The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that anything from the smoke detector in your bedroom to the streetlight across the street can be hooked up with sensors, monitored and controlled via the internet, and it appears to be a soon-to-be reality. In fact, industry analysts project a steep growth in the prevalence of these connected devices: Gartner forecasts 26 billion IoT devices by 2020 and predicts the industry will earn more than $309 billion by then. Similarly, Pew Research Center predicts that the IoT will be thriving by 2025.
A fundamental aspect of the vision of the IoT is not just for devices to be connected to the internet, but also for them to be connected seamlessly to one another. Each device has its own unique IP address and can remotely transfer data between physical devices and virtual backend by relying on sensor technology. They include everything from smart cars, door locks, industrial robots, wearable devices, heart monitors, to even tennis racquets and toasters.
The Internet of Things is expected to change our society dramatically. More specifically, it will revolutionize the way all businesses, governments and consumers interact in the following ways:
More efficient operations
Being able to connect more devices to the internet will allow small businesses and startups greater intelligence and the ability to bolster the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. They will likely upgrade their equipment in coming years and install “smart” machines and devices that can be hooked up to the internet. This will result in more opportunities for these companies to save money and increase profitability.
New business opportunities
The Internet of Things doesn’t just offer greater efficiency – it also opens the door to the hundreds, and possibly thousands, of unique business opportunities that arise out this industry’s growth. As a result, IoT has the potential to change the way businesses and consumers approach the world, and, in turn, they will need new devices and services that help them navigate this changing, ultra-connected way of life.
Lighten consumer workload
The role of employees and management will change as more tasks become automated, but small businesses will find ways to benefit and adapt to the evolution of smart things. IoT devices not only will increase the accuracy of customer orders, but they will also increase employee productivity and improve customer satisfaction – a win-win for all involved.
The Internet of Things Obstacles
However, major roadblocks exist in the growth of IoT devices in the marketplace. Network size, IT staff size and cost are all potential barriers, but cybersecurity tops the list. The more data that’s collected online, the greater potential for thieves to hack into online accounts and steal valuable and sensitive business information. Thus, companies will have to work on a way to secure their data collection methods.
Progress may seem slow to end users, but the IoT startup ecosystem is booming. As technology continues to evolve and becomes readily available to small businesses, processes will become more streamlined and create a larger impact on those involved.