What is IOT and how does it relate to your business?
12 September 2017
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is much, much more than just a "thing". It’s a concept based on connecting any device with an on-off switch to the internet, allowing them to talk to people, applications and each other. This not only includes your everyday household items such as fridges, coffee machines and lamps, but also scales down to individual machine components such as the engine of an aeroplane, and scales up to a completely "smart" building, or even city. By collecting data from the environment and communicating to other devices, organisations can use the IoT to improve processes, understand their customers, and enhance productivity.
It’s not hard to see why the IoT is such a hot topic, but it’s proved to be much more than just another buzz word. Gartner has recently reported we will be using 8.4 billion connected IoT devices by the end of 2017, a massive 31 percent increase from last year. IoT has even knocked Big Data off Gartner’s ‘Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies’ list. In making it to the top, the IoT joins an esteemed list of technologies including gamification, 3D printing and cloud computing. In other words, the concept of IoT is much more than just a fad.
How will IoT impact businesses?
For businesses, the impact of the Internet of Things will – if it hasn’t already – be massive. It’s a new frontier that allows organisations to do business differently, serve customers more intuitively, and transform organisations in ways that have never been seen before. IoT has the power to help businesses completely transform their operations, decision-making, and revenue, not to mention the ability to save money and drive business growth.
Constant improvements to the networking capabilities of devices used in offices, vehicles, warehouses and factories open up new opportunities for businesses of any size and sector. Businesses can utilise IoT-connected devices to track and control stock, ship packages more effectively, locate objects, improve security, lower labour costs and conserve energy, just to name a few!
IoT also offers huge new opportunities for the retail and hospitality market. Organisations such as Aruba Networks are using the IoT to create smart shops, smart hotels, and even smart stadium environments that improve the customer experience and drive revenue streams.
Now for the big question – is IoT safe?
Unfortunately, everything shiny and new has its setbacks, and for the Internet of Things, security concerns are a big one. The complications that coincide with billions of detectors constantly collecting, holding and sharing personal data create immeasurable amounts of safety issues that are quite rightly, a worry for any business if not dealt with correctly.
As more connected devices pop up around the world, and as an increasing number of organisations embrace the IoT, there's a growing threat for potential cyber-attacks. More connected devices mean more attack vectors, and unfortunately, more attack vectors mean more ways for hackers to infiltrate business security systems. Cyber-criminals now have more opportunities to penetrate critical infrastructures, shut down your delivery van in motion and even steal information as you are typing on your smart device.
As a result, companies are focusing heavily on cyber security in order to secure the privacy and safety of all this data. Several measures have already been, and are increasingly being taken to gap the holes in IoT security and prevent security breaches at device level.
What does the future hold for IoT?
It’s evident that no matter what it’s called or the concerns that surround it, IoT is here to stay and will impact your business in one way or another. Prodec Networks will be exploring this impact in more detail in a series of articles, guides and tips over the coming months. If you would like to subscribe to this series, please fill in the form below.
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