What must businesses do to stay competitive with IoT?

With the Internet of Things landscape increasingly expanding and adoption becoming more widespread, what can businesses do to ensure they have a competitive edge?
9 April 2018

The Internet of Things is transforming many businesses across a range of industries. Source: Shutterstock

Whether you are a CEO of a large company, a fledgling start-up, or even just a tech fanatic who wants to impress friends at the next party, the Internet of Things (IoT) has created a lot of buzz across many industries.

Put simply, the IoT is the network of smart devices and other tangible things that have an internet connection. It is the ability for smart devices to connect and communicate with each other.

Research firm Gartner has forecasted that by 2020, we will expect to see as many as 20.4 billion connected things.

The IoT ecosystem consists of data sensors, cloud storage, networks, applications, and devices. This digital ecosystem can bring a multitude of benefits to both consumers and businesses, helping them to manage their digital lives in a smarter way.

For businesses, leveraging the power of IoT devices can be advantageous in many ways including increased productivity, savings in costs, the offer of new products and services, as well as the ability to deploy new businesses models.

It is clear that businesses wanting to gain a competitive advantage simply cannot afford to ignore IoT in the digital age. In order to make the most of the connected digital world in your business, take note of these three points.

1.Take baby steps first

With the IoT landscape being so broad, it can seem a little daunting trying to figure out how exactly to leverage its benefits.

A mistake that many businesses make is going too big too soon. Instead, it is advisable to experiment with smaller but focused programs. According to a study published by Forbes Insights, 65 percent of leading companies focused on learning from small IoT projects before moving to scale to larger ones.

By doing this, you can be clear on what’s working well before taking on larger projects.

2. Security is key

Unfortunately, as the number of IoT devices increases, as do the security risks that come along with them.

So, while many businesses are increasingly adopting IoT devices in order to transform operations, it is vital to understand the risk that can come with such devices.

A recent study by Osterman Research found that the majority of organizations that use IoT devices could be at risk of malware attacks and other security threats.

According to TechGenYZ, businesses must prioritize security during the development phase of IoT applications in order to stay secure.

Securing your IoT devices should be a top priority. Source: Shutterstock

The IoT Security Foundation has recommended the following five best practices that organizations should consider when implementing IoT devices.

  1.  Build security systems into IoT programs from the very beginning.
  2. Optimize protection for all potential weak areas.
  3. Clearly inform users what data is required and collected.
  4. Remove or anonymize identifiers to protect individual identities.
  5. Manage encryption keys securely.

3. IoT is not one size fits all

Developing an IoT application is like arranging multiple building blocks; IoT has many applications and consists of a variety of developmental components.

For instance, vice president of Gartner, Jim Tully, has identified five main components of IoT: things, gateways, smartphones, the cloud, and the enterprise. Such components are utilized in a variety of combinations to work with the IoT.

Due to the flexibility of such structure, you will need to evaluate your goals, resources, and opportunities in order to understand the strongest integration of functions.What works for one IoT product application may not work so well for another.