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What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications and each other. These devices can include everything from personal devices, such as mobile phones, to house-hold appliances, including washing machines and coffee makers that can be operated remotely when connected via wi-fi.

Why does the IoT matter?

It's all about efficiency. With people being able to better communicate with technology and their devices, we can become more aware of our activity. For example, the Australian government is encouraging energy companies to roll out smart meters by the end of 2017 in a program known as 'Power of Choice'.

These smart meters will allow consumers to monitor and manage their consumption, allowing them to use less energy. On a broader scale, the IoT can also be applied to many other areas, creating 'smart cities; that can help us reduce waste, improve efficiency and help us understand and improve how we live.

How will the IoT affect your work?

It is predicted that connected devices will likely emerge in most businesses and assist in boosting production, efficiency and organisation. For those who love data, the IoT will connect consumers in new ways and create even great access to data for businesses as they provide consumers with more interactions, enabling devices to track and record patterns of consumer behaviour.

What should you be aware of?

Currently, there are no specific laws in Australia aimed at addressing IoT issues and consumers are exposed to significant risks from IoT devices. These include:

  • Device manufacturers and suppliers not adhering to privacy laws and failing to obtain appropriate consent to collect date or track habits
  • IoT devices can be vulnerable to hacking
  • IoT devices have the potential to collect more data than what was previously possible. This data can be used to create a profile that gives great insight into the consumer and even predict behaviour.
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