The idea of adding sensors and intelligence to basic objects was discussed throughout the 1980s. The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the Internet, collecting and sharing data.
This adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate without a human being involved, and merging the digital and physical worlds.
It can be any vehicle or appliance that contains electronics, software, sensors and actuators allowing these thingsto connect, interact and exchange data. In 2018, there were over 17 billion connected devices worldwide; this is expected to rise to over 34 billion by 2025 . The highest number of devices is connected through short-range technology; including blue tooth devices such as headphones, smoke alarms and thermostats. Longer-range technology, for use in metering for instance, is on the rise.
The IoT in Business
For workplaces, the IoT can increase productivity and improve ROI exponentially. Enterprises can have access to more data about their own products and internal systems and make changes as a result of collating and analysing that data.
· Monitoring the screen activity of remote workers
· Appliances that tell management when they’ve broken down or need replacing
· Coffee machines that start up when needed and for specific individual
· Devices that manage optimal workplace temperature at a desk-by-desk level.
Alexa for Business, for example, can now help employees find the closest available meeting room or order supplies or an IT service. Smart homes, cars and offices can interact; if you are stuck in traffic, your vehicle could send a message to the office to delay a meeting.
Safety and Security
One of the quite serious problems of the remote workplace is that of security, particularly of data. Many remote and flexible workers are still utilising their own laptop, phones and tablets .
One important step is for the organisations to implement a companywide set of communication standards that simplify the process for their workers so they're not switching between email, SMS and other apps that may be lacking in security . All ‘bring your own’ (BYO) devices should be both known and secured, and the user and access to information must be managed and secured .
Getting IoT Ready
We are not quite in the year of the Internet of Things. While 2/3 of businesses are incorporating the IoT into operations, only 13% are investing fully and more than 30% have no IoT at all! Of course the potential is still being realised and we are seeing a steady growth rather than massive spurt in usage. Apart from security issues notes above, the massive amounts of data being generated will need to be processed and hosted. Advanced analytics and AI will be needed to help manage it!
However with the potential to improve customer, partner and employee experience in just about every industry, the IoT is no longer a trend or buzzword but a reality.
Is your business looking at better integration of appliances and devices? Do you need an analysis of your cloud integration and recommendations for meeting trends in device integration? Are you IoT ready? SBA Business can help arrange the resources to move from a smart home to a smart office.