In 2016 there were approximately 17.68 billion connected devices globally and predictions suggest that this could grow fourfold by 2025, but these devices also come with potentially serious drawbacks. Stericycle ExpertSOLUTIONS looks at this trend in its recently released Recall Industry Spotlight.
The biannual report, which examines trends in specific industries, found that as more connected and Internet of Things-enabled devices are integrated into our lives, security and safety concerns become more urgent. Smart thermostats, for example, are increasingly being used in homes to enable users to remotely control their heating from a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Whilst this delivers unprecedented levels of control, it also opens a digital gateway into the home, making it vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Not only is this a risk to the homeowner, but the adverse publicity can also impact on the smart thermostat brand.
The report highlights how security threats have been found in products such as toys and baby monitors, and references the hacking attack last October which used digital recorders and webcams to allegedly disable a number of popular websites, including Twitter and Spotify, disrupting millions of users. Home security systems too can be hacked, putting occupants at risk, and, as the report also states, autonomous vehicles, whilst promising almost fatality-free roads, come with the security concerns associated with connections to the Internet.
Looking at the positives, the report also highlights the advantages of the IoT in the food processing industry. It explains how Internet connected systems are increasingly being deployed to control and maintain cooling and storage facilities, reducing the incidence of spoilage or contamination and, in turn, helping to lower the necessity of food recalls.
Manufacturers of connected devices should seriously consider how their solutions could provide an opening to hackers and favor caution over speed in the race to be first to market. Safeguarding consumers, especially those who are most vulnerable, has to be front and centre when manufacturers are designing and marketing new connected solutions, whether it’s a toothbrush, a smart thermostat or a TV.
For more information, download the report here.
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