This Week in IoT: Security, Cheap Computing, Cool Products

December 4, 2015

Welcome to a new series where we will take a look at some of the IoT news and themes from the past week, especially the interesting stories you may have missed.

IoT security was a big theme this week and that’s no surprise given the recent Vtech toy data breach involving 6.3 million children. Parents purchasing web-enabled toys may not think of them as IoT devices, but smart connected products come in all shapes and sizes. Hackers who seized this information had access to chat transcripts between parents and their kids, as well as photos taken by the device. Investigations into the exact impact of this breach are still ongoing.

A new report out this week claims that the global IoT security market, valued at $55.6 million in 2014, is expected to reach $464 million in 2020. This growth will, in part, be driven by the expectations of convenience and “lifestyle” that users derive from connected devices. That may be a tough sell to a slight majority of consumers, though. In a recent survey, 52% of consumers don’t believe most IoT devices available in the marketplace have the necessary security in place and 82% don’t trust having their personal data tied to IoT devices.

Speaking of devices, researchers at the University of Washington are looking at new ways to power the billions of devices that will be connected to the IoT. Specifically, they are researching the use of spare WiFi channels to provide electricity to low-power devices such as sensors, which will break down a key barrier to the proliferation of more devices.

Besides easy access to power, another key to the billion-device explosion is cheap computing elements like the Raspberry Pi board. Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton recently spoke to the IoT Podcast with Stacey Higginbotham about cheap computing and the Pi Zero, also known asthe $5 computer.

Finally, we have to include one of the many end-of-year roundups that list the coolest IoT products of 2015. The list from CRN includes entries from Google, Cisco, Samsung, GE, Amazon, and more. Check out the list and brush up on some of the devices and technologies that will surely make news in the coming year.

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