This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
 

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Pros and Cons of the IoT (Internet of Things)

Imagine a scenario when:

– Your fridge can identify that you have run out of milk; it contacts the supermarket and orders the quantity you usually need, and also informs you by sending a message on your phone!
– Your alarm rings at 6:30 am; you wake up and switch it off. As soon as you switch off your alarm, it conveys to the geyser to heat water at a temperature you prefer and also the coffee maker starts brewing coffee!
– You are on your way while returning home from work and you use an app on your mobile to switch on the lights, the AC in your home, and tune the TV to your favorite channel so that your house is ready to welcome you before you even open your door!

Sounds like science fiction right? Well, the Internet of Things (IoT) can now turn this fiction into a fact!
The term ‘Internet of Things’ was first put forward by Kevin Ashton as the title of a presentation he made at Procter and Gamble in 1999. Also referred to as The Internet of Everything, it is a proposed setup in which existing, common day-to-day inanimate objects like machines and appliances and also people and animals will be connected in a network and will be able to exchange data.
Objects and machines will be able to send and receive messages to each other, eliminating the intervention of humans.

These objects will contain embedded technology, and the means of communication will be RFID (radio-frequency identification), wireless technologies, and even QR codes (Quick Response codes). They will be connected within the current framework of the Internet. Every device connected to Internet of Things will be uniquely identified by its IP address. The IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) will have to be used as this kind of a network will generate a huge requirement of IP addresses, and the currently used Ipv4 is incapacitated to include them. The brains of these objects will be sensors. These sensors are microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that will respond to changes in temperature, sound, humidity, pressure, motion, light, time, weight, etc., and take the necessary action that they are programmed to. This information can also be sent to a data center where it can be analyzed.

APPLICATIONS
This technology has a lot of applications in various fields. Following are some possible areas where we can leverage the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to solve day-to-day problems. However, it can be put to many more uses.

Smart Cities
The IoT can be used to monitor the vibrations of buildings, bridges, and monuments in case the building material is threatened or overloaded. Noise pollution can be controlled around hospitals and schools. It can be used to manage traffic especially during traffic jams, peak hours, accidents, and rains. It can be used to manage street lights―automatically switch them off in the presence of sunlight and switch them on at the onset of darkness. Another good application is alerting the officials to empty the trash bins when filled with waste.

Home Automation
The IoT can be used to remotely control and program the appliances in your home. It can be useful in detecting and avoiding thefts.

Industrial Automation
By using this technology, we can automate manufacturing processes remotely. It can also prove useful in optimizing the production processes. We can manage the inventory and the supply chain. We can also diagnose if the machines require repair and maintenance. We can monitor the emission of toxic gases to avoid damage to workers’ health and the environment.

Health Monitoring
We can use this technology to identify health problems. The patterns of heart rate, pulse, digestive system, and blood pressure can be monitored and diagnosed for anomalies. The information can be sent to the doctor for analysis. The hospital can also be contacted in times of emergencies. This system will be very useful to senior citizens and disabled people who live independently.

Smart Environment
A very important application of IoT is detecting pollution and natural calamities. We can monitor the emissions from factories and vehicles to minimize air pollution. We can track the release of harmful chemicals and waste in rivers and the sea, thereby arresting water pollution. We can also keep tabs on the quality of water being supplied for drinking. We can send warnings of earthquakes and tsunamis by detecting tremors. We can keep the water level of rivers and dams under surveillance to be alert in case of floods. The detection of forest fire is also possible with this technology.

PROS
Automation of daily tasks leads to better monitoring of devices
The IoT allows you to automate and control the tasks that are done on a daily basis, avoiding human intervention. Machine-to-machine communication helps to maintain transparency in the processes. It also leads to uniformity in the tasks. It can also maintain the quality of service. We can also take necessary action in case of emergencies.

Efficient and Saves Time
The machine-to-machine interaction provides better efficiency, hence; accurate results can be obtained fast. This results in saving valuable time. Instead of repeating the same tasks every day, it enables people to do other creative jobs.

Saves Money
Optimum utilization of energy and resources can be achieved by adopting this technology and keeping the devices under surveillance. We can be alerted in case of possible bottlenecks, breakdowns, and damages to the system. Hence, we can save money by using this technology.

Better Quality of Life
All the applications of this technology culminate in increased comfort, convenience, and better management, thereby improving the quality of life.

CONS
Loss of privacy and security
As all the household appliances, industrial machinery, public sector services like water supply and transport, and many other devices all are connected to the Internet, a lot of information is available on it. This information is prone to attack by hackers. It would be very disastrous if private and confidential information is accessed by unauthorized intruders.

Compatibility
As devices from different manufacturers will be interconnected, the issue of compatibility in tagging and monitoring crops up. Although this disadvantage may drop off if all the manufacturers agree to a common standard, even after that, technical issues will persist. Today, we have Bluetooth-enabled devices and compatibility problems exist even in this technology! Compatibility issues may result in people buying appliances from a certain manufacturer, leading to its monopoly in the market.

Complexity
The IoT is a diverse and complex network. Any failure or bugs in the software or hardware will have serious consequences. Even power failure can cause a lot of inconvenience.

Lesser Employment of Menial Staff
The unskilled workers and helpers may end up losing their jobs in the effect of automation of daily activities. This can lead to unemployment issues in the society. This is a problem with the advent of any technology and can be overcome with education.

Technology Takes Control of Life
Our lives will be increasingly controlled by technology, and will be dependent on it. The younger generation is already addicted to technology for every little thing. We have to decide how much of our daily lives are we willing to mechanize and be controlled by technology.
This technology, just like every other technology, has its advantages and disadvantages. We have to be well-equipped to leverage its power while not letting it control us.

The Internet of Things seems an intriguing concept, and is ready to revolutionize our daily lives. According to Gartner Inc., it is estimated that by the year 2020, around 26 billion devices will be connected to it.

Advantages and Disadvantages Internet

The Internet
A global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols. – The Oxford Dictionary
During our evolutionary journey from “Homo erectus” to “Neanderthal” and then to “Homo sapiens”, we have come a long way. Because of our continuous quest for more amenities and better standard of living, we have been able to invent and discover many new things. The nineties witnessed a major revolution with the invention of the first electronic digital computers. Till then, the term Internet was practically unknown to most people. However, today, the Internet has become the most powerful tool for people around the world. With the advent of Internet, our earth has virtually reduced in size and has attained the form of a global village.

The Internet can be explained as a network of computers, designed to receive and send data in the form of e-mails, blogs, webcasts, etc. To put it simply, it can be likened to a super-massive server, armed with a plethora of information which is used by billions of people simultaneously. The Internet is basically “a network that connects other, smaller networks”. All modern technologies are connected by the Internet, thereby leaving no stone unturned. This digital world can be a playground for some and a battlefield for others.

The Internet has become an indispensable business tool, which has helped bring the world closer. Receiving news from across the world, accessing knowledge resources, and shopping online are simply a click away. The Internet has tremendous potential and a lot to offer in terms of services. However, like every other innovation in science and technology, the Internet comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, which have been discussed in this Buzzle article.

Advantages of the Internet

The Internet has been mankind’s greatest means of communication yet. Newer innovations are only making it faster and more reliable. Today, we can initiate real-time communication with someone who is in another part of the world.
For more personal and interactive communication, it is possible to avail the facilities of video conferencing, chat and messenger services. With the help of these services, the geographically fragmented countries have come together to form a community that is able to share its thoughts on global issues, that affect each and every one of us. The Internet has given us a common platform and medium through which we are able to explore other cultures and ideologies.

The Internet is a treasure trove of information; which offers knowledge on any given topic under the sun. Search engines make information accessible on various subject matters such as, government law and services, trade fairs and conferences, market information, new innovations and technical support, and even dispense advice on love and relationships matters.
It has become common practice to seek assistance from the web in order to research and gather resources for homework, office presentations, and supplement one’s own research. The web also updates news about the latest breakthroughs in the field of medicine, technology, and other domains of science. Numerous websites, such as America’s Doctor, have made it possible to seek online advice from specialist doctors without having to actually fix an appointment.

The Internet has become an essential propagator of knowledge, both through free as well as paid services. The credibility of this form of education and whether it is safe, secure, and trustworthy, is usually proven through the quality and authenticity of content presented by each website. The World Wide Web has become a remarkable avenue for the academically unprivileged, to amass greater knowledge and know-how on subjects.
The entire scope of homeschooling has expanded because of increased accessibility to videos of teachers giving lectures, showing diagrams and explaining concepts, much like a real classroom. Nonprofit organizations too have opened websites that seek volunteers and donations in order to help the ones in need. There are also sites like Wikipedia, Coursera, Babbel, Archive, and Teachertube, among others, that have dedicated themselves to impart knowledge to people of all age groups.

Entertainment is one of the foremost reasons why people prefer surfing the Web. In fact, the Internet has gained much success by marketing for several multifaceted entertainment industries. Finding the latest updates about celebrities and exploring lifestyle websites have become day-to-day activities of many Internet consumers. On the other hand, even celebrities are using the Internet effectively for promoting their cause and for keeping their fans happy.
There are innumerable games that can be download, either for a price or for free. Indeed, online gaming has tasted dramatic and phenomenal success because of its ever-increasing demand throughout the world.

One cannot imagine a social life without Facebook or Twitter. These portals have become our means to stay connected with friends and family, and stay in touch with the latest happenings in the world. Social networking has also evolved as a great medium to connect with like-minded individuals and become a part of interesting groups and communities.
Apart from finding long-lost friends, the Internet also makes it easier to search and apply for jobs and business opportunities on forums and communities. There are public chat rooms where users can meet new people. For those who are single, the Internet also provides the option to select a suitable dating partner through secure online profiles, that can be filtered as per personal preferences.

Thanks to numerous monetary services, we can perform all our financial transactions online. We can book tickets for a movie, transfer funds, pay utility bills and taxes without having to leave our homes or offices. Travel websites for instance, offer quick booking schemes and plan itineraries as per the preferences of their clients.
E-commerce is used for all type of business dealing that involves the transfer of money through the Internet. Online transaction of money has become the norm with almost all kinds of business. E-commerce, with its vast reach over a variety of products and services, makes it possible to have the client’s orders delivered at their doorsteps. Websites such as eBay allow customers to bid, buy, sell, and even auction products online.

Disadvantages of the Internet

The use of Internet for banking, social networking, or other services, often makes our personal information vulnerable to theft. There are no fail-proof ways to securing names, account numbers, addresses, photos, and credit card numbers from being stolen or misused by thieving websites and individuals.
Unscrupulous hackers can access our sensitive information through unsecured connections by planting phishing software. Needless to say, the damage caused by having our identities misused and our accounts broken into, is often irreparable and most of all, embarrassing.

Spamming refers to sending unwanted e-mails, which serve no purpose and needlessly obstruct the computer system. Such illegal activities can be very frustrating as it makes it slower to access our email accounts and makes the entire service unreliable for consumers.
Spammers usually use bots that bombard the receiver with an endless line of advertisements. This can prove to be increasingly perplexing, as it keeps getting mixed with our more important emails. Fortunately, email service providers often have security systems in place to guard against spamming. Fortunately, it is possible to report an email as spam, so that all emails from the same email id or IP address, are blocked.

One of the most annoying problems with the Internet is the ease with which any malware can infect our computers. Internet users are often plagued by virus attacks that harm their computers and important files. Virus programs are inconspicuous and may get activated simply by clicking a seemingly harmless link. Computers connected to the Internet are extremely prone to IP targeted virus attacks that may end up crashing the system completely.
Internet virus can be of three types. The first affects files and goes directly for a particular file/file type. The second harms the system and executable boot files, and can stop the computer from starting again. The third is the macro virus, the most common as well as the most harmless. It simply keep changing things like symbols on word files. Worms are a type of virus that replicate and spread themselves. When a virus is disguised as something else, it’s known as a Trojan.

Pornography and age-inappropriate content is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Internet. The worst being underage porn, which is largely rampant in the deeper parts of the web. It is the lack of control over the distribution and unrestricted access of pornographic material, that is detrimental to children. All that parents can do, is lock harmful sites and monitor the sites viewed by their children.
Pornography is not just frowned upon by most societies, it’s also banned by some. The Internet makes uploading shocking content so easy, that we end up coming across inappropriate words and images, despite not wanting to.

The biggest problem with having the Internet is, its ability to create rifts between the real and virtual world. The virtual world can often seem so alluring that once hooked, going back to real life seems daunting. There is an addiction for everything that pertains to the web and that includes excessive surfing, online gambling, social networking, and gaming addiction.

There are now psychiatric clinics and doctors that specifically cater to resolving the problems created by the Internet. These addictions create both physical as well as mental issues that can lead to health complications if left unattended. It is ironic that, while it is easy to find plenty of online support for agoraphobia, the Internet itself can be a big cause or trigger for it.

The link between obesity and the Internet is rather easy to understand. The more one sits in front of the computer, the lesser one exercises. At the end of the longish list of physical and emotional maladies, is depression. Since all problems are so deeply linked with one another and with the Internet, it isn’t uncommon for people to be afflicted with multiple issues. Recent studies and research have gone deep enough to actually differentiate between compulsive Internet use and excessive Internet use. Furthermore, thanks to smartphones, holding a simple face-to-face conversation seems out of the ordinary as compared to chatting online.

Thus, even though the Internet has the potential to make our lives simple and convenient, it also holds the power to wreak havoc. Its influence on us is mostly dictated by the choices we make while being online. With prudent use, we can manage to harness its unlimited potential and steer clear of its adverse effects.

Intranet and Internet

The age of information technology owes everything to the development of computer networking. It’s the linking up of computers on ever-widening scales, that has turned our long sought after dream of making the world’s knowledge freely accessible, into reality. If all computer networks are arranged in an ascending order of complexity and scaling, two types of networks will lie at extreme ends. One is of course the ‘Internet’ and the other, which may be functional in your company, is an ‘Intranet’.

Intranet Vs. Internet Comparison

Computer networking forms the fundamental basis of intranet and Internet. It enables the sharing of resources and information among a group of computers. The first operational computer network was created for the United States Department of Defense and was known as ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). Since then, networking technology and architecture evolved in complexity and sophistication, to provide us with the internet. The synergy of advanced network computing hardware and sophisticated networking software based on Internet protocols has made this possible. As you will see ahead, an intranet and the Internet are two widely separated points on the scale of networking complexity, which serve to provide the most efficient form of information and resource sharing.

Definition

Intranet is an internal private computer network or connection of one or more computer networks, whose use and access is restricted to an organization and its employees or members. These kinds of networks are used for ease of information sharing and communication in companies. In industries, based on the information technology, intranets are absolutely necessary, as their work involves a high degree of data sharing and collaboration among computer users. Such an intranet, mostly operates through a website, run by a local server, acting as a resource sharing medium. You could call it a scaled-down private Internet. Transfer of data over such a private website based network may be controlled using the Internet protocols like HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). However, not all intranets use private websites. There may be organizations where intranets are meant for pure file sharing, with no private website or Internet protocol use required.

The very fact that you are accessing information through the Internet, demonstrates that you already have an idea about what the Internet or ‘International Network’ can do for you. Take small networks spread in a small region of your city, then integrate them with other such small networks to form local area networks (LANs). Then integrate all such local area networks to form a wide area network of computers. Next, integrate such wide area networks (WANs) into a national network. Subsequently, join all such national networks together. What you ultimately end up with, is the Internet! It is a single network that connects computers all over the world using Internet protocols, which make information sharing and routing possible. The main point of difference between intranet and Internet is the following. While intranet involves the networking of a few hundred computers, Internet is a network of more than billion computers spread worldwide! It uses an ever improving set of Internet protocols (HTTP, FTP, SMTP, etc.) to transfer data. Unlike the intranet, the Internet and the information sharing service called the ‘World Wide Web’, which we operate on, cannot function without these protocols.

Structure, Scale & Complexity

The structure of an intranet is similar in principle to the Internet. Both use a server-client structure and both networks transfer data using Internet protocols. However, they fundamentally differ due to the vast difference in networking scale and complexity.

With billions of computers sharing and transferring data amongst each other, the administration of the Internet is far more complex, as it is the mother of all computer networks. A large amount of networking and routing hardware is needed to connect all the computers worldwide. On the other hand, an intranet, being restricted to a few computers is easier to manage.

Server Control

One of the most fundamental points of difference is server control. An intranet is controlled by a single server, which can adequately handle all tasks. A single server or server cluster has absolute control over the entire network.

The Internet is operated by a linked set of billions of computer servers world wide. This is due to the sheer size of data that’s exchanged over the Internet, making it inevitable, that control centers be decentralized. It is the difference between the governing of a city and governing a nation. Decentralization is essential. Governed by a common architecture, servers spread world wide exchange data with client computers through the use of Internet protocols.

Uses

An intranet is built in an organization, to enable resource sharing and provide a rapid communication channel that efficiently connects team members and peers. Corporate intranets have restricted access controlled by user ids and passwords, which are not accessible to anybody on the outside. In some cases, external access may be granted through the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to let distant employees connect with the network. Intranets provide a limited set of services, which are required by the organization. Improvement in productivity, cost saving and rapid communication are some of the inherent advantages of an intranet.

The Internet and the intranet differ in their uses. Internet is a global network which has information sharing on a global level as its goal. Internet is more open in the sense, that everything shared here, is accessible to every person connected to it, all over the world. One of the major points of differentiation is the range of services offered. Internet offers all possible spectrum of services to its users, compared to the very restricted number of services offered by Intranets. From cloud computing, e-mail, FTP, world wide web, peer-to-peer data sharing to VoIP services and more, Internet caters to every global netizen’s needs.

The difference is primarily the scaling, complexity and manageability, while the fundamental principles and technologies underlying both networks remain the same.

Negative Effects Internet to Children

Internet has proved to be one of the most innovative inventions for us. It has made its presence felt in every sphere of our life, be it economy, society, health care, spirituality, etc. Prominent among its benefits is the impact it has had on the education sector. Students can now gain access to innumerable research papers, apart from getting latest updates in the field of science and technology. But as they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, Internet has created new challenges for the society and most threatening among these is the impact it has had on children. Internet addiction has been recognized as a disorder in many countries, and rehabilitation centers have been created to help people to get over it. The sad part of this whole phenomenon is that a large proportion of Internet addicts are youngsters, who are extremely vulnerable to its ill-effects. There are several advantages and disadvantages of Internet but in this article, we will focus on its negative effects.

Internet and Children

Internet Addiction Disorder
Although studies on this disorder are in preliminary stages, it has been established that children who spend most of their time on the Internet, show a peculiar kind of behavior which is marked by an urge to be on the Internet all the time, so much that the child may shun all activities and become immersed in the virtual world. Surveys conducted over the years have found that most people who suffer from Internet addiction disorder are young adults, who easily fall into the lure of exploring everything that is available on the Internet. In America alone, it has been estimated that around 10-15 million people are suffering from Internet addiction disorder, and this is increasing at the rate of 25% every year.

Reduced Physical Activity
There are a host of games that are available on the Internet and this has made most children to shun all outdoor activity. In the absence of physical activity, children can easily fall prey to a lot of lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, apart from failing to develop interpersonal skills. Apart from these factors, sitting continuously in front of a computer screen can seriously damage our eyes, and put a strain on our neck and shoulders. Children are in their developing years and these factors can create life-long problems for them.

Easy Access to Pornography
This is one of the greatest threats Internet poses to children. Internet has provided an easy medium to children to gain access to pornography and this can cause them to either become sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive. This phenomenon has also caused another problem, and that is the increase in prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in children. According to reports, one out of every four teenagers gets infected with a STD every year. The adult content that is present on the Internet promotes irresponsible sex and creates false notions in the minds of students.

Vulnerability to Cyber Crime
If you have been following news lately then you must know what we are referring to. Children have been lured by pedophiles posing as good Samaritans and have been physically abused and molested. Internet has also made it easy for unscrupulous elements to get in touch with children and this has led to an increase in the cases of kidnapping and identity thefts. About 60% young teens in the United States have admitted to responding to messages from strangers. This kind of behavior is extremely risky and has made children extremely vulnerable to become victims of cyber-crime.

The points mentioned above have posed new challenges to teachers and parents. There are demands from various quarters that there should be some sort of regulation to check this issue. However, we believe that instead of making Internet a taboo, we should educate children to use it for their benefit. It is advisable for parents to monitor how much time their children spend on the Internet, and if possible set a time-limit till which they would be allowed to use the Internet. Having the computer in the living-room instead of a child’s bedroom can also ensure censorship on what they are accessing on the Internet. It is also important that you talk to them about ‘the birds and the bees’ because if you do not talk to them, they will turn to their friends and Internet for answers which may not provide authentic information.

Although, this article is foucused on the negative effects of internet, it in no way means that we are undermining the importance of Internet in our lives. We have written this article for the Internet audience, and you are reading it through the Internet, which itself explains the positive side of Internet usage. It is for us to decide whether we use technology for the betterment of our lives or put it to unabated abuse. Children may not be mature enough to understand this, but we as parents, teachers and guardians need to ensure that we inculcate the right behavior in our children.