It’s been a year since Gartner Research announced that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, over the past 12 months IoT has continued to ramp up and to become the biggest news-making trend in IT. Internet of Things has definitely lived up to the “hype” and then some! Everywhere you look today the IoT is being discussed. It’s the “next big” across the spectrum of technology today. Businesses, startups, and enterprises are signing up to get onboard this epic new wave of innovation. The prospect of 30 billion objects connected to the Internet by the year 2020 is staggering, as are the opportunities for new lines of service and new business models to grow out of this realm.
Here are some reasons why Internet of Things is definitely bigger than you realized.
1. The “smart home” is at our doorstep
Today there are a growing number of appliances, devices, and elements within the modern home that are going online and being accessed via smart devices. Most folks have heard of the popular Nest thermostat. This is just one example of a rapidly growing product line of smart home products that are fueled by the Internet of Things. There is also Wi-Fi lighting, remote shades, digitally locked doors, security monitoring systems, smart appliances, including TV, and much, much more. All of these appliances, systems, and devices contain sensors that connect them to a network. This is where things (excuse the pun) start to get exciting! These new devices are also spawning a spike in “big data.” And as more and more of this unstructured data becomes available, it will spin off new business models and services around the leveraging and marketing of this data. This home data will, in turn, provide input for machine learning algorithms capable of “learning” new ways to adapt to patterns and interact with users. It’s one thing to have a virtual assistant like Siri send an email or schedule an appointment, but imagine also having it tell you the local temperature and asking if you want it to turn on the air conditioner before you arrive home. This is what the new smart home will look and act like. Home automation is one major reason why IoT is about to get much bigger.
2. Internet of Things is transforming IT
The impact of Internet of Things is perhaps no more dramatically felt than in the realm of IT. With employees now bringing their own “things” to work – whether that be the latest Fitbit, the new Apple Smartwatch, or any number of other mobile-based devices – companies are scrambling to find ways to adopt to managing these endpoints. There are enormous infrastructure, architecture, monitoring, and security issues that arise with more “things” in the workplace. Just take for example the realm of cyber-security. In the words of one industry expert, “The IoT inherently creates billions of insecure new endpoints . . . .These IP-addressable devices will create new vectors of attack designed to either compromise the device or gain access to the enterprise network.” Internet of Things will require a total overhaul in the way IT organizations approach and manage their cyber-security strategy.
3. IoT is changing the way companies do business
It’s hard to fathom the impact on business caused by a world in which literally everything — phones, lights, fitness trackers, toasters, toothbrushes, small devices or big devices such as jet engines and turbines – is connected to the internet. The business models and opportunities that this opens up are endless. One Harvard Business Review article has explored this issue by suggesting how IoT is completely changing the mindset of how products capture and create value. Instead of a standalone product that grows obsolete with time, IoT brings to the fore products that get refreshed, add personalization and context, and address ongoing customer needs in real-time. Digital businesses that can analyze, leverage, transform, and visualize the enormous amount of data produced by these new product and marketing models will be light years ahead of the competition.
These are just a few of the many ways that IoT is bigger than you think. If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to fit Internet of Things into your company’s strategy portfolio for the remainder of 2015. The best advice is to begin implementing clear and deliberate guidelines to leverage the latest trends in this fast-moving and exciting market. Internet of Things will set digital businesses today apart from the pack and make them thrive while others are merely trying to survive.