Bees, dummies and why we should embrace change

12 Oct 2015

By Michael Clark, DDLS Product Manager

We live in interesting times or to quote the exact phrase, “May you live in interesting times”.  I (like many) for a long time took this to be a favourable blessing however it dates back to an ancient Chinese curse (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luànshì rén) which can be translated as "Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a man in a chaotic period."
So do I want to be a dog at peace or a man in chaos...? Hmmm...

Rather than getting too deep, let me just alter the expression and simply state, “We live in exciting times”. I’ve spent most of my adult life embracing the chaos of change however I cannot remember a time when so much occurred within such a short period. McKinsey and Company wrote about the “Four global forces breaking all the trends” and in it they talk about four fundamental disruptive forces. Singularly, each of these represent a global influence greater than any event every recorded in economic history. The simultaneous confluence of these four forces is estimated to be 300 times greater in magnitude than the industrial revolution and approximately ten times faster.

Technological change is one of the forces quoted by McKinsey and Co and it’s believed that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a key contributor to this change. Connected “things” will range from cars, fridges, wearables - such as Google glasses and the Apple Watch, to non-traditional items that are yet to be invented. These may include the Pacif-i Smart Pacifier for newborns claiming to be the world’s first smart pacifier which will not only display your little cherub's temperature onto your smart phone but also inform helicopter parents when super-bub strays more than 20 meters from their phone. While these may seem trivial, I’m confident we’ll see more hits than misses in the future as the true benefits of IoT emerge. A great example of this is the joint project between chip maker Intel and Australia’s CSIRO who are studying the decline of the world’s bee population.  Intel have designed RFID tags so small they can be mounted to a bee’s back which act in much the same way as the Etag your car may use on tollways. Sensors can then track where and when the bee travels so they can then attempt to understand their habits and hopefully find a solution.

Advancements on this particular technology are also leading to the development of Smart Dust which is, as you might imagine, thousands of tiny sensors the size of dust particles which can be released to track temperature, chemicals composition and the overall quality of air.

Of course with so many things being connected this also leaves them vulnerable to hacking such as the My Satis smart toilet which when compromised, raises it seat up and down, squirts water and screams at you.

Then there’s the Chrysler Jeep that had its operating system hacked, allowing the perpetrators to take control of the vehicle and send it crashing into an embankment.

So, wherever this technology may take us, rest assured that the old ways of doing things just aren’t going to cut it anymore. As my scout leader so delicately put it to me all those years ago, "always be prepared". Embrace change and never stop learning as who knows what may just be around the corner. If you are interested in official security or IoT training DDLS can assist with Cisco, EC-Council and many other vendors in this space!

Exciting times indeed!