Certification Survey Extra: How sustainable is the Internet of Things?
Posted on
October 25, 2018

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

How sustainable is the Internet of Things? How long can explosive expansion be the order of the day?

The Internet of Things is everywhere. Both literally and figuratively, the global network of devices that connect to the internet lives in schools, places of business, public buildings, government facilities, private residences, and anywhere else that people can more or less regularly be found. Probably not so much in developing nations, but even there the Internet of Things likely has a broader reach than many would suspect.

In 2018, many people probably take the generally reliable and stable presence of the internet almost entirely for granted and attribute those same characteristics, by extension, to the Internet of Things. As devices continue to be added, however, likely at a rate approaching (or possibly exceeding) hundreds of millions per year, what level of confidence should we have that the whole thing is more Rock of Gibraltar and less house of cards?

In other words, are we in danger of overloading existing internet infrastructure? And what would the outcome look like if we were to pass an invisible or at least unsuspected tipping point? Rolling internet service outages? Catastrophic failures at physical infrastructure facilities — dams, for example — that receive some measure of operational guidance via the internet?

Perhaps there’s no need for concern about doomsday scenarios. But even if there are redundancies or other protections at key stress points, it seems fairly certain that unexplored territory — and with it, unforeseen problems — lies ahead. How long can the system as whole continue to grow explosively and remain both stable and sustainable?

Since we just had a large crew of certified networking professionals on tap for our Computer Networking Certification Survey, we asked them for a snap judgment. Should we panic, or at least get ready to panic? Or is there no real cause for concern? Here’s what we learned:

Q: As a certified networking professional, how concerned are you about the long-term stability and sustainability of the Internet of Things?

Very Concerned: 38.9 percent
Concerned: 32.2 percent
Somewhat Concerned: 17.4 percent
Not Concerned: 11.4 percent

We probably shouldn’t just brush aside the fact that 11.4 percent of respondents don’t see a problem at all, while 17.4 percent are on guard, but still not too worried. Everything has seemed to work so far, after all, and perhaps the sheer massiveness of the Internet of Things means that we’re already past the point at which anything short of a global catastrophe could wreak significant havoc.

On the other hand, almost 40 percent of those surveyed have serious reservations about what lies ahead, while a further 32.2 percent probably at least think that we should be doing a considerable degree of looking before we leap. If 70 percent of front-line computer networking professionals say that there’s potential danger on the road ahead, then maybe it’s time to pump the brakes.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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