We’re at an exciting time in history. For the first time ever, technologies that were before thought disparate have converged. In 2020, IoT is increasingly complex.
For this reason, it’s important to first understand what IoT is. Once we begin to understand this we can also begin to understand how it is used across different industry settings, how IoT is changing business as we know it, and the many security challenges facing IoT deployments around the world.
First Up –What is IoT?
As daunting, mystical, or complex as it might sound at first, IoT is also simple. After all, the smartphone is an early example of an IoT device. Other common IoT devices are: your Alexa, Google Home, and your smartwatch. These devices gather data from the physical world, and transmit that data to the internet. IoT devices include anything that can connect to the internet to send and receive data. As it turns out, almost anything can be connected this way.
Now, the question remains – why should this matter to you? The answer is, the IoT is very quickly reshaping the world around us. Every. Single. Day. The revolution isn’t coming. It’s already here.
Massive Impacts that the IoT can have on Everyday Business Challenges.
In a previous article, we dove into a few unexpected use cases for IoT. We also showed you how it is that Stratodesk can manage your IoT devices, making it more possible than ever to enable the future of work and life. For example, smart devices are being used in city planning projects to manage the ebb and flow of traffic. Major cities, like Barcelona, for example, leverage intelligent IoT solutions to handle everything from waste management, to public transit.
IoT is also being used in emergency situations by healthcare IT, in order to enable a smarter, more intelligent and cohesive workforce. More recently, experts have tried outfitting ventilators with Raspberry Pi IoT devices in order to help assist with the treatment efforts for COVID-19.
The examples of how tech leaders can use IoT to solve complex business challenges are many. And why wouldn’t they be? A disruptive technology should have a laundry-list of use cases already in effect around the world. Everything from farming, to retail, above and beyond, stand to gain from implementing IoT deployments into everyday business processes.
IoT Devices and Platforms
Unlike with end user computing, where endpoint devices are easily defined as those machines users access work data on, IoT devices can be virtually anything, anywhere. That being said, IoT still requires a platform to make it work. In fact, the IoT platform is the prerequisite to making any given device an IoT device.
What exactly is an IoT platform? An IoT platform is a multi-layer technology that allows tech leaders to provision, manage and automate connected devices. The more powerful, flexible and secure the platform, the better. In effect, the IoT platform is what manages, monitors and enables the device to connect securely to the Cloud.
A Deep Dive Into IoT Applications by Industry
Okay. So IoT has the power to transform modern day life. We get it. But what industries, in reality, will experience it the most? What industries have the most to gain from leveraging the next generation IoT technology? According to a study done by Forbes, the vast majority of IoT use will accumulate within the confines of a few industries. These are: Smart Cities (as mentioned above), Industry (also known as the IIoT: Industrial internet of things), healthcare (called the IoMT) and smart homes.
Home based IoT automation might sound like something out of the future, but today, it’s commonplace. Look around you – smart doorbells, cloud-connected thermostats, these things are all a part of our modern day reality. IoT automation also helps boost home security. Many modern IoT solutions help fight modern problems, like package snatching. Other devices can sense if glass is broken, helping fight home invasion attempts. Meanwhile, smart webcams keep home owners in touch with what happens around their home while they are at work, the store, or vacation.
Additional benefits of home IoT include cost savings and convenience benefits.
IoT is a boon to energy, as well. Its ability to automate processes and intelligently analyze and disseminate data means preventing energy from going to waste. An easy example of this ties in with the smart home example above. Thanks to IoT technology, air conditioning and lights can be turned off when they are not needed.
When these same technologies are applied at scale, throughout office buildings, for example, the energy savings benefits quickly compound!
IoT in Healthcare (or IoMT)
As mentioned above, healthcare can benefit greatly from IoT. Called IoMT, or the internet of medical things, when applied to healthcare, providers can leverage smart devices to accurately record data, recognize serious medical conditions sooner, and reduce large overhead costs.
Recording data: IoT gathers important data for providers and helps with data management. These IoMT machines have the potential to be able to more accurately record and tag data than is currently possible.
Early disease detection: Second, these machines can deploy AI in order to better fight serious medical conditions like Cancer. How do they do this? Certain forms of Cancer can go undetected for some time before a doctor even notices. By the time he or she does notice, it is often too late. IoMT devices, however, have the potential to detect such cancers before they grow out of control.
Cost reductions: Lastly, IoMT could play a big role in reducing overhead costs. Healthcare providers and organizations already know the high costs associated with business operations, IT, and patient care. Patient care that can be automated and done by machines is labor and expenditure not accrued by the organization.
Also mentioned above, smart cities are already using IoT to make urban living better. Among the challenges IoT can solve is traffic congestion.
Traffic congestion is a massive challenge facing cities. Take the recent closure of an entire portion of San Francisco’s busiest street, for example, as an indication for how out of control city traffic has already become.
IoT can help. For example, it can and will be used to create smarter cities. This is incredibly important for city life. Having smarter cities powered by IoT will not only be a handy bonus – they will soon become a necessity in order to enable better and smoother traffic flow, enabling “smart parking”, street lighting, better and more efficient public transportation and beyond.
Today, manufacturing make use of IoT to get work done. Although perhaps not the flashiest use case, it is in manufacturing that we find one of the most successful applications of IoT technology. In fact, manufacturers leveraging IIoT see on average a 28.5% increase in revenues, according to Business Insider.
Use cases for IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) can include those being leveraged by manufacturing. But IIoT also extends beyond the factory floor. IIoT solves everyday challenges in the areas of agriculture, city planning, and beyond. In farming, for example, IIoT can help farmers take better, more efficient care of crops. Soon, farmers could very likely take advantage of data in order to more accurately measure and monitor water/fertilizer for individual plants.
As the IoT Grows, So Do Security Concerns
It’s easy to see the potential power of IoT. However, the functionality that it allows does not come without its drawbacks. Chief among these – how to ensure security.
Take, for example, the healthcare scenario. While IoMT offers tangible benefits to providers, it also could expose confidential patient data. Security concerns, however, are not limited to healthcare. Any application of IoT must face the challenge of securing data. After all, enabling the effective gathering and use of data is what IoT is all about.
With billions of data points for hackers to exploit, it’s imperative that IT arms itself with a solution able defend their data, networks, and the future of their organizations.
Many don’t realize, however, that there is a way to secure devices.
Stratodesk Software Solves IoT Endpoint Security Challenges
Although there are certainly significant challenges facing any IIoT deployment, having an advanced OS and management solution can not only nullify these challenges but quickly cause benefits to greatly increase. These benefits include improved connectivity, security, scalability, time savings, and cost savings.
It also enables industrial organizations to break open data silos and connect all of their people, data, and processes. Meanwhile, business leaders can use IoT data to get a full and accurate view of how their enterprise is doing. This allows leadership to make better and more informed decisions.
Time/Cost Savings and Security Benefits of IoT Endpoint Management Solutions
Businesses can use NoTouch IoT, for example, to configure IoT device connections, protocols and data paths. IT can also securely manage and update IIoT gateway devices without having to actually be present at each and every endpoint. This means companies save countless hours traveling to and from remote locations and manually updating all endpoints in the organization.
Additionally, and because NoTouch IoT is also Linux-based, IT does not need to worry about sensitive information being compromised. In case of this event, IT leaders can rest assured that no confidential data is misappropriated.