As the IoT turns into a reality, 50 billion devices are estimated to be connected to the internet by 2020. The business landscape for the Internet of Things (IoT) is indeed taking off. Multiple vendors including hardware, software, internet companies, service providers, telcos, and startups are jockeying for a significant market share. The IoT is attaining significant eyeballs. Along with the opportunities, however, businesses are facing significant challenges in adopting IoT. Navigating the issues associated with the protection of data and leveraging existing IT infrastructure is an imperative for businesses. Such challenges, if not addressed, could severely damage an organization’s market position. Managing privacy while generating economic utility will necessitate businesses to examine trade-offs in a meaningful way.
Adopting IoT – Bringing Down the Walls
As the growing adoption of IoT gains momentum, businesses must prepare for the emergence of unforeseen business priorities. It is imperative for businesses to address risks and concerns in encouraging interoperability, ensuring security, and leveraging legacy IT infrastructure. However, the rapid adoption of IoT will pan out as a boon for technology-enabled businesses, creating a new wave of pace-setting companies.
Business leaders may think that the IoT will not impact their industry in the near future. Remarkably, that’s the biggest challenge faced by industry leaders given the current wave of technological disruption – it strikes when businesses least expect it. We discuss the best practices to adopt the IoT while avoiding security threats and livid situations.
Establishing Technology Standards and Interoperability Parameters
The IoT is based on platform services & solutions, interfaces, and proprietary data sets, which are tailored to specific environments. Businesses must understand the importance of establishing unified Application Programming Interface (API) to develop a homogeneous IoT ecosystem. Hence, businesses need to expand the interoperability and modularity by partnering with regulatory bodies and research agencies.
It will be highly cumbersome for consumers to individually manage multiple proprietary interfaces for hundreds of IoT devices. Hence, businesses, who are focusing on developing customer-centric IoT applications, must consider creating a common API management layer.
The good news is that industry leaders are beginning to develop open-source interoperability platforms.
- The Industrial Internet Consortium collaborates with organizations to establish technology standards for accessing and sharing data more reliably.
- Similarly, an innovative M2M platform provider Axeda is dedicated to creating a device-agnostic infrastructure. The platform helps businesses build cloud platforms to comply with multiple device standards.
- Open Connectivity Foundation and Allseen Alliance have merged to support the mission of developing an open, secure, and universal software framework that enables interoperability across IoT applications and devices.
Early movers can actively engage in setting technological standards to market innovative IoT applications and create revenue streams, thereby maintaining a firm grip on the market share.
Leveraging Legacy IT Architecture and Systems
Businesses will have to monitor, manage, and analyze data by tracking every move of an individual on the internet. As businesses look forward to adopting IoT and launch updated products, they build more complexities within the existing legacy IT infrastructure. Nonetheless, these existing IT systems contain a trove of data, which can be mapped and analyzed to update IoT applications. Businesses will have to explore ways to pull data from legacy IT architecture, which requires robust research and analytics.
Leaders in the technology innovation space are developing platforms to facilitate effective collection and analysis of data from legacy IT architecture including industrial appliances, healthcare devices, weather sensors, and tech & telecommunication infrastructure.
- IBM has recently expanded its IoT platform through its integration with ARM. The newly formed collaborative model called IBM IoT Foundation leverages ARM mbedTM to provide advanced analytics services to companies with traditional setups and equipment.
- Cisco acquired Parstream to create a highly specialized database that enables data analytics for complicated IoT environments. The platform helps businesses maximize the value of data from legacy IT systems.
To summarize, such analytics platforms are delivering data monitoring opportunities to businesses in critical hyper-distributed computing environments.
Companies spearheading the IoT movement with legacy IT infrastructures have an opportunity to leverage such analytics platforms for streamlining data.
Developing Cybersecurity Standards and Privacy Protocols
With the emergence of IoT, innumerable users will soon be socializing, sharing data, and transacting on the Internet. Correspondingly, sharing and collecting data for providing customized services to consumers poses challenges to businesses – data privacy threats. To reap the full value of the IoT, it is critical for companies to provide highest possible cybersecurity standards. As every interoperable product adds to the chances of breach with every node of an IoT application as an entry point, businesses must carefully secure the nodes. As an illustration, a compromised IoT-based application close to human beings can trigger exponential risks posing life-and-death situations. To avoid such mishaps, businesses must promote next-generation data encryption, and anonymize consumer insights. Perhaps more importantly, businesses geared up to adopt IoT must tout their ability to create a strong value proposition for consumers to share sensitive information.
The burgeoning IoT industry, which is expected to be worth some USD1.7 trillion by 2020, might turn into a disaster if the security remains unattended.
However, IoT and cybersecurity experts have joined hands to develop best practices for demystifying IoT security challenges.
- AT&T, Palo Alto Networks, Nokia, IBM, Trustonic and Symantec are using their combined expertise to tackle security challenges in the IoT space. This new IoT cybersecurity alliance will collaborate and research security challenges across verticals, solve problems at critical layers of IoT security, and influence various IoT security policies and standards.
- Safety certification company Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has freshly developed a Cybersecurity Assurance Program (CAP). The program aims to mitigate risks, address malware, and expand security awareness in the IoT ecosystem. For instance, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) might just shut down a user’s online activity if CAP’s ‘digital quarantine’ reports an IoT device infected with malware.
Businesses are fully accepting the repercussions of the changing landscape of cyberwarfare. Certainly, with such constructive cybersecurity initiatives, the IoT will not be termed as “Internet of Threats” in the future.
Weathering the Storm
IoT equips organizations with extensive opportunities to drive smarter decisions. However, IoT is not at all a plug-and-play technology. Adoption and successful implementation of the IoT will require scalable infrastructure, robust customization strategies, and vast storage capacity with efficient data analytics platform tailored to a specific objective. Consequently, organizations must adapt to deal with the gray areas in a constantly shifting landscape to reap IoT’s incredible potential. The line is constantly moving, which stresses the need for a secured architecture.
The physical and digital worlds are increasingly blending together as the IoT continues to push into diverse industries. What’s more, this trend will continue to inflate the opportunities for businesses who are ready to adopt IoT. Nonetheless, businesses will face a challenging ecosystem given the unpredictable shifts. After all, customers have also awoken to a phase of security and privacy awareness, thus paving the way for a new culture of strategic IoT experimentation.
Organizations that fail to build a robust strategy for adopting IoT will do so at their peril.
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