Remember the Jetsons, the space-age family? Saturday mornings gave us a portal to life far into the future. It turns out that it was not so far off after all. Smart devices are all around us. They help us get more done in our day and connect us to family and friends that are far away. Additionally, they can help run our homes and lives more efficiently. Furthermore, in a global pandemic, smart devices help children keep learning and adults working.
But, as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Are we responsible for our smart devices? Is there a downside to all this power at the touch of a finger? Keep reading to find out.
What is a Smart Device?
A smart device is an electronic device that can interact with other electronic devices or networks. Also, they can interact with the user and allow the user to interact with other electronic devices. As a result, all this connectivity forms the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices are everywhere, and we use them for more than calling or texting. Our smartphones allow us to use social media, surf the internet, check our stocks, etc.
Furthermore, we can equip our homes with smart appliances, smart temperature control, and intelligent lighting. Digital assistants use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to perform tasks and answer queries. At the sound of your voice, they can tell you the weather, the news, and scheduled appointments.
How Do Smart Devices Communicate?
As mentioned previously, smart devices are electronic devices that connect with other electronic devices. But, how do they work, and how do they communicate with us and other devices?
First, it’s essential to know how they collect data from their physical environment. They do it with sensors, which observe and measure their physical environment. After observing and measuring, they convert the data they collect to understand other smart devices or human. By observing the environment around them, sensors can measure the distance between current and desired conditions.
With all these connected devices forming the IoT, they can swap data and provide information to help in decision making. Big Data is the term given to a large amount of gathered information. Companies analyze this data to look at trends and consumer information to adapt and grow.
However, more data comes at faster rates, so analysis also needs to be faster. Artificial Intelligence mimics human intelligence in terms of cognitive thinking and problem-solving. Machine learning involves detecting patterns, making adjustments, and produce analysis at more incredible speeds. Moreover, AI can use its analytical skills and cognition to predict future trends.
How to Use Smart Devices Safely
Smart devices collect and share data to keep us entertained, informed, and productive. But, sharing that data may cost us in terms of privacy. You may be concerned about what happens with that data and where it goes. You might wonder if someone may hack your accounts with that information. Your information can be compromised, but there are many things you can do to keep your data (somewhat) private.
These six tips will help you keep your data more secure.
Have a strong Password for your Home Wi-Fi
Don’t use something that others can easily guess, such as birthdays, children’s names, etc. Use a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Adding two-factor authorization adds an extra layer of security.
Know What Data is Being Collected
Before downloading an app, find out what data it is collecting and how it’s shared.
Review your Privacy settings
Go to the settings feature on your smart device. See what information your app is sharing, i.e., location.
Download and Install Updates
Both your smart device and its applications occasionally have software updates. Those updates offer new features. Some include added security when a company has found a vulnerability that allows hackers to access your device.
Put Parental Controls in Place If You Have Children in your Home
Some devices and software applications allow you to limit what your children can access and share.
Practice Safe Connectivity
As tempting as it may be to access social media via the wi-fi at your local coffee shop, think twice before doing so. Public networks allow hackers the opportunity to get access to your device.
Smart Devices in the Workplace
In addition to helping our homes and personal lives to run more smoothly, smart devices can make us more productive at our workplace. Our smart devices can help us manage our schedules and can help colleagues to collaborate on projects. Corporations can use smart devices to regulate a building’s temperature, and lights can be turned on in a room when the light sensor detects movement. The IoT helps industries to monitor and analyze trends to maximize available resources. The best use of IoT lowers cost and increases profit.
Do Smart Devices Make Us Lazy?
Smart devices can make our lives easier and give us more free time, but what are we doing with that time? Some people find it difficult to disconnect from their smart devices, thus giving them little interaction with the people around them. Families, where each person has their own device, might find themselves communicating less with each other.
Relying too much on smart technology reduces our critical thinking skills. Allowing a GPS to direct us to our destination doesn’t give us a chance to strengthen our memory, which may lower our cognitive functioning.
Smart devices don’t make us lazy. As individuals, we can choose what to do with the extra free time that smart devices allow. Some people will put that spare time to good use, such as more time engaged in physical activity or developing new skills. However, if someone has a predisposition to laziness, they will spend extra time sitting in a chair and watching television.
The Bottom Line
Smart devices are a part of our everyday lives. They are in our homes, our schools, and our workplaces. The IoT will continue to grow at exponential rates as there is an exchange of more data. They can help us become more efficient, lower utility costs, and monitor our health. At the sound of your voice, a video call can be initiated with loved ones and connect across the miles.
But there are downfalls in the extensive use of our electronic devices if they’re not used wisely. Each time your device shares your data, you will lose some privacy, so you need to decide what personal information you want to share and set controls.
It’s also up to you how to use your time freed up due to greater efficiency. By spending more time with family, engaging in enjoyable physical activity, or pursuing a hobby, we can enhance our lives. Our smart devices can be a great asset or a great liability. It’s up to us to decide which one it is. What are your thoughts?