Internet of things (IoT) is the interconnection of physical objects in our surrounding using wireless technology so that they can automatically interact with each other or directly to a remote user without any human intervention. Physical objects with embedded computing and wireless infrastructure (like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) can be directly configured, while non-smart devices can be attached an artificial smart unit to include them in the IOT network.
The “things” in the IoT refers to devices like the heart monitor in a patient, to smart locking system on a door to sensors in vehicles that measure and warn low tyre pressure. The devises can now communicate with each other or be controlled remotely. This is possible because each device is provided with an IP addresses so they can be identified uniquely.
Why should this be relevant to anyone? Well, to answer that we have to see where the IoT is heading. Researchers, developers and innovators are trying to form a global network for IoT to remotely access any device over the network. They are moving towards using smart-hubs which helps by connecting devices not only over Wi-Fi but Bluetooth as well.
The Impact of IoT on business
Until the development and efficient usage of IoT, businesses had independent work model for each of the tasks that had to be performed. This meant an independent database, computer software to solve the task and some were provided with web applications and mobile app for easier use. But still each of these was point solutions and integration was difficult. For example, security issues on mobile transaction would requires the organisation to purchase security management software and for security issues on computer involved purchasing another management package solutions and integration of these wherever possible was difficult.
In the wake of these difficulties, IoT presented solutions that would greatly impact the way business tasks could be integrated and centralised and made the whole business network smarter. IoT provided economical and efficient ways to seamlessly integrate hardware, software and people.
Usage of IoT in an enterprise would mean:
- Centralised databases which could be used to control various tasks and automate device to device communication where ever possible. Example would be sensors talking to the central database on decision support, and decide to either report or handle situations on its own.
- Network control and management of manufacturing equipment, asset and situation management, or manufacturing process control bring the IoT within the realm on industrial applications and smart manufacturing as well. The IoT intelligent systems enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks, by networking machinery, sensors and control systems together.
- Integration of various software and management packages would be allowing the enterprise to automate process controls, operator tools and service information systems to optimize plant safety and security.
- Smart industrial management systems can also be integrated with the Smart Grid, thereby enabling real-time energy optimization. Measurements, automated controls, plant optimization, health and safety management, and other functions are provided by a large number of networked sensors.
- Field of medicine would also get included with digital health, by monitoring patients virtually in real time and remotely by using sensors in wearable devices.
- One of the largest deployment of IoT is smart cities, where governments are using the existent infrastructure in cities to get it connected using IoT. This is done to better manage the cities and systems. This would mean that businesses and companies in the field of security and management can get a new way to reach and monitor their clients and also get on board new clients for very less costs because the infrastructure already exists. Songdo, a city in South Korea is the first city to be connected by IoT and is now a smart city.
What can the businesses do to adapt?
Businesses can now purchase products or services with are made for an IoT environment. This is possible mainly because of the Industrial partnership. Traditional IT vendors team up with telecom providers and semiconductor manufacturers to create products suited for the IoT environment. So if a company is looking to use IoT then they would have to integrate the output product of these kinds of partnership into their working. And, if the company is trying to sell a product in the field of IoT, they must be looking for suitable partners or suppliers so that they can customize their offerings to be easily integrated with other existing IoT systems and it should work seamlessly.
Examples for some of the partnerships are:
- Samsung – SAP partnership
- Apple – IBM
- General Electric , Cisco
These partnerships not only make user work much easier and integrated with everything else, they open the door for certain types of clients which weren’t possible before. Businesses must also lead a joint innovation centre to create products for customers they businesses couldn’t cater to on their own.
Businesses would require addressing the challenges that come with the concept of IoT which are:
- Scalability: the scalability issues are arising for the number of devices that can connect and the number of devices that can concurrently operate or can be serviced.
- Availability: availability involves recoverability and reliability. This is a challenge considering that the IoT systems would operate on the cloud and high demands might raise problems.
- Security: this is very important because, with the IoT, the traditional security and Firewall features would not be sufficient as a controlled access to trust access.
- Manageability: most of the devices are not managed, it’s only the computers which are managed and cell phones which are semi managed, so a different kind of manageability has to developed and put to work for interoperability.
Finally, the business will require and need to produce end to end services taking advantage of the Cheap, ubiquitous connectivity in this age of IoT.
Note: This post is my gig from Fiverr