What the Heck is the Internet of Things?

IoT

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Our modern world is sometimes downright baffling. Another concept we struggle to get our heads around (and one that never seems far from newspaper headlines) is the Internet of Things (IoT).

It’s predicted that the IoT market is set to grow to $267billion by 2020. So, to take a portion of that pie, this is one tech concept that business owners really need to get a handle on. For just that reason, here we set about answering the question: What the actual heck is the Internet of Things?

The IoT Lowdown

Well, it’s got something to do with the internet and – you guessed it – with things. Philip Moynagh, VP for the IoT Group at Intel describes IoT as an evolution from the “Internet of Screens”. It’s no longer just about tablets, phones and laptops. Instead, it’s a network that could include your smart fridge freezer, your Fitbit watch or even your city centre parking space, all of which collect and share data.

Everyday IoT Examples

We’re already seeing the IoT at work in our homes. We can turn on the heating, operate our entertainment systems and manage security from our smartphones. Running low on cat food? No need to lift a finger. Just talk to your in-house virtual assistant – Google Home or Amazon Echo – who will order some for you. With the help of sensors, some cities now have bins that send an alert when they need to be emptied and traffic lights that adapt to the volume of traffic.

Things are all getting a little bit Bladerunner, no?

IoT for Business

IoT is already being utilised by business. And research conducted by Aruba (a Hewlett Packard company) suggests that a whopping 85% of businesses expect to have adopted IoT technology by 2019.

By creating IoT products for customers, companies stand to gain a whole heap of insightful data that can inform strategy. And by incorporating IoT technologies into the workplace, businesses could make stock management more efficient, they could boost productivity amongst remote working employees and automate a ton of basic processes to free up time.

Security Concerns

For some, the convenience of IoT comes at a price. Tech experts have raised security and privacy concerns. When your home and your city are gathering so much data about you and you’re gathering so much data about your customers, hackers look set to have a field day. There are calls to slow the roll-out of IoT until robust security measures can be put in place.

But when data sharing leads to such convenience (and for business the hope of greater profits), will we really be able to say no? Surely we’re winning at life when we can say “Alexa, order my favourite pizza” and a hot sizzling meat feast appears at the door. The IoT is here whether we like it or not. Businesses, big or small, would do well to take note.

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