Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.
Every second of every day, on average, 127 new devices are connected to the internet, becoming part of the nebulous entity most commonly called the Internet of Things. That's according to a report by technologist Gilad David Maayan printed in January in Security Today. Per Maayan's math, more than 4 billion new internet-enabled devices will join the throng by year's end.
Nobody really knows exactly how many web-connected devices are already linked in (so to speak), but everyone agrees that the number is in the tens of billions and, as noted above, rapidly swelling. So there are already a massive amount of devices that send and receive data via the web, so much so that the number is almost beyond comprehension, so big that it's practically meaningless.
There are elements of a central plan in place: Each new device that rolls off the factory floor is assigned a UID, or unique identifier, a numeric or alphanumeric code that is solely assigned to that single device. There are various gradations used to further classify Internet of Things devices by their functionality, capability, componentry, intended use, and so forth.
Yet, like the internet itself, the internet of things is already spread across various geographic boundaries and legal jurisdictions. It already encompasses devices from a vast range of manufacturers, with almost innumerably various applications and functions. We don't even all agree about the terminology used to discuss the Internet of Things.
Given the speed at which the Internet of Things is growing, then, and the constantly shifting array of forces that contribute to that growth, it seems to question both a) how long everyone can just keep adding tiny pieces to the gigantic whole, and b) is there a point at which we overload the existing system and parts of it come crashing down around our collective heads?
Since we recently had a number of certified computer networking professionals on the line during our Computer Networking Certification Survey, we decided to gauge whether such concerns are needlessly overstating the problem. Is questioning the existing arrangement much ado about nothing, or is there reason to think seriously about looming challenges?
Here's what we learned:
Q: How concerned are you about the long-term sustainability of the Internet of Things?
Very Concerned — 25.9 percent
Concerned — 35.3 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 21.6 percent
Not Concerned — 17.3 percent
Q: How concerned are you about the long-term stability of the Internet of Things?
Very Concerned — 30.2 percent
Concerned — 37.4 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 19.4 percent
Not Concerned — 12.9 percent
There's a substantial cohort of the certified professionals who responded to the survey who clearly view this aspect of the Internet of Things with alarm. Roughly one-fourth are very concerned about the long-term sustainability of the Internet of Things, while nearly a third are very concerned about its long-term stability.
That's just the individuals, of course, who probably lose at least a little sleep each year worrying about the problem. More than half of respondents are either concerned (35.3 percent) or somewhat concerned (21.6 percent) about the long-term sustainability of the Internet of Things, while close to 60 percent of respondents are either concerned (37.4 percent) or somewhat concerned (19.4 percent) about its long-term stability.
Society, in other words, has another looming infrastructure crisis to confront. There's only so many times that we can kick the can down the road before getting to the end of the line.