As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to steer operations in the 21st century, numerous challenges are coming to light.
While the IoT still has the potential to transform business for owners, employees and customers alike, those who already embrace this next-gen network still have some work to do.
Not only are they trying to make the most of IoT integration to benefit their own company, but they’re also treading new ground and serving as role models for those who have yet to take the plunge.
1. Meeting customer expectations
In the 1990s, the widespread availability of internet access forever changed the way consumers shop. It also switched the customer’s focus from standardized, mass-produced goods to customized products and services.
With the year 2020 on the horizon, customers have higher expectations than ever before. According to a recent report by Salesforce, 57 percent of consumers are more interested in doing business with an innovative or forward-thinking company — and 50 percent won’t hesitate to switch brands if their needs go unmet.
2. Easing security concerns
The IoT was initially touted as a hyper-secure network that was suitable for storing and transmitting confidential datasets. Although it’s true that the IoT is more secure than the average internet or LAN connection, it’s not exactly the bulletproof shell some users expected.
Some of the most significant security concerns involve both the IoT and the cloud. A recent analysis predicts a loss of up to $120 billion in economic fallout in the takedown of just one cloud datacenter.
Reports also state an annual economic cost of cybercrime at upward of $1 trillion — which is quite a leap for 2017’s record-setting figure of roughly $300 billion.
3. Keeping IoT hardware updated
Regardless of how a company uses the IoT or the cloud, data integrity is a common challenge. With so much data coming in from multiple sources, it’s tough to separate useful, actionable information from irrelevant chatter.
It’s critical to calibrate your IoT sensors on a regular basis, just as you would any other kind of electrical sensor. Next-gen sensors are embedded in many different devices, including panel meters, chart recorders, current clamps, power monitors and more, and it’s difficult to synchronize the dataflow between all this hardware without the help of a professional team.
4. Overcoming connectivity issues
In its current form, the IoT utilizes a centralized, server-client model to provide connectivity to the various servers, workstations and systems. This is quite efficient for now, since the IoT is still in its infancy, but what happens when hundreds of billions of devices are all using the network simultaneously?
According to updated reports from Gartner, more than 20 billion individual units will connect to the IoT by 2020. It’s just a matter of time before users start to experience significant bottlenecks in IoT connectivity, efficiency and overall performance.
5. Waiting for governmental regulation
While some businesses immediately embraced the IoT, others are hesitant. In many cases, these businesses are waiting for government officials to intervene with new standards and regulations.
However, since the IoT, the cloud and even the common Internet aren’t tied to one specific city, state or region, who is responsible for setting these regulations?
Complicating matters even further is the sheer amount of IoT-connected devices. Since these devices originate from many different sources, including international partners and vendors, how does a localized regulatory agency control the quality of incoming shipments?
Although most experts agree that IoT regulation is a necessity, they have yet to formulate any standards or guidelines for the public to follow.
Making the most of the IoT in its current state
Despite the challenges and bottlenecks of the IoT in its current state, it still has many benefits in today’s business world.
It’s useful enough that some are willing to throw caution to the wind and make the transition to the IoT — despite all the challenges it provides — to get a jumpstart on their competition before it becomes the next big thing.