What is IoT?

What is IoT?

IoT is Interet of Things. This means that anything could be connected online. Today’s main mobile network standards – 2G, 3G, 4G – have enabled IoT for many years. Also, it has always been possible to connect things online via a cable. Smart watches, cars, refrigerators and even kitchen appliances are becoming part of our daily lives. 5G will revolutionize the mobile network enabling to interconnect thousands of times more devices thanks to large capacity, fast speeds and almost zero end-to-end network latency. 5G enables devices to communicate with each other, while 4G does not have this capability. 5G is also designed for IoT where devices are powered by long-lasting batteries. This will enable devices to transmit data online for as long as ten years without having to recharge or connect to a cable. In short – IoT means that in 2035 our world will be fully digitalized – cars will communicate with other cars, refrigerators will communicate with online stores, etc. This will be a world which will free people from tedious tasks.

Some examples of IoT already available today, and a peek in the future

Today, IoT is most visible in Singapore, UK, USA, and China

In healthcare, IoT and 5G will take us a huge step forward, especially in terms of accessibility to patient information. Already today, several hospitals across the world have “smart beds” that can detect whether the patient is lying down or is trying to stand up. 5G also enables to use biosensors that transmit patients’ vital signs and other relevant information to doctors. This remote monitoring of patients’ health enables to save costs on hospital care.

In business, IoT will enable new business models, e.g. fully automated stores, remotely controlled duction lines, and fully automated farms. IoT will change how companies are run, and how data will be used to manage work processes. Additionally, IoT will enable digitalization of products and services, and those companies who use IoT will have an advantage on the market.

At home, many devices can be connected online - entrance systems, temperature and humidity sensors, kitchen appliances, entertainment devices. IoT enables to control everything via one screen.

IoT in Estonia

IoT has been in Estonia for quite a while now

However, up until now, it has mostly been used by large companies to manage their machinery. The largest IoT project was setting up the remote electricity meter reading system - 630,000 meters where automated by 2017.

Read more:digitark.ee/telia-ja-kaariku-spordibaas-hakkavad-koos-arendama-terviseandmete-analuusi-tulevikutehnoloogiaid/

Telia has been a part of all large IoT projects in Estonia, mostly as a connection provider. However, Telia has also taken up new challenges, e.g. by developing IoT at the Kääriku sports center together with the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, and the Estonian Olympic Committee. The goals is to build the best sports center in the world with the best tools for gathering and analyzing physical condition of athletes.

Telia is also working on the Tartu SmartEnCity project where 22 apartment buildings will be renovated and equipped with IoT. For example, IoT will gather data from solar panels, heating systems, and ventilation systems.

Additionally, Telia and University of Tartu have opened an IoT lab in Tartu at 17 Ülikooli str. This is a unique lab in the Baltics, aimed to help IT students and develop innovative R&D projects. The lab has a network of various AI-capable electronic devices and sensors which gather and exchange data.
Read more:telia.ee/et/ari/muud-teenused/iot

Tallinn is a home for Estonia’s first smart street – Kalaranna street. IoT is used to monitor air pollution, traffic intensity, and even the status of waste bins. Live data streaming: www.eliko.ee/smartstreet


The more devices are connected online, the more important is security of the connection

IoT is an easy target for cyber criminals who can take advantage of security flaws and low security knowledge of users. For example, it is possible to use security holes to attack the system, send malware via email, steal personal data, and even affect physical security. Potentially, security risks in IoT will move from the cyber world into the real world, for example by attaching traffic vehicles.

Security risks:
  • Default password has not been changed. All default passwords must be changed immediately upon purchase of the device. Additionally, devices must be protected with a firewall.
  • Unsecure wireless networks. These networks may be used to run automated systems, e.g. security systems, garage doors, lightning systems. Attackers can use brute force to obtain administrative right and monitor users’ activities, traffic, and even activate/deactivate security systems, record audio or video, and steal users’ personal data.
  • There has been a case in Estonia where an attacker used a WiFi router’s default password to hack the system and cause damage amounting to thousands of euros.
  • Home network devices, e.g TVs, multimedia centers, are capable of sending out spam emails. If these devices are not protected, they can send out thousands of emails without the owner’s knowledge (source: Information System Authority of Estonia). In 2013, one smart refrigerator was among more than 100 smart devices used in DDOS attack, which was orchestrated to send out more than 750,000 spam emails. (source: IOT and security b CIA“)