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The promise and pitfalls of the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things brings a vast amount of opportunities to the horizon. By collecting and analysing data from all kind of connected devices, sensors and machines, and using the insights in your processes, you can understand your business and customers better than you have ever done before.

Leading research firm Gartner has predicted that by 2020 20 billion machines and devices connected through the internet will by used across a range of industries. Preventive solutions are being developed, such as sensor which automatically send out a warning when a machine malfunctions. Smart cities arise with smart parking, helping its citizens and visitor to find a free spot to park their car and preventing traffic jams to block the roads of the city.

Next to the automating and improving existing services and products, IoT can also be used to develop new business models. Think about smart thermostats, which lets the user set the temperature away from home, saving energy by switching off when there is no movement detected or even learning the behavior of its users and setting the temperature accordingly.

However, the vast amount of opportunities might startle IT-management or CIO’s like a deer in the headlights. Some will get over-enthusiastic and collect any information, letting databases grow to enormous proportions, without thinking about what the data tells them. Others will take security too lightly. Even though there will be a bigger, vulnerable surface, virtually as well as physically.

Look at this startling episode of Wired Television for example (which makes it understandable that Gartner has appointed IoT Security as one of the top technologies for the next two years):

Therefore, if you want to harness the power and opportunities of IoT, think about:

  • Business benefits: what potential benefits for the business can you harness by using IoT? Always answer this question in collaboration with the business.
  • Explore internal benefits: what can you improve in the efficiency of your processes? Such as early detection of machine failure.
  • Data to store: what data do you need to reap these benefits? Only store those data that you will use in your business.
  • Take care of security and privacy issues: as said, security will be a big concern when using IoT, because more devices and machines will be vulnerable while connected to the internet.

In our next blog we will discuss the requirements for your database, which will be the fundament of any IoT initiative.

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