As the Internet of Things becomes more and more prevalent in the market place we bring you a summary of the advantages and risks of implementing this new technology within your business.
So what is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
IoT is the concept of connecting any electrical device with an on and off switch to the internet and each other via a SIM card.
What can I use it for?
With the increased reliability of internet connectivity and bandwidth (see our blog about the arrival of 5G) the possible applications of IoT are endless. For example:
- Environmental monitoring
- Service metering
- EPOS/ PDQ machines
- Monitoring printer cartridge usage
- Remote server access
- Home working and lone worker applications
- CCTV Burglar alarms
- Fleet tracking and management
- Structural monitoring
What are the advantages for businesses associated with the IoT ‘revolution’?
- Improved communication, automation and control
IoT encourages communication between devices which are often connected and controlled centrally with wireless infrastructure. This autonomy reduces inefficiencies and improves quality by removing the human element from the process.
- Effective monitoring and data provision
Given the digital nature of this technology, more and more information can be collected. From mundane consumer decisions of needing to know when to purchase more coffee for the office coffee machine, to large scale decisions relating to air pollution E.g. controlling CO2 emissions of factories, IoT offers the chance to make better informed decisions about intricate details of everyday business operations.
- Free-up time and save money
Having better control of business activity can empowering organisations to increase output, reduce unit cost, refine ordering processes or simply rationalise everyday business critical costs. IoT devices present vast time saving opportunities and will save money and improve profit margins in the long run.
What are the disadvantages of IoT:
Unfortunately there is currently no established international standard for IoT compatibility. Therefore companies may experience instances where devices do not connect to each other during the early stages of the IoT revolution.
- Complexity and Synchronisation Issues
As with all new technologies there are bound to be some teething issues and businesses will need to work out how to incorporate this new functionality into their pre-established processes. For example, if two office managers are notified of the low levels of printer ink, then both may make the order for new ink, resulting in unnecessary extra expenditure for the business.
The exponential increase in the amount of data being transmitted by IoT devices presents an opportunity for hackers to obtain unauthorised access to private information. For business owners this of course presents huge concerns, both internally and for their clients. From losing sensitive information, to causing a disruption to a client’s service which could have disastrous consequences, a businesses’ reputation could be tarnished due to the infancy of IoT technology.
In order to thrive, IoT devices will need to have a sustainable foundation in which to operate. This will come in the form of a stable network which will allow all the devices to communicate seamlessly and without disruption. Depending on the success of its implementation, reliability and infrastructure, 5G will effect just how successful IoT devices will be in the future.
That said, the list of possibilities with IoT is endless and once the above problems have been ironed out we foresee the use of IoT to feature in most businesses within the next 10 years.
For more information or to talk to one of our telecoms experts, please call us on 03330 433 233.