A Thing in the Internet of Things


Daily Automation

John was jogging in the park, it is known that it’s good for your health. This is what they say. Especially since it had become a unique, tailor-made, personalized experience for every savvy user like John. His latest generation smartwatch was so smart that the sensors it was equipped with were able to detect and measure not only his heart and respiratory rate, but also, thanks to a hygrometer, his state of hydration. It recorded this precious data, extracted from John’s sweat, and compared it in real time with that of other runners. There was a special app with which it was possible to go up a lot in the ranking, with relatively little effort, and get a badge to access the pro level!

In order to enter the game of mutual measurement, obviously the smartwatch was connected to the Internet, not directly, but via the smartphone that housed its aerodynamic backbone. The cameras along the way, in addition to monitoring the park (for your safety, you never know what might happen!), were concerned with capturing his strides, and posting the best poses on social profiles, carefully selected by his phone, the smartest device of all.

It, the telephone, was in constant activity. For John it was more than a phone book or an assistant: it was a counselor, a friend, a second brain far more powerful than his, at times! Certainly more precise: it controlled the investments, sent the latest personalized news to the headset, monitored the cameras at home and in the office, cast an eye on the social accounts of his children and their friends and notified him of suspicious movements, visits not certified by the database “Friends and acquaintances”. That’s how it is with kids, you never know what they’re doing, of course they should be free: but better to keep an eye on them! This is what John thought.

Of course, the smartphone also controlled the profiles of his friends and colleagues, it filtered the best contents, better than if he would have selected them by himself. It remembered all the birthdays, all the anniversaries. Even those that concerned the competitors, so he did not fail to tease and rekindle old rivalries, a post on the dream holidays that awaited him, another on that contract torn from those losers of the competitors, nothing cruel, but it was good to keep things clear. And then, you know: many enemies, much honor!

But the smartphone was not only a social tool: it was also a real domestic helper, indeed, the organizer of everything. It updated the backups of its various devices. He paid his bills with a regularity that only electronic brains can have. He ordered the robot vacuum cleaner to give a pass in the kitchen and in the living room. And while it was there, in order not to remain with circuits inactive, it connected to the IoT washing machine and started a washing cycle at the perfect moment, when the sun was high and the production of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the house was optimal. And it regulated all the other consumption, also the consumption of the fridge…

“Caution! You’re getting dehydrated,” said the smartwatch on his wrist. The phone wasted no time, recalled the refrigerator’a latest inventory, but apparently only half a can of his favorite drink was available. Furthermore, John had expressed the desire, in the wishlist of one of the purchase portals he subscribed to, to try the latest special Stuff-cola, with levels of mineral salts customized according to his own social profile.

Fortunately, the fridge was a new IoT model, the Internet of Things, connected directly to the portal in question. Without wasting time to consult him, he bought a personalized Stuff-cola using his cryptocredits, passed his GPS coordinates from the phone and communicated them to the portal. A few seconds later, once the transaction and the checks had been made, a drone left the portal’s closest warehouse. It found him on the path in a few minutes and unhooked the can, made of unbreakable plastic. The headset intoned a “coming!” John stopped for a second, looked up, just in time to grab the can. Awesome! Ah, how wonderful, the Internet of Things!

At home, the shower water was at the perfect temperature. It regulated itself on the parameters of the history of showers taken daily that the telephone continually updated according to the diet indicated by his personal trainer and validated by the Health Portal and his insurance. It was good a good thing to have everything profiled all the time! Any data extracted from the subject was used to maximize the consumer experience. Other than wasting time evaluating, weighing, deciding. If you sweat, you are thirsty, and you want a fuffacola now: end of the matter.

Suddenly, a thought flashed through John’s mind. It was the case to throw away that half can that only cluttered the fridge, he seemed to remember a notification that if the fridge was clear of competitors they would have given him an extra fuffacola in the next purchase!

Caution. Credit is not enough to open. Please, select a video. You can skip advertisements between 9'', 8'', 7''…

But what was going on? It had to be a misunderstanding. The refrigerator didn’t want to open because it claimed that John didn’t have enough credits. On the other hand, the refrigerator was not his own. Like most of the smart home changeover, it was a sentient terminal on the Purchase Portal, which he had placed at home without purchasing obligations, in exchange for a ridiculous subscription.

Among other things, the technician said that it was also able to check daily for firmware updates and everything else, so he was 100% safe from any intrusion. Yes but apparently it didn’t want to open! And now, John had to put up with a video on his fridge screen, which wasn’t even in 4k, a video taken who knows where, all in order to accumulate some change and convince him to open up? But yeah, the fridge wasn’t his own, so he either paid for it or waited and paid by watching the video. This irritated him a lot. Better go for a ride.

Caution. Credit is not enough to open. Please, select a video. You can skip advertisements between 9'', 8'', 7''…

Damn it, even the built-in screen on the front door was determined to annoy him. On the other hand, they were all intelligent objects, connected to each other, and if he had no credit… Maybe it was better to watch those damn videos.

Understanding: IoT (Internet of Things)

IoT is the interconnection through the Internet of objects, often equipped with sensors: cameras, microphones and other surveillance devices; or household appliances (washing machines, refrigerators, boilers, stoves); parts of houses (doors, gates, windows); apparatus for the production of electricity (photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, turbines); cars, industrial robots, drones, consumer goods including food, clothing and so on.

Hamsters on the Consumer Wheel?

Automation is a great invention. Saves time and energy otherwise used for repetitive and tedious tasks. The technologies for realizing everyday automation had rapidly changed the way people related to each other and the objects around them, with the stated goal of creating perfectly coordinated and integrated systems.

The first step had been profiling, followed closely by gamification techniques to increase the speed of interactions more and more and make them fluid. In fact, there was talk of a liquid market, a perfect market, without friction, a dream of libertarianism, in which every interaction was measured, quantified, evaluated and therefore was likely to be bought or sold.

The Internet of Things was made up of devices for the automation of private houses and public buildings, the so-called home automation; of radio frequency RFID circuits incorporated in the clothes that communicated with each other, capable of minimizing the costs of inventory, storage, logistics, because it was possible to know at any time where there was an object equipped with an RFID tag.

It was made of drones for the delivery of purchases and sensors for fitness: all machines that carried out their program. No rebellion of the machines, on the contrary: non-humans scrupulously carried out the commands given. Nothing new compared to previous systems, but faster and less controllable, with unpredictable effects. An error in the code of an IoT camera could affect the entire network.

The Hacker Says…

If you want to take a tour in the maze of the Internet of Things, a good starting point is SHODAN, a search engine that allows you to search for bugs from smart devices, but also simply to know who is using your smart device in the world, and how.