levi's Commuter X Jacquard By Google [34]
Connected shoes are simply put; shoes that are connected to the internet, or are connected to another device that can connect to the internet. These products produce information to the user such as step counts, nutrition information, advanced sleep data, heart rate data, pace and distance travelled, calories burned and much more.[35] Furthermore, these consumer IoT products are becoming more commercially available, as seen with Under Armour’s launch of Under Armour Record and the UA HealthBox.[36]

As described in business insider: these shoes work by a record sensor chip being placed in the shoe, which connects to the MapMyRun application, where the data the chip collects from your workouts will go to be analyzed.[37] Furthermore, Under Armour released the UA Healthbox which is essentially a full body analyzing kit that can be used in conjunction with Under Armor’s connected sneakers. As described in Fortune, the Health Box includes an activity-tracking band, a heart rate strap, and a “smart” scale that records your weight and body-fat data and tracks them over time.[38]

Connected Clothing

Wearable X are yoga pants that come with built-in haptic vibrations that gently pulse at the hips, knees and ankles to encourage you to move and hold positions.[39] Furthermore, these pants sync up via Bluetooth to your phone and, through a companion application, provides additional feedback on your yoga abilities. [40] Connected clothing is not an anomaly anymore in the clothing industry. Established clothing companies such as Ralph Lauren and Levis can be seen having commercially available connected clothing products. Levi’s has created a jean jacket named that links to your mobile device via Bluetooth. This device allows an individual to control their music, phone calls, or even get directions with a tap or brush on the jacket cuff.[41]

Personal Health

According to a report from, the healthcare Internet of Things market is forecasted to hit $117 billion by 2020.[42] The advancements of sensor technology drive this large market. Furthermore, most commercially available smartwatches can give the user valuable personal health information such as their heart rate and blood pressure. IoT has provided tangible benefits to personal healthcare as well as the healthcare industry overall. We will now provide examples of personal health consumer IoT products.

Smart and Wellness Watch

Apple’s smartwatch, the Apple watch is providing major benefits to individuals personal health. Moreover, Apple is taking major steps to help improve overall global healthcare as their iOS apps allow for patients to constantly stay connected with their medical team and allows healthcare providers to work more efficiently by accessing health records instantaneously.[43] Furthermore, wellness watches allows users to track useful statistics like pace, speed, and calories burned when exercising.[44]

The Internet of Things has many good positive social implications on society and especially to those with health problems. Most recently, a man was saved by his Apple Watch as discussed in a CTV news video

Smart Body Analyzer

Another product evolution in the medical industry is the introduction of smart body analyzers. A smart body analyzer give you detailed measurements shows individuals data including weight, BMI, and body fat percentage which (through the power of IoT) can be stored and analyzed from a smartphone.[46]

A major provider of smart body analyzers is Withings. Withings describes their technology: “data from every weigh-in appears automatically in the app which also includes goal setting, personalized programs and motivation that can help you stay on the right track.”[47]

Smart Vitamin Analyzer

Smart vitamin analyzers are a revolutionary personal healthcare product. Companies such as Vitastiq are enabling consumers to have real-time information regarding the status of 26 different vitamin levels in their bodies.[48]

A video of the un-intrusive Vitastiq providing real-time analytics to the user showcases how IoT is revolutionizing personal healthcare can be seen on the right.

Industrial Uses

The Internet of Things has been one of the emerging technologies that every company has been trying to get their company exposed to.

Investors and company stakeholders alike are looking into IoT for their companies’ ability to grow. In fact, according to an article on Network World, it states that “the predictions are getting a bit lurid – the Internet of Things will expand to around 20 billion connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner”.[49]

This prediction is undoubtedly correct; we are beginning to see our world filled with interconnectivity through IoT devices. More specifically, the mining industry, in particular, has gotten much traffic from IoT devices with the help of consulting companies like Accenture at the pinnacle of their growth with their innovative “The Connected Mine Solution.” [50] The healthcare sector can also be seen taking full advantage of IoT, both industries will be discussed below.

Mining Industry: The Connected Mine by Accenture

This solution was designed and built by Accenture and Avanade to make the lives of miners easier and more effective by allowing them to know where everything is inside a mine.[51] This solution “merges mobile, cloud and analytics to help enable mining companies to more effectively manage their in-pit operations”.[52] On Accenture’s website it lists the benefits of “The Connected Mine Solution” as a solution that will provide:[53]

  1. Real-time Visibility of Assets
    • This benefit in itself will allow companies to monitor what is going on inside their mine fully. For instance, are things as productive as they should be if not, we’re able to access this production information and compare it to our plan. If things aren’t working the way they should be, then micro or macro adjustments must be made to ensure that the mine hits its KPI’s and deadlines.
  2. Real-time Tracking of Workers
    • This was one of the most critical elements that mining companies were looking for in the past couple of years. Now that it is finally here and fully useable as showcased in the video by Goldcorp to the right, companies can fully monitor where miners are at any given time using a dashboard tool on their mobile device. However, there is a risk where devices can become disconnected at this time because the internet connection may not reach mines that can go as deep as 3.9km into the earth’s crust [55]. If you think about it, that length is almost 39 football fields long in length! It’d be incredibly hard to get a stable connection with today’s technology, but with another emerging technology known as 5G connection, we can expect to be free of connectivity issues. However, 5G won’t be here in the short-term as it is still in the testing phases globally. For instance, “In the UK, it's been confirmed that the West Midlands will get £75 million in public funding to develop and test 5G in the region. Plans include the ability to stream CCTV cameras on buses directly to the police, allowing them to respond more quickly to incidents”.[56] In the meantime, we can count on mesh networking (discussed later), to help us maintain a very stable connection between all of our devices.
  3. Predictive Maintenance - Reducing Machine Downtime & Costs
    • This is critical to not just stakeholders in the mining industry but also in the automobiles industry & fleet management industry as well. With the ability to track when industrial vehicles are not working properly ahead of time, you can increase profitability and reduce the wasted time waiting for the part to ship in, or having to schedule in a maintenance worker a week later. This is a lot of time lost! However, with the Internet of Things, we can better track our devices and if there are any mechanical errors ahead of time so that we can order in both the piece that needs to be replaced along with the maintenance worker who will fix the vehicle for the organization. This will increase bottom-line profitability for the organization as with each mine; they are after a commodity that may or may not be there. Therefore, time is precious, and stakeholders/investors want to know if they’ve struck gold (literally) or if they’ve hit nothing but coal.

To put IoT into perspective, let’s put the newly-developed technologies to their numbers and what they’re worth in the bigger picture of things. According to an article by Nick Ismail on the Information Age website, he cites that “About 40% of mining organizations have plans to implement IoT solutions within the next 18 months, according to a report into the future of IoT in enterprise, with 44% of citing health and safety as the main reason for investigating these solutions”. [57] Those are some very significant statistics in themselves, but Ismail goes on to cite that the mining industry with IoT devices is huge and is still growing at an alarming rate. He specifies in his article that “UK-listed mining companies had a total market capitalisation of $425 billion, according to figures published by UK Trade and Investment, more than any other financial market in the world”.[58] This is just in the United Kingdom, $425 billion market cap, that’s a vast industry waiting to be disrupted by IoT for everyone’s benefit.

Healthcare Industry

Three healthcare IoT applications will be discussed: Autobed, Implantable Loop Recorder, and Philips e-Alert.


The first application that will be discussed is General Electric’s AutoBed technology which enables for reduced patient wait times and more efficient usage of beds in hospitals.[59] By using IoT, Mount Sinai Hospital has rendered its operations more efficient by applying RFID tags on beds to find out which ones are available for patient use.[60] After accounting for the bed availability and patient condition, AutoBed’s algorithmic system accounts for “pending bed requests, all available beds, and other information [such as] how far a doctor might need to walk to see [the] patient.”[61]

The main worry of the system to hospitals is the cost implementation of the AutoBed system.[62] However, if the system can generate more corporate savings than the cost of implementation, then the AutoBed would be something to consider in other healthcare facilities heavily.

An implantable loop recorder [63]

Implantable Loop Recorder

The implantable loop recorder is a USB key with the ability to connect to a scanning device that will transmit the information via the internet to the Cardiac Specialist.[64] This will allow them to have a reading of the patient’s heartbeat. This device is usually used for patients that may experience “syncope, dizziness, seizures, lightheadedness, and palpitations” this is after other methods of which are less invasive are used.[65] The USB key has a battery life of 2 years.[66]

This technology has saved lives through its ability to monitor and share information without requiring the patient to be in and out of hospitals to conduct various tests.

Philips e-Alert

The system operates with IoT to notify service workers and Philips via SMS (Short Message Service) when their MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines are not in optimal conditions.[67]

E-Alert works by having a device with similar dimensions to a basic internet modem that monitors the environmental surroundings.[68] If the measures divert from the fixed parameters, the alert will be sent out notifying of the issue through SMS, E-mail, or an alarm that may be programmed with the sensor.[69]

In being able to maintain the MRI machines better, this will increase the efficiency while allowing for less cost of repair in the future if the machines are being taken care of.

General Business & E-Commerce

Regarding general business and e-commerce application of IoT three device applications will be discussed, the first being RFID tags, second being near field communication and the last being Square payment solutions.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)

The differences between passive and active RFIDs[70]
Radio Frequency IDentification uses radio waves to both read and capture information that is stored on a RFID tag that is attached to objects, and sends this information to a database.[71]

There are three types of RFID tags, being passive, semi-passive, and active:[72]

  1. Passive: For passive RFID it requires the scanner to read the tag. These RFIDs do not require a power source nor a transmitter. In comparison to the other types, the passive tag is usually more cost effective while being able to be introduced to various materials without having the scanning process hindered by such an obstacle. In order to send information back to the reader, while being scanned there is a feedback system which activates the tag to turn “on” to then send information. They rely on a microchip and an antenna for the mentioned system.
  2. Semi-Passive: These differ from passive for they possess a power source such as a battery in the tag. Hence why some refer to them as “Battery-Assisted Passive.” They also do not possess transmitters, but they are scanned with more ease for they are more comfortable for the scanners to get a hold of.
  3. Active: These RFIDs possess both a power source and transmitter. In maintaining these characteristics, the product essentially scans itself into the system. Because of their technology the tags have a significantly greater reach than the ones mentioned above. An advantage to such a tag being that if they move around a large working group such as a fleet cedar on a mill, they auto-update their approximate locale throughout the day allowing workers to be aware of where the stock may be.

Barcode versus RFID Tags

The products are both similar in function to identify what the item is and allowing for the storage of such information. However, where they vary greatly is in the various functions of the two. RFID allows for the scanning of more than one code at a time whereas barcodes must be scanned one at a time.[73] With RFIDs, they are also able to actively transmit signals throughout the day allowing for easier tracking in-house.[74] Whereas barcodes require scanning and to find a possible locale for the product such is based on a numbering system which allows workers to find products.[75] RFID also has the ability to store more information on the tag compared to conventional barcodes, such as which employee checked out a certain tool.[76] Additionally, the RFID tags tend to be more resilient than barcodes, assuming that barcodes are printed on paper labels.[77]

A passive RFID tag[78]

Possible Applications of RFID

We believe that a possible application for RFID tags would be in hospitals for the nurses to be able to track patients throughout room rotation of the day. Most patient information is not updated for the hospital staff tend to be too busy to have the ability to update all the files in a timely manner consistently. The result of which is confusion amongst nurses, food delivery staff, and other hospital workers.

In implementing the tag, they are better able to track patients while optimizing the database. However, such an implementation would be very costly for the hospital for it would require a significant update in their information storage system which for the Vancouver area tends to be relatively out of date.

Implications of RFID on Society

One of the various issues that arise with the growing integration of the RFID tags is that they are seen as a threat to entry-level job opportunities such as that of a gas station attendant, grocery store clerk and many more similar jobs. In allowing for RFID tags to be implanted in credit and debit cards, this has allowed for greater feasibility in purchasing abilities. Such can be seen when walking into a fast food chain restaurant and having a kiosk in front of the store. Rather than waiting in line to order from the restaurant worker, customers can order and purchase their order from kiosks with even more flexibility and customizable features such as what they wish to have as toppings on their food. Upon purchasing, all the consumer has to do is tap their card on the reader rather than having to enter their PINs and select which account they wish to withdraw from. The same concept follows for both gas station attendant and grocery store clerk.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Near Field Communication enables information transmission to payment machines[79]

Near Field Communication requires devices to be fairly close to one another to enable an exchange of information. NFC can operate in three ways as follows: first being as peer to peer, second being read/write mode which enables an active device to retrieve information from a passive device, and the last being card emulation which enables devices to be used as contactless cards.[80] NFC is a set of standards programmed into the devices upon production and the data in the devices are transmitted via radio waves.[81] What is fascinating is that although passive devices do not require a power supply, they are able to be powered by an electromagnetic field produced by a nearby NFC active device.[82] Due to this ability the newest smartphones are capable of producing a strong enough induction from the electromagnetic field to charge devices that come in contact with the smartphone therefore enabling wireless charging.[83]

Where NFC and RFID differ is primarily in the reach of the device. Active RFID has a significantly higher range than what NFC is capable of. Both have the ability to be passive and active. However, in an active state, as stated above, the NFC enabled devices may also act as a scanner on passive devices.[84] This raises issues of possible theft of information from passive devices. An example may be Apple Pay. An Apple device with the feature can store a credit and debit card’s information that would then be transmitted to a payment machine which also encompasses NFC capabilities for a transaction. This would then speed up the transaction as well because there is less manual labour required of the sale to be processed.


The square has two products to its name the first being the card reader priced at an estimated $10.00[85] the next being a square reader priced at an estimated $59.00[86]. The difference between the two products lies within the hardware. The square reader for magnetic stripe only accepts cards with magstripes whereas the square reader for contactless and chip accepts both contactless and chip cards.[87]

A square reader that accepts both contactless and chip cards[88]

Upon initial purchase of the magnetic stripe reader square ($10.00) the company reimburses the expense to the buyer.[89]

The process of setting up a square for transactions is reasonably straightforward, with the readers they require you to download the square app for access to the business account. Where they differ is that the magnetic stripe reader needs an earphone jack to be plugged into and the contactless reader is connected to the app-enabled device via Bluetooth connection.[90] The application of the square has been infinitesimal; it is excellent for not-for-profits and new emerging businesses. For the system is so mobile and compact, it makes transactions incredibly feasible.

The implementation of the square is also significantly more cost effective than installing a credit/debit terminal. The cost of implementation of a credit/debit terminal is estimated to be between $100.00-$400.00 with additional charges.[91] There are options to lease such devices as well for an estimate of $50.00-$100.00 per month[92]. This also does not account for the cost incurred upon each transaction which for this example Mastercard in Canada will be highlighted, for the regular card the fee charged in 1.75% whereas for premium cards it is 2.71%.[93]

The cost incurred for the square are dependent on which one of the devices the business chooses to proceed with either the $10.00 or $59.00. Their processing fees are “2.65% per swipe, 2.9% + 0.30$ per paid Square Invoice and Online Store sale, 3.4% + 0.15$ per manually entered transaction and 0.10$ for Interact Debit Tap sales.”[94]

In comparing the two, it is evident that the square is more cost effective and convenient to use.

Privacy and Cybersecurity

The most prevalent issue regarding the Internet of Things is that it opens up a whole new avenue for cybercriminals and businesses to breach your personal privacy and data. While businesses are regulated on how they collect, secure and use our information, they are also susceptible to hackers via data breaches.

Your Concerns

With the mass amount of personal data and information that is being communicated between IoT devices, security becomes a big concern. The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) listed their top 10 security concerns with IoT that business and individuals should keep in mind:[95]

  1. Default “Raw Storage” Data - collected data is usually stored by developers as raw, such that there is no anonymity to the information that is collected.
  2. Insecure Devices - IoT devices should have their software security consistently updated. IoT devices, like CCTV cameras, or even smart kitchen appliances can be hacked and used as a botnet to perform DDoS attacks
  3. Trolls & Bad Players - IoT devices can be exploited by hackers to perform actions that are not for its intended use, such as sending explicit text/pictures to a group of online printers.
  4. Surveillance - IoT devices collect and store data, which can be accessed remotely. It is important for users and business to protect this information with proper network security and encryption.
  5. Lack of Updates - After many years, the original manufacturers of the IoT device may not provide the necessary support/updates due to going out of business or moving on to new projects. It is important to try and purchase IoT devices from manufacturers that we believe will stay in business and update their older devices.
  6. Data Breaches - data like what time we make a coffee can be tracked easily. With the millions of data points that are being shared between devices, it is highly important for IoT entities to manage and protect this information.
  7. Compliant Storage Data - Protection and storage of our data through IoT are subject to rules and regulations, PIPEDA in Canada, and GDPR in Europe. Businesses must comply with these regulations, or they will be subject to harsh penalties.
  8. DDoS Attacks - insecure devices have the potential to be hacked and controlled to perform a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on servers, essentially taking down huge portions of the internet.
  9. Sensitive Data Storage - businesses should store sensitive data (like credit card information) on a separate gateway server rather than their own database. This is an extra level of security to reduce the possibility of having sensitive consumer data from being compromised.
  10. Smartphone Security - when downloading applications that are connected to smart devices, it is essential to ensure that the vendors are trustworthy.

Case Study: St. Jude's Medical Heart Hack

An implantable cardiac device (ICD)[96]
The importance of ensuring devices are updated regularly can be highlighted in an incident that occurred with St. Jude Medical’s implantable cardiac devices (ICD).

On January 9, 2017, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) had confirmed that these ICD devices could have been hacked and controlled. These devices monitor and manage patients’ heart rates, and most importantly, prevent heart attacks. The security breach would have allowed the hacker to reprogram commands for the device to drain the battery or administer the incorrect pacings. Fortunately, no patients were affected, and St. Jude Medical developed a software patch to significantly reduce the risk of exploitation.[97]

With IoT devices becoming more widely used, especially in the health sector, it is important to realize how much we depend on them to potentially control our lives. It isn't beyond the realm of possibility that someone could possibly hack into a connected car, allowing them with complete functionality over your vehicle and causing critical harm.

Case Study: Facebook Data Breach (Sept. 28)

Data breaches seem to be a common issue that companies face, and they become especially unsettling when our personal information is taken and used for purposes that we may never know about.

Facebook has been at the forefront of a massive data breach that was reported on September 28, 2018. Nearly 50 million users were affected, and it’s been reported that the hackers would have been able to access your personal information, like names, birthdays, and private messages.[98] There is still no confirmation as to what the hackers’ goals were with the data, but the possibilities can be devastating to think about, such as posting someones’ private messages online for everyone to see.

Who is Responsible for the Safety of IoT?

Is the government reliable for the security of IoT? [99]

As users of IoT, it can be easy to conclude that businesses and government are responsible for the safety and privacy of our personal information. However, executives at Alphabet Inc., which is a subsidiary of Google, states that all three entities have an equal responsibility in making the IoT as secure as possible:[100]

  • Companies like Google, have a responsibility to maintain data securely while also implementing procedures and measures to prevent online hacks
  • Government plays a role by enacting and enforcing regulations to prevent and punish those who perform punishable online behaviour, such as identity theft
  • Individuals and users of IoT must help establish reasonable expectations and norms for online security. We should be providing feedback to businesses and governments about our current and future concerns of IoT. The society also needs to use the tools that companies and governments offer to us, such as two-factor authentication, that enable for enhanced online safety.

While these executives highlight a shared responsibility between the three entities, there is a concern that the government is not well-informed of the emerging of the Internet of Things and its applicable uses. According to a report of the 114th U.S. Congress, the average age of Members of the House was 57.0 years; and of Senators, 61.0 years. [101] This would lead many to believe that our elderly-driven government is "unfit" to secure the IoT because they are inexperienced with the ever-changing technological environment.

Regulations: PIPEDA

The fight for your personal information [102]
Businesses and government are regulated in the ways that they collect, store, and use our personal information. In Canada, the federal privacy act is known as the Personal Information Privacy and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

PIPEDA sets the ground rules for how private-sector organizations collect, use, and disclose our information for commercial activities.[103] Commercial activities are defined as: “any particular transaction, act, or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists.”[104]

What is Personal Information?

PIPEDA identifies personal information as anything that includes:[105]

  • Name, race, ethnic origin, religion, marital status, educational level;
  • E-mail address and messages, IP (Internet protocol) address;
  • Age, height, weight, medical records, blood type, DNA code, fingerprints, voiceprint;
  • Income, purchases, spending habits, banking information, credit/debit card data, loan or credit reports, tax returns;
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) or other identification numbers

Consent versus Non Consent

With consent, PIPEDA allows businesses to collect, disclose, and use your private information with consent for reasonable and stated causes.[106] These causes can be for things such as email promotions and tracking your shopping habits through their site via cookies.

Without consent, an organization may use your personal information without your consent only if:[107]

  1. There is belief that your information can be useful for investigating a possible violation of a federal, provincial or foreign jurisdiction
  2. It can be used in response to an emergency situation that may threaten an individual’s safety
  3. It is used for a research purpose(s) that cannot be achieved without using the information, additionally, the information must be kept confidential in the process

How to Protect Yourself

While regulations are enforced against businesses and government regarding the security and use of our personal information, we can still do things that ensure the protection of our online footprint. John Shier, a senior advisor at SOPHOS IT recommended that consumers should:[108]

  1. Purchase IoT and smart devices from trusted brands
  2. Enable automatic updating to ensure that the latest security patches are implemented
  3. Change passwords if the device prompts you to, as most devices will have a default password like burgerboy333
  4. Put the device on a separate/unique network to mitigate the risk of malware spreading
  5. Never connect your device to a public WiFi network. That's just silly.

While all of these points are important, we believe there is one more thing that you should do as a consumer:

  • Read the Privacy Policy - all companies collecting/storing your personal information should have some form of privacy policy online. Give this a read to see how your information is being used. While this may seem like a hassle and the words that companies put on their privacy policy seem useless given all the data breaches, you do have privacy rights, and they are highly valuable.

The Future of Privacy in IoT

Future of privacy [109]

The biggest issue that the Internet of Things will bring to society is the prevalent problem of personal confidentiality and who can access your sensitive data. The world is becoming more and more connected by the day, and society is moving to a place where there are cameras placed everywhere for surveillance. The government will certainly have to step in, but there are limitations to that as we can see from experience and history that the government reacts slowly to changes in technology. For instance, in the last year, Bitcoin was the talk of the town, and everyone was trying to get his or her hands on this intangible coin. The government did not know how to react to it and took a long time to figure out how to classify it and they are still in the process of trying to figure out how to tax the item. Now, take this example and apply it to IoT and you will see that protecting one’s personal data/privacy is harder than it seems. The government would need first to understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) is and all of the components that comprise it. With how the government operates (in Canada anyways), there are tedious processes of passing bills through the House of Commons to finally get it placed into legislation/regulations. These things can take years, and as we recently experienced, it took an extended period to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Therefore, in the future, your privacy could very likely be compromised by hackers who want access to your information. For instance, most recently, there was a couple who broke up, and the guy that was a part of the couple had used IoT against his former girlfriend.[110] This is one of the scariest things that IoT can do, but then again, let’s talk about travel premiums.


Internet of Advertisements [111]
The IoT group for the Fall 2018 semester (D100) thinks that the Internet of Things will continue to grow at an exponential rate. There have recently been promotions by big tech firms like Amazon and Google who are pushing out their IoT products named “Alexa” and “Google Home” respectively. Slowly, we are finding ourselves with IoT devices all around our homes as companies continue to push their IoT devices onto consumers with deeply discounted products around the holiday season. We believe in the future, everyone in first-world countries will have the capital to buy these devices for convenience, but we figured that the big tech firms have an ulterior motive where they are collecting our data in mass [112]. This data will then be used for marketing purposes to get the same consumers who have IoT devices to buy more products and suddenly everything around us will be covered in ads.

The ad problem is already happening as we speak. For instance, every search you make on Amazon will be logged in Amazon’s database so that they can market products to you that you would have not otherwise bought. Take out your Google Pixel 2 phone, and you’ll find that Google has warnings for you about the time it takes for you to get to work.[113] This can be seen as a breach of privacy as it is almost as if someone is cyberstalking you.

Additionally, with privacy concerns becoming more and more prevalent, we have good reason to believe that IoT will create jobs in this field. For instance, there are now privacy officer positions available for companies who are concerned about the confidentiality of their information.[114] Although, IoT will automate jobs like personal assistants (Google Home provides this service), it will also create jobs like the one I just mentioned with regards to privacy. It may displace jobs for a little while, but as people adapt to it, they will find jobs that need filling in order to fulfill a unique need that IoT will bring up.

Lastly, our group predicts that IoT will affect every industry except education because it is hard to automate the art of teaching. We believe that humans are required to teach other humans because of the emotional connection and drive we provide our students with. We also predict that IoT will be integrated into every small business that has a PC by 2025. Also, we anticipate that government bodies will adapt IoT devices and provide subsidies for homeowners who decide to let these IoT devices to monitor their homes. This would allow the government to make better decisions with the extra data that they have collected. We also make a prediction that IoT will play a role in the lifespan of humans by decreasing the number of years we live. For instance, instead of doing exercise/activities that are required by humans to stay healthy, IoT may automate so much of our activities that we may end up as inactive stationary objects who just watch time go by. As dark as the predictions may sound, they are very plausible and could really come to life in the years to come.


Eric Wong Bryan Wong Trevor Chernoff Jacqueline Sananikone
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada


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