The Internet Of Things, the development of which is currently in its early stages, is likely to have a substantial impact on the way we do business. Or so goes the popular IoT narrative. Whether you believe the hype or not, there’s no doubt that organizations need to think carefully about the ever increasing number of connected smart devices — devices used by their employees and customers, by the organizations they have relationships with, and, potentially, by the business itself.
According to a recent study from Gartner, most businesses have gotten the message: it’s time to start thinking about how the IoT will change things. 64% of respondents said they plan to implement the IoT in some way. I’m more interested in the 38% who said they have no plans to implement IoT at all, and the 9% who said that they saw no relevance for the technologies (keep in mind, these were IT pros, not shoemakers or bookbinders).
I find it somewhat worrying that such a large proportion of IT folks don’t recognize the potential impact of the Internet of Things. It’s not just that IoT technology can directly benefit a business, but also that any company doing business in a world dominated by smart devices has to take them into account.
Many in IT were slow to adapt to the introduction of cloud services and even the smart phone. It wasn’t through lack of foresight, but through a valid concern about the security impact of those paradigm-changing technologies. Now imagine a world where it’s not just the phone in your pocket that is a smart device: it’s jewelry, clothes, cars, speakers, baby monitors, spectacles, the pallets goods arrive on, and just about everything else that would benefit from being connected to the internet and equipped with a few sensors and a bit of processing power.
When anything is a potential source of security vulnerability, businesses need to think hard about the risks.
“What is evident is that the IoT will become an important part of our lives very soon, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed via active participation by the entire global tech community. Will we be able to harness this most-hyped, emerging technology that will undoubtedly revolutionize the world, or will we end up opening a Pandora’s Box that will spiral the world into a new age of mayhem and chaos?”
The Competitive Benefits
You can be sure the IoT will be everywhere, because plenty of businesses have foreseen the benefits, both for their own operations and for consumer products and services. The IoT will provide a flood of data that enables businesses to model the world at greater fidelities than ever before, and companies that fail to take advantage of the benefits may well find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
It’s Coming Whether You Like It Or Not
Whether you think of the IoT as the next hype bubble to burst, or as a transformative technology, you can’t deny its reality. Responsible business owners and executives recognize that fact and consider the potential impact on their business.