IoT is a topic of conversation that is growing in popularity both in places of business and out. The concept of IoT is one with a potential to make a huge impact in both our work and our daily lives. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you, if any? It may sound like a very complex concept, but it is quite simple if the basics are explained.
Since broadband internet became very widely available, at a much reduced cost and virtually every electronic device is capable of connecting to the internet, a perfect stage has been set for IoT.
In the most basic sense, IoT (Internet of Things) is the concept of connecting electronic devices to the internet and to each other. “Electronic devices” here means smart watches, phones, headphones, washing machines, electric lamps etc. According to Gartner, an analyst firm, by the year 2020, there will be over 26 billion devices connected to each other. These connections will be between people, things and people and things.
How it affects us.
In coming years, anything that can be connected will be connected and this would change our everyday lives completely. Connections between your car and your office could alert people you are scheduled to have a meeting with that you are running late. Devices that you wear, like a smart watch could determine at what time of the day your productivity is at its peak and share this information with the other devices you make use of at work. Transport networks will also be changed by IoT. We would see “smart cities” that will be more efficient and engineered to reduce waste and use our energy better. These are just a few examples, but they give you an idea of the possibilities that come with the concept of the Internet of things.
What it means for businesses.
Whether or not you already have an IoT culture depends on just how tech-savvy your company is. One one end, you may already have biometric entry and data centres and on the other, you might still be using spreadsheets and Windows XP. You might not realize it yet, but the Internet of Things is already here and how well your company takes advantage of the new concept and technologies could mean the difference between you reaching the coming generation of consumers or losing relevance as the rest of the world moves on.
What you should do.
Educate: You will need to educate your existing staff on how the new tech will affect their work and also add an IoT module in the orientation process for new employees. Locating new staff from sources that have a good sense of new technology and the direction in which things are currently going will also be to the benefit of your company.
Handle security: One real effect of complete connectivity is the security concerns it raises. According to experts, network security will be one of the most important aspects of business in the future. Neutralize this by investing in proper data security that can scale and is robust enough to serve you.
Out with the old: It may be hard to switch from the equipment and technologies that have worked for you in the past, you will need to move on to the new sooner or later. When IoT proliferates, companies that don’t have the tech necessary for taking advantage of “a total Internet takeover” will be left behind. When you replace old technology, make sure the new gear can be fully integrated with all other components of your business.