Cloud computing and the Internet of Things is expanding.
Observant and forward-thinking executives are getting on board. As a leader or manager in your business, it’s a good idea to understand how the IoT can come into play in your business. It has the potential to impact your C2B and B2B experiences, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Why are executives keeping an eye on the IoT? It goes far beyond virtual assistants that can read out the latest stock market figures for you. Businesses are seeing increased connections, thanks to capitalising on diversified uses for the emergent technology.
Security is a serious consideration, and your HR team will need to be working hard to attract IoT-experienced talent, because staff training hasn’t caught up with the demand yet. Let’s take a closer look.
The Internet of Things is expanding rapidly. Devices that are connected to the internet and to each other relay vast amounts of data in the cloud. Various industries are experiencing a boom in the number of Things that are connected. The manufacturing sector saw the most growth, with an 84% increase in connections between 2016 to 2017. Energy and transport/distributions followed up with an approximate 40% increase in each sector. Healthcare/pharmacy increased by around 11%, but this is expected to increase dramatically with recent legislative changes in the USA which require detailed electronic tracking of individual pharmaceutical goods. LINK to VERIZON
Executives are paying close attention to these trends, and as confidence in the technology increases, the IoT is beginning to move out of the realm of the early adopters and into the mainstream. Investors are on board, and plenty of pilot studies are being conducted into the feasibility of IoT tech in various industries. As these investigations play out, roll-outs will start to occur, and it pays to be on board early.
Enterprise-ready platforms are being developed, although there are challenges ahead related to scalability. Platforms are scalable frameworks that businesses can use to scaffold their apps, devices, data, processes and systems. As these platforms are developed and released for use, they will be supporting all of these connections and interconnections. This will help business see their goals and targets met in a simplified, streamlined fashion.
Diversification of uses
Consider this staggering detail: there will be more IoT connected devices in 2017 than people on the planet. It’s approximated that there are over 8 billion connected devices, and this figure is set to grow to more than 20 billion by 2020.
Where are these devices, and what are they doing? Alongside the US-led demand for pharmaceuticals tracking, there are marked increases in other industries like agriculture. Crop and soil conditions can be remotely monitored, allowing for more targeted and efficient use of resources. Traffic flow systems are relaying real time data to address bottlenecks and manage incidents.
The Internet of Things is not solely limited to increasing business efficiencies, government tracking or even civic traffic management. This technology can be used to improve customer experience of a brand. Simple examples: sensors can automatically order needed household items, or scanners that make changing room experiences simple and easy (scanning body measurements and offering up only the items that will fit). These are already in action, and they are leading to more sales, through intuitive or automated purchasing decisions. It’s worth thinking about how the IoT could change your customer interactions.
Aside from the economics of scale, there’s another cause for the reduction in costs for data sensors and domestic connected devices. Many consumer devices are deployed in mind-boggling amounts, like energy sensors, or smart devices like kettles, lighting and security systems. These are designed to be efficient and low-cost, which can also translate to low security. Nascent technology will need to be monitored closely as some of these simple devices are vulnerable to hacking (through hard-coded, unchangeable passwords). Once a device is accessed, the entire network can be compromised. As the IoT universe expands and matures, these risks will be mitigated with better design, but it’s a good idea to have an experienced partner on board to support IT cyber-security processes, including data security.
Across the pond, lawmakers are investigating if companies can be required to instigate a minimum level of security on IoT devices, such as avoiding hard-coded passwords. This is due, in part, to the successful attack in 2016 that co-opted a multitude of smart devices and directed them to carry out DDoS attacks on critical internet infrastructure.
Democratisation and customer interface
One fascinating area to watch is the rise of data democratisation. Consumers are collecting data about themselves and sharing it freely. One IoT device you’re likely familiar with is the smart watch. As it gathers health related markers, it transmits them to an app, which can be connected to other users. This makes personalised trends available for individuals to analyse without the need to interface with medical professionals. There’s opportunity for adjacent fields to offer services in relation to this data. Also, this omnipresent tech could be harnessed by businesses to automate shift start/end times, track out-of-office movements and even monitor staff health.
Preparing business for things to come
It’s evident that the Internet of Things is a rapidly growing market. There is a shortage of qualified and experienced experts in this field. If you identify the IoT as a potential growth centre for your business, it’s wise to get HR on board early, as attracting the right staff may take some time. It’s also important to note that the democratisation of this technology means staff and customers alike are familiar with the potential for this, and will expect IT departments to offer the latest ways to connect and share data.
About EC-MSP, your IoT services partner
EC-MSP are one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help advice and support establishing your business tech support needs or operating in the cloud, contact us today to see how we can help.