Everything is getting smarter by the day. Not just phones, tablets and watches, but also homes, cities and businesses. We are moving towards a world where all objects are part of an internet-connected network, enabling the collection and exchange of data using embedded sensors.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising the way we live, work and do things. Experts predict that by 2020, there will be 24 billion devices connected to the internet. How can you ensure that your business benefits from this complex ecosystem?
The fact of the matter is that IoT has immense potential to help enterprises cut down on their operating costs, increase productivity and explore new markets or product offerings. However, that’s possible only if the right technologies are in place.
Let us look at the top IoT technologies worth investing in:
As the number of devices connected to the internet has increased, so has security breaches. Cyber-attacks not only affect the devices, platforms and operating systems, but also the systems to which they are connected.
Enterprises need to protect their devices and platforms from information attacks as well as physical tampering. This can be rather challenging as not many devices may support modern security approaches. So, before implementing an IoT strategy, it’s best to adopt security-by-design approach. Look for new protocols and products that provide software and end-point security for IoT devices.
There is no dearth of IoT operating systems (OS) – from Microsoft to Google and Samsung to Intel. But before making a choice, it’s prudent for enterprises to weigh in all the options. A simple OS, for instance, may need less expensive hardware, but software development and future upgradability could be tricky. Similarly, a minimal embedded OS may not support modern programming languages. Also, support may be an issue for embedded OS systems created by open-source projects. So, first understand your business needs and then make an informed choice.
How do you connect different parts of IoT to the sensors? There’s Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, Bluetooth, WiMAX, Long Term Evolution (LTE), and more! Enterprises today can choose from a wide range of wireless connectivity options to make the most of IoT.
Consider the battery life, bandwidth, range, density and operational cost to decide on the network solution that best suits your business needs. If you are looking something that’s faster than conventional cellular networks, and offers a larger territorial coverage, low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) offers the best bet.
The biggest boon of IoT, is the massive data it generates. However, the data by itself is of little use to enterprises, unless it can be transformed into valuable information. That’s exactly what artificial intelligence does with analytical algorithms.
The need of the hour is to look for new tools (for example, high-volume event stream platforms) as well as the ability to operate on new data types, architectures and technologies such as machine learning. Enterprises need to make strategic investments in device monitoring tools, diagnostics, crash analysis and reporting, etc to make data intelligent.
Data, data, everywhere, not enough space to store? Well, one of the biggest challenges of IoT is addressing the need for significantly larger storage spaces. As more devices connect to your infrastructure and start transmitting billions of bits of data, your data storage costs will naturally go up. Enterprises need to up the storage capacity, albeit in a cost-effective manner. Data collection could perhaps move to the cloud.
The success of your IoT strategy depends largely on whether you are able to streamline the management of all the connected devices and applications. The key is to keep it holistic and simple. Enterprises need to find consolidated solutions that are easy to implement, maintain and upgrade. The whole, as they say, is more than the sum total of its parts. And given that IoT is an evolving ecosystem, it is important to be flexible enough to accommodate future growth.
Birds of a feather
You don’t have to be a gaming enthusiast to be a fan of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). More and more enterprises are waking up to its amazing business potential. Coupled with IoT, it promises an exciting future. Though at a nascent stage, the coming together of these two revolutionary forces can create a “telepresence” that can boost productivity, cut losses and enhance customer experience.
All in all, with the convergence of new technologies related to IoT, enterprises are marching towards the next level of automation. Investing in the right technologies, is the key to getting better returns on investments.
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