In this issue of Claritas on... we are investigating the current hot topic in I.T. and tech, IoT (Internet of Things). IoT offers endless possibilities for the business world. The inventions have a huge effect on business operations, for the most part making them much more efficient. However, unlike the home where connected devices have taken the world by storm, in the business world, IoT adoption is slower than originally predicted.
In 2010, experts predicted that by now, we would have 50 billion connected things worldwide; however, the reality is that there are only around 11 billion connected devices and most of those are in the home and office, not in smart cities, manufacturing or other industries as previously thought.
25% of homes in the UK have IoT connected devices and this is set to rise to 45% in the next 4 years. But what is the situation in business, what are the issues with IoT, and can these be overcome to get IoT back on track to equal the success in the consumer market?
Business areas where IoT is playing an increasingly important role
IoT devices play an important part in business; they can record and transfer data to monitor important processes, give new insights, boost efficiency, and allow companies to make more informed decisions. They tell organisations what is really happening, in real time.
With the rapid growth of online shopping, retailers are very keen to bring the frictionless customer experience of online shopping into the shop environment wherever they can. They want access to the same type of rich data and high-performance analytics that retailers use to drive websites and mobile shopping trips, to connect with the customer and offer improved in-store shopping experiences.
Predictive recommendations and smart fitting rooms are ways that IoT is beginning to shape the future of the retail sector.
IoT mobile app development
IoT mobile apps are popular in the business world because the technology connects each and every device within the environment. This makes it easier for businesses to get real-time information about everything happening within the business. For example, in industry, IoT allows businesses to be aware of any malfunctioning system or machine in real-time, meaning better functioning of the processes and efficiency.
Reports say that the global IoT market is anticipated to rise at a notable rate owing to initiatives that promote digital health such as emergency notification systems and remote health monitoring. IoT, in the field of healthcare, is proving beneficial in terms of connecting medical devices and providing better medical help to people.
The reasons why the adoption of IoT in business hasn’t met expectations
From the outset, very little security has been built into IoT devices and there’s no way to easily patch these devices. This leaves companies incredibly vulnerable.
98% of traffic sent by IoT devices is unencrypted, exposing huge quantities of confidential data to potential attackers. Additionally, most networks mix IoT devices with more traditional I.T. assets like laptops, desktops and mobile devices, exposing those networks to malware.
The IoT creates significant challenges to privacy which stem from integrating devices into our environments without us consciously using them. This can be seen from consumer devices, such as tracking devices for phones and cars as well as smart televisions. Voice recognition or vision features can continuously listen to our conversations or watch for activity and selectively transmit that data to a cloud service for processing, which may include a third party. As well as concerns over company information being leaked, collection of this information contravenes data protection and privacy laws which poses a major issue for businesses.
Connecting devices is one of the biggest challenges of IoT. Billions of connected devices will require huge investments and spending in maintaining cloud servers that can handle such large amounts of information exchange and entire systems could go down if the server becomes unavailable.
Hopes were pinned on 5G to aid IoT connection. Originally, 5G claimed to be a system that could connect people at higher data rates and higher densities than ever, but 5G doesn’t currently have IoT provision meaning IoT connection issues are still a cause for concern.
Costly and Time Consuming
Cost and implementation time are major IoT challenges for businesses. Connecting devices and operations takes time and can be costly with many large-scale environments requiring budgets of £1million plus for IoT projects.
IoT clearly has some hurdles to overcome before it becomes as successful in the business world as in the home. However, IoT offers endless possibilities for businesses. So, what do you think, is IoT in business worth the wait?