Does the IIoT Threaten Workers?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is still incredibly young. Everything that we find amazing about current IoT devices and technology will be hardly worth mentioning once the Internet of Things has reached its full potential. It’s estimated that IoT connected devices will outnumber people 7 to 1 within the next 5 years. However since the Internet of Things is still a work in progress, there are a number of issues that will have to be resolved as the IoT continues to develop.

People have recently voiced some concern about the current level of security with the IoT. Although consumers feel relatively safe, many IT professionals believe that IoT security is insufficient, and that many individuals could be at risk for things like identify theft, or other losses of information. Problems with IoT security, reliability, and privacy are all legitimate concerns.

Could these inadequacies in IoT security pose a threat to manufacturing workers as well?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applies IoT devices and technology in an industrial setting. Manufacturers are going to be using IIoT in plants, and factory workers are going to be enjoying the benefits of these technologies. However, workers could also be at risk if IoT security isn’t up to snuff. Here are some examples of how IIoT could put workers in danger.

Should sensors that test air quality fail, workers might assume that working conditions are safe. Toxic or poisonous substances in the air might go undetected and workers would have no indication of it, and no reason to think that they are in any danger.

Let’s say that all of the workers in a factory start wearing a smart device that alerts a machine if a person gets too close. That machine will then shut down so as not to harm the workers. This type of sensor technology is already being used in many factories. However, if this device fails, or is tampered with, workers are now placed in an incredibly dangerous work environment.

Smart factories could be forced to create unsafe conditions for workers if someone hacked in and tampered with temperature controls.

Of course, you hope that none of these things would ever happen, but the fact that weak IoT security could allow these things to happen is a problem that needs to be addressed. The IoT and IIoT will both lead to some incredible accomplishments. We just have to make sure that we take care of any problems as they arise.