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The Internet of Things: the Wild West of Mobility

IoT Cowboys

“I have vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals. — Butch Cassidy, a man who would have embraced IoT if he was alive today.

Enterprise mobility is continuously evolving. This is most evident by the booming Internet of Things sector. The Internet of Things is most simply an inter-networking of physical objects inter-networking of devices (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. As the need for physical and virtual things to connect rises for enterprises across the board, the demand to implement comprehensive IoT structures in place will rise with it. As of now, the Internet of Things field is essentially the Wild West of mobility.

 

IoT has the capacity to affect every industry. IoT can improve the quality of a service or product, leading to lower support costs. It can increase productivity of the company’s workforce and assets by monitoring output and making operations more transparent and reliable. It can reduce the cost of materials and waste while reducing the risk of theft and additional losses. One of the most crucial benefits of IoT is predictive maintenance, which helps determine the condition of in-service equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed. This is critical for companies in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and even healthcare technology. In the future, however, all industries will need IoT solutions.

 

Like the Wild West, everyone is rushing to stake their claim in the Internet of Things territory. By 2020, total available profit will reach $60B. There are the pioneers of IoT who have started their own corners: cellular IoT, non-cellular IoT, networking, embedded systems, and even analytics.  Bain predicts cloud service providers in addition to analytics and infrastructure software vendors will have the most influence over IoT purchases.Often customers aren’t clear on what sort of IoT solution they need. At this point, the terminology surrounding the Internet of Things is so nebulous that many companies can call any product an IoT solution just by slapping on the phrase Internet of Things to its description. Anyone can stake a claim on some corner of the market and figure out the rest later. There are some companies who are capitalizing on this boundless territory, including carriers like Verizon. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for other companies to provide substantive IoT solutions that will suit the needs of various businesses or consumers.

 

Like the great train robbers of the Old West, IoT solutions are not always the most secure and have tremendous exposure to hacking. For example, hackers used a virus called Mirai to target Dyn, a major Internet infrastructure company, in a sophisticated denial-of-service attack — unsecure Internet-connected devices were directed to barrage a target with data until it shuts down. Despite high-profile and alarming hacks, device manufacturers remain undeterred, focusing on profitability over security in IoT devices. Customers need to have ultimate control over collected data, including the option to delete it if they choose. Without privacy assurances, wide-scale IoT adoption will be extremely difficult. This speaks to the main issue with this mostly unclaimed territory: the lack of standardization. As connectivity increases, a standardized code for how Internet-connected devices are set up should be in place. The ubiquity of IoT in the future demands standardization of security protocols as the advances in software continue to be paired with hardware. Whether the goal is to make your company more efficient, profitable, or able to seamlessly adhere to industry-specific standards, enterprises should determine how an IoT solution fits with their mission, the current security protocols in place, and how adaptable the solution is to future mobility trends.