IoT is one of the latest and most buzz-worthy acronyms to enter the technology scene in the last year. IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a term for the concept of embedding computing devices like sensors into everyday objects to allow those objects to send and receive data.
Seize opportunities in the growing IoT market while minimizing risk
The market for IoT devices and services is rapidly expanding. Gartner forecasts that by 2020 there will be more than 26 billion IoT devices installed and that companies who generate IoT products and services will generate revenue of over $300 billion.
With a rapidly growing market in this new technology area comes important considerations. IoT is an emerging technological concept that will change the way people live, work and interact. If proper provisions are not taken by vendors entering the space, there is a potential for considerable risk.
1) Developing and Embracing IoT Standards
Currently, there is not a set of central IoT standards and there is zero communal oversight on the development of smart devices. Most devices are utilizing proprietary technology as firms rush to the market to get ahead of the competition. While each vendor has its own agenda, there needs to be a set of standards in place for devices of different vendors to be used in conjunction with one another.
When it comes to setting standards, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, is on the forefront, but there is no way for new protocols to be enforced. Vendors should be open to the ideas of the IoT community for embedding these standards into their new devices. Without this capability, existing devices that aren’t able to adhere to new standards will quickly become obsolete.
2) Security Challenges
The security on IoT devices and the networks to which they are connected must be well thought out and ultimately impenetrable. As new devices flood the market, there are huge risks of hacking which could result in misuse of the device itself or the data captured by that device.
Before a device hits the market, it needs to be tested in a variety of ways to ensure it is secure. Imagine if your home is connected via the Internet of Things and the system you have in place controls your thermostat, garage door and security cameras around your house. If the system or even an endpoint is not secure, hackers could easily unlock your door with the touch of a button while you are away on vacation.
Vendors need to respect the market’s need for safety with improved security features on systems and devices.
3) Data Privacy
An increasing number of connected devices and associated services means the amount of data generated by individuals and businesses will increase exponentially. In this new hyper-connected world, the data being generated can be used in a variety of ways. Those connected into these systems may be unaware of how their data is being used or if their data is being sold to third parties.
IoT consumers must be cognizant of who has access to the data generated by their devices. IoT vendors must be transparent in the use of consumer data, particularly if they plan to sell it to third parties. In the case of sensitive data, vendors must have secure data centers to ensure privacy of their consumers.
With all new advances come concerns or hiccups along the way as the industry looks to perfect IoT offerings. Ultimately, IoT products must be ready to meet growing consumer and possibly regulatory demands.