Associate professor Jason Hong believes that we are currently living in the early stages of the third wave of computing. The first wave was about twenty years ago and was the basics of computing. Then the second wave brought us connected computers in a global network. This new wave is the incorporation of computers with the physical world in which we live. Hong calls it "computation and communication embedded into everyday objects."
Think about the connected devices that we use daily like our smart phones, GPS, heart rate monitors and health trackers or cameras. This is what is called the Internet of Things or IoT. More and more of these devices are entering the markets, and they even have the ability to change or perceive the physical world. Devices can now adjust heat and lighting for the most efficient comfort and usage levels, among hundreds of other use cases. It isn't a small market. Hong quotes the projected market for IoT devices in 2020 at 14.4 trillion by 2020.
However, Hong warns that with this new technology come new challenges for cybersecurity. "We can barely manage the security of the laptops, corporate networks, and cloud infrastructure we have today. How can we protect the billions of smart toys, smart appliances, and smart buildings of tomorrow?" he asks. His paper, "Towards a Safe and Secure Internet of Things" serves to address this question.