One of South Korea’s largest wireless telecommunications operator, SK Telecom, recently announced a collaborative research project with Intel Corp. to develop voice and video communication technologies for internet of things (IoT) devices. The collaboration seeks to expand Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) technology—which transfers voice and video in real time—to be used even without a smart phone, a tablet or a computer browser. 

The proliferation of connected devices has fostered innovation, increased efficiency and has the potential to revolutionize mobility. However, the connectivity that makes these devices useful also makes it vulnerable. By taking advantage of the Internet connection, hackers were able to access and control TVs, refrigerators, cars and even baby monitors, through which they allegedly were able to talk. 

Hopefully, the new SK-Intel team will take some data security lessons from those in the IoT space that came before them and work together to better protect consumer privacy.

To illustrate the possible benefits, SK said that a WebRTC-equipped teddy bear would allow children to contact their parents simply by pressing the bear’s nose. Once the connected-teddy bear alerts the parents through a smartphone application, they would be able to receive a live feed video by using a camera installed in the teddy bear’s eyes and talk to their children using a speaker installed in the teddy bear’s mouth.

Just remember that if a teddy bear starts talking all of a sudden, there are three possible explanations. If the teddy bear has a thick Boston accent and sounds like Seth MacFarlane, it is probably a movie prop. If it moves in the middle of the night, it is most likely possessed.  Otherwise, it is probably a hacked WebRTC-equipped teddy bear!

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