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How will the Internet of Things (IoT) Change Business?

September 13, 2016

Your smart watch has likely become a luxury you never knew you needed, right? Learn the advantages and risks of implementing the Internet of Things in your business.

The Internet of Things—have you heard of it? This new technological concept is an abstract idea for many businesses, but is gaining traction in the corporate world day by day. Devices with “Smart” technologies like watches that track exercise and send the data to your smartphone, are becoming parts of everyday life, and business owners should make a conscious effort to keep up with the times by looking into the business benefits of the Internet of Things.

More about the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a development of the Internet in which everyday objects (“things”) have network connectivity, meaning that any device can essentially send and receive data to the other.

Common applications of the IoT are FitBit or Apple Watch devices. The IoT supports a developing technological world, in which everything will eventually be connected, meaning, for most, easier and more efficient methods of living and doing business will be possible, too.

What kind of devices can be connected?

In general, any device with an on and off switch can be connected to another device with that same capability. This includes cellphones, headphones, wearable devices, washing machines, thermostats, refrigerators, TVs, coffee makers, etc. etc. Essentially anything that can be connected will be connected according to the projected future of the IoT.

Benefits for businesses

  1. Better communication- Machine-to-Machine, or M2M communication allows physical devices to stay connected, therefore allowing faster output.
  2. Automation/saving time- With this M2M communication, you allow your business to automate functions and to save time connecting functions. The IoT allows devices to sense and respond in real time, which allows businesses to gain better insights into what is current and trending in the industry.
  3. Cost-friendly- Specifically in the manufacturing sector, the Internet of Things can dramatically lower costs by reducing waste and fuel consumption. Energy production is more efficient with IoT as well. With location-tracking capabilities, workers will not have to hunt things down, which will lead to a lower loss rate, and therefore saved expense.
  4. Monitoring capabilities- The tracking capabilities allowed by the IoT could lead to increased business. By implementing IoT in products (can embed the products with sensors), companies are able to track the movements of these products and monitor interactions with them. Companies can then adjust their business models according to behavioral data gathered from these interactions.

Any disadvantages?

  1. Privacy and security risks- This is likely the biggest disadvantage of the IoT. For example, we are already seeing instances where power grids and automobiles are being compromised by hackers due to their IoT characteristics. By connecting numerous devices to the internet, it opens opportunity for cyber threats, unfortunately. Each device needs protection, making guarding connected devices more complex, and pricier than you might think. A breach to one device, might mean a breach to several connected devices.
  2. Compatibility- Each device has its own unique “language,” so to speak, so connectivity issues might arise due to this barrier.
  3. Unemployment issues- By employing technology to replace workers’ functions, you run into the problem of having to cut valued employees.
  4. Too much dependence on technology- There is a human disconnect to worry about, here, too. How much of our lives do we want dependent on the Internet?

What does the future look like for IoT and the business world?

IoT is the next big thing in business, and is expected to lead to shorter commutes, faster production and overall improved business communication. ALL businesses should actively prepare for “disruptions” to normal operations that IoT implementation will present. The IoT will cause the digital and physical worlds to be more united, but with this, will come the need for cutting staff and routine jobs—which presents a dilemma for businesses of all kinds.

Questions on IoT and its impact on your business model? Reach out to our Information Security Team today.

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