The Internet of Things, simply known as IoT, is a buzzword in the world of technology. Although it has been around for quite some time now, the advancements made over the past few years are undeniable. If this is the first time you’re coming across the term IoT, then it might not sound like something that huge, however, this technology can turn something as small as a pill in size into a super, huge, powerful machine.
So, what exactly is IoT?
The word “internet” basically means an interconnection of many supercomputers through a set of pre-defined protocols. Therefore, as the name suggests, the Internet of Things is a group of connected devices that communicate independently over the internet without needing a person to mediate the information exchange. In other words, anything that has an assigned IP address can be included in this ecosystem. These smart gadgets have the ability to transfer data over the web to any connected receiver without the help of a human mediating the information exchange.
Amazingly, almost everybody across the globe has used this technology but some are still unaware. For instance, if have you subscribed to GPS tracking services, that’s one example of the Internet of Things.
Furthermore, IoT is not limited to a consumers’ world; it’s also widely used in businesses, healthcare, and factories. The reliability of this innovation makes it a great alternative to some of the current human-controlled systems.
According to Statista, the number of IoT devices worldwide is forecast to almost triple from 9.7 billion in 2020 to more than 29 billion IoT devices in 2030. So, what has caused this spurt in growth? Well, COVID-19 and the change in work practices over the past two years have accelerated change across industries as the pandemic highlighted the importance of being connected. The growth is also closely linked to 5G adoption rates, along with regions getting access to higher speeds in mobile internet.
Another factor to the increase in growth is that IoT opens the door for endless possibilities in the world of business due to the way they exchange data. Devices, appliances and even vehicles can now connect and exchange data through a wired or wireless network.
One benefit to IoT within a business environment is that a shift to digital processes reduces cost and increases speed making the business more efficient. IoT also changes the way data is handled, so it can revolutionise market research as it allows more access to consumer data and can track and record the patterns of how consumers interact with IoT devices. This real-time data can give businesses an insight into the performance and productivity of devices, increasing opportunities for innovation.
IoT also has the ability to make business processes easier, including tracking and management of inventories. Simply installing IoT software and devices in warehouses and storage units can help with managing inventory, so staff can focus on other tasks. Many companies are moving to a decentralised mode of tracking management, via blockchain applications that utilise smart contracts to streamline the process.
What does the future look like for IoT?
Digital innovation is taking place at such a rapid pace it is often difficult for businesses to decide where to invest, but IoT is certainly becoming a reality for many, different organisations including agricultural, healthcare, finance, and logistics sectors.
Understandably businesses have a number of concerns when introducing any new technology, including the IoT. Top of the list is security, with 67% saying a security breach would be disastrous (Source: Vodafone’s internet of things Barometer).
Other factors that limit take-up include budget constraints and insufficient internal resources. However, many of these concerns can be overcome. Testing that security means measures put in place are effective before implementation is paramount, as is offering appropriate staff training. Importantly, any implementation needs to be an end-to-end solution, securing company data in the cloud or on a server as well as IoT devices.
IoT has certainly caused a paradigm shift and is rightfully regarded as one of the most promising digital technologies that will certainly become more widespread and useful in the near future. The range of solutions are designed to tackle real-world challenges, drive efficiency, and help develop new revenue sources, and businesses should look forward to implementing IoT.