If there’s one thing that’s exciting and puzzling the tech community at the moment, it’s the growing development of the networking practice known as the Internet of Things.

While tech talking to each other has been around for a while, the rapid development of smart speakers, smart lightbulbs and so on has begun to ask experts some serious questions, especially around issues of security and safety, but more of that later.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the very real uses the Internet of Things concept is being used for and what it means for ordinary households up and down the country.

Have you ever sat in your car, which is linked to your smartphone, and asked it to record your favourite show on Sky through your phone’s App? For those of us who can’t even figure out the source of unfreezing our Apps on a Mac, this is mind-blowing.

However, the progression makes perfect sense as we look for greater connectivity between our devices and the immediacy of asking Alexa to dim lights, play music and remind us about dental appointments.

But the development of devices sharing data is not just for comfort it has very real advantages for helping older or more vulnerable people live independently, for example. Smart speakers, smart heating and sensors all go a long way in helping agencies monitor how someone is living without directly interfering in their day-to-day life. And no longer will older people have to wear devices that need pressing to call for help, if the monitors don’t pick it up first, a simple cry for Alexa to call your emergency contact will have help to you in minutes.

But while the benefits are certainly there the security aspect is becoming a growing issue. What of stand-alone devices that while able to receive data have no way of being updated against hacks or viruses? How do we protect them and what would happen if your smart lightbulb suddenly went rogue?

The other obvious issue with interconnected devices is how quickly and easily a virus could be spread between them, taking down a whole household or office network in minutes. Keeping on top of security issues is hard enough at the best of times. While this might be inconvenient at home, for an office, particularly one that holds confidential information, a cyber-attack could be devastating.

The Internet of Things is fascinating, fun and certainly something we’ll see developing even further long into the future but there is a cloud on its horizon and before business, big or small, sign up to greater interconnected devices there are some serious questions around security that need to be answered.

How would you cope if your network came under attack? How many of your devices would suffer at the same time? Whether home or work, there are things we should be doing right now to prepare ourselves. Ask the experts and do your research before the worst happens.