If you link a computer, tablet, smartphone, sensor, TV or any other electronic gadget to the Internet so that it can communicate with other appliances that are also attached to the network, you have what is called a connected device.

Imagine your car automatically transacting with a gasoline pump, or your refrigerator letting the supermarket’s online server know that you’re running low on soda. These are some of the examples of connected devices.

Other interesting terms…

Read More about a “Connected Device”

Connected Device

Challenges in Developing a Connected Device

The technological revolution ushered in the use of connected devices that aim to transform how people do business. But more than that, connected devices are transforming our lives. Globally, experts expect the number of connected devices to reach 75.44 billion by 2025, indicating a fivefold increase in only a decade. But that does not mean that connected devices are not prone to challenges. To ensure that they deliver on their promise, they must carefully address these issues:

1. Interoperability

As more and more devices connect to the Internet, manufacturers must address interoperability issues to ensure that these can reach their optimum potential. These devices must adhere to specific protocols to communicate with others over the Web. While this issue may not be evident to consumers, it is a significant concern for manufacturers, especially those that want to stay ahead of the competition. By 2025, consumers will spend roughly US$4 trillion on connected devices with interoperability as a top-of-mind requirement. Even today, many consumers are already apprehensive of buying connected devices that can’t communicate or aren’t compatible with other systems. They want to make sure that they spend their hard-earned money on products that would work seamlessly with their existing gadgets and network setups.

2. Privacy and Cybersecurity

Perhaps one of the most significant challenges with using connected devices has to do with privacy and safety. Many consumers who are unwilling to join the Internet of Things (IoT) bandwagon have reservations about keeping their data private and protected from threats. It has, after all, become pretty standard for cybercriminals to steal information stored on IoT devices or take control of these for nefarious ends.

Security issues are not only a consumer concern but also of national interest, as cyber attackers who are adept at seizing control of IoT devices can move on to infiltrating a smart city. Imagine the extent of the havoc they can wreak if that happens.

3. Premarket Testing

To address both interoperability and privacy issues, connected device manufacturers need to carry out premarket testing. This test involves subjecting the device to all possible scenarios such as compatibility, wireless requirements, and even operational procedures should Internet connectivity fail or when there’s a power outage. Manufacturers must also avoid producing quickly hackable products to reduce fears of losing one’s privacy or identity.

Connected devices have a considerable potential to change our lives for better or worse. And while manufacturers should do their part to optimize their products, end users also need to do their share to make sure that their insufficiently protected devices are not the cause of devastating attacks.

What’s the Difference between Connected and Smart Devices?

The primary difference between the two lies in the fact that all smart devices are connected but not all connected devices are smart.

A smart device refers to any device that connects with others on a network (i.e., a home or corporate network) or to the Internet. It uses Bluetooth, Zigbee, near-field communication (NFC), Wi-Fi, LiFi, 5G, or other connection means that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.

The difference between a smart and a connected device is that a smart device can also perform some form of ubiquitous computing (meaning it can function anytime and anywhere), including artificial intelligence (AI). They can show “intelligent behavior” and even “react” to real-world situations. Connected devices, in turn, only take simple actions, as their primary purpose is to receive and send information. 

Examples of smart devices include smartphones, smart vehicles, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, smart locks, smart refrigerators, tablets, smartwatches, smart bands, and smart key chains. All of these can be accessed through other devices, making them connected devices, too.