If you have not heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), you will likely notice an uptick in the use of the phrase as well as its acronym in the near future. It refers to Internet-connected electronic devices that communicate with one another via the World Wide Web. The majority of future consumer products along with those used by businesses will fall under the IoT umbrella. This remarkable step forward in technology will impact our personal lives as well as the manner in which businesses operate.
Internet of Things Impact on The Home
A considerable number of consumer products released in the past couple of years have the ability to connect directly to the Internet to ameliorate user control. It is now possible for a homeowner to control his home’s security system, refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer, washer and other devices from a distant location. As time progresses, more and more consumer devices will have built-in web functionality so operators can enjoy expanded control, regardless of their location. These devices have the potential to revolutionize the manner in which people live. Internet of Things devices is also making an equal impact on businesses as well.
IoT’s Impact on Business: An Alteration to Existing Business Models
IoT is certainly an awe-inspiring macro level change, yet it is disrupting just about every industry. In the past, companies earned revenue by focusing on improving hardware functionality. They developed new devices and programs and sold them in successive fashion to the masses. IoT changes this operational model. Revenue is now beginning to stem from the services “on top” of the hardware rather than the hardware itself. The IoT era opens the door for revenue to be amassed through subscriptions, bundles, freemiums and so on. These IoT-based services can be quickly and easily upgraded. They can also be modified by their creators without much of a hassle. The result is the opportunity for multiple sources of revenue instead of one-time sales.
Connecting With Consumers In A New and Exciting Way
The inherent challenge in an IoT environment centered on services is that small to medium sized businesses find it difficult to develop effective strategies to charge consumers for value in a simple and secure manner. Many have adopted intricate analytics platforms customized to their unique business. These companies are increasingly relying on cloud computing to ensure that each IoT device can be properly monitored, controlled and updated around the clock. Smaller businesses often find such a data collection task to be quite daunting and end up outsourcing the work to third-party service providers.
A Heightened Focus on Security
Though IoT makes it possible for consumers to control appliances and other devices by way of the World Wide Web, it also opens the door for security breaches. As more and more devices are connected to the internet, there are increasingly more opportunities for hackers to pilfer information and launch cyber attacks. It is imperative that businesses consider the potential for such attacks and theft when designing IoT devices. The unfortunate truth is that every IoT device has the potential to be hacked just because it is connected to the web at all times. As an example, imagine a home security company’s alarm system that can be controlled from the Internet. Such a home security system is fully automated and hooked up to the web around the clock. A computer-savvy thief could break into the system, jam the homeowner’s controls, remotely unlock all of the home’s doors then drive on over to steal everything inside. The bottom line is that IoT makes life more convenient, yet it also creates new opportunities for malicious individuals to wreak havoc on the lives of innocent people.
A Shifting Focus
The arrival of the Internet of Things is forcing business owners and executives to reconsider existing plans. Significant components of the average business will soon be IoT-ized, so to speak, forcing companies to alter their internal operations as well as the products and services they provide to the masses. Many organizations will find it prudent to invest in IoT technologies like data intelligence, infrastructure, and sensors to handle the pending onslaught of connectivity and the ensuing tidal wave of information. Small businesses and those that haven’t staffed their ranks with tech aficionados will find that IoT brings unpredictable challenges that require the assistance of outside help. These companies will find it prudent to ally with IoT experts and participate in industry consortiums to ameliorate the transition to the brave new IoT world.