Internet of Things

When people ask me what I do, I usually tell them that I consult on questions that are too small or obscure to ask of a full-service marketing agency. My clients come from different backgrounds and not everyone is as tech as someone who immerses in it for fun. I was recently asked, "Internet of Things. This is supposed to be the future. Can you find out what it is all about?" This was my response:

I read about this recently. So all the usual problems that we associate with ordinary computing devices such as desktop/laptop computers, tablets, smartphones and other Internet-capable devices... like hacking, spam, identity theft are coming to appliances that are being built as internet ready.

These appliances can also be hacked. They can be made to send out email spam, their operating systems (based on computer code, not some rudimentary machine language) can be infected with a computer virus or trojan horse. And as such, no one is building security measures like anti-identity theft or anti-virus software for it.

The "new" devices that I am talking about are any appliance turned into a wireless or wired Internet-capable device: washing machines (already in the Kenmore elite line where you can troubleshoot its internal problems with a smartphone), refrigerators that are connected to a home network so photos or calendar reminders can be shared on its front door, trucks and passenger vehicles are very advanced computing devices, televisions, a "smart" home (as in real property that has been assigned an advanced computer system to run most things like a/c, security, hardwired networking, music and home theater), etc.

Some of these things with Internet capability have been in the open market for years, maybe as much as a decade. But the number of people reporting occurrences like their refrigerator was hijacked by a virus; well, only the wealthy can afford them and if something goes wrong they can hire a computer technician or just replace the entire machine. You can already see the kind of damage and the labor hours lost when a mere computer printer gets infected by a malicious computer virus.

Base cost for a smart refrigerator with wifi and a touchscreen LCD panel will be about $4,000 retail, more or less. When these first came onto the market in the year 2000 by electronics manufacturer LG, they retailed for $20,000. 

Back in the day, some college campuses already had basic Internet-capable soda machines where students could check remotely to see if their favorite soda was in stock.

What impact do you forsee as these things become more readily available and low-enough cost for mainstream consumption?
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