Some days it might be hard to believe, but our lives are becoming smarter. Or at least, more connected. 2015 saw the Internet of Things (IoT) pick up significant momentum. In 2016, how exactly can you expect IoT to affect the way you live and work?
2015’s momentum will certainly continue to pick up pace. In fact, it’s predicted that every day in 2016 will see 5.5 million new things get connected. A fact that is not at all surprising to those in attendance at CES in Las Vegas, where connected devices were evident en masse.
If it hasn’t done so already, IoT looks set to make itself known to us in every area of our lives. According to Fortune, CES also signalled a slight change in focus for IoT development, away from building devices, and towards services to that improve our environment, and the ways we live and work.
As I wrote about, last year we already saw IoT gathering pace as customers used TeamViewer to connect to and control fish feeding devices out at sea, wind power turbines, cash registers and even water filtration systems.
This is still just the beginning. Businesses will continue to adopt IoT for an enormous variety of uses in 2016.
The rapid expansion of IoT will inevitably generate considerable new demands, in both bandwidth and security challenges as well as a burgeoning need for remote support to keep these devices up and running.
The question therefore is even more burning this year than last: How will businesses support IoT?
How can companies prepare for the IoT revolution?
The challenge businesses have when faced with handling potentially millions of devices is that it can drain an enormous amount of network resource away from employees.
To address this issue, we expect to see more and more organisations moving substantial parts of their IT infrastructure to the cloud.
It is important to remember though that while hosted IoT platforms will support the implementation of applications, business specific apps might have to access internal services as well as data residing within the company network.
In cases like this, a robust access and rights management process will be vital to ensure security of the network.
Troubleshooting options for technical support
The sheer proliferation of devices underpinning the IoT revolution will put huge demands on technical support teams.
There will be dire need for innovative new approaches to one of IoT’s biggest challenges; technical support.
Each of the millions of devices that are set to be deployed on a daily basis in 2016 will need maintenance, repair and firmware or software updates. In many cases, these devices will also be unattended.
Unattended access to android devices opens up many more opportunities for IoT projects. Android is not only the operating system of choice for smartphones and tablets but also many of the less than obvious devices that will make up the IoT.
For example, devices such as adaptive lighting, heating controls and ventilation systems in homes and offices all require access and management remotely and virtually.
Add to that the huge number of connected devices running Android in commercial environments such as point of sale, advertising displays and ATMs and you begin to see the scale of the technical support issue.
Closing the data gap
Finally, one of the key challenges of IoT will be how to make sense of the vast amount of telemetry and sensor data being collected.
Experience in data science and data analytics is going to be essential in generating insights that drive more effective business strategies.
Complex IoT deployments are pointless if they fail to deliver competitive value. Closing the data gap will be crucial to successful IoT deployments throughout the coming year.
The impact of IoT on ‘the way we do things’ is not just going to affect many areas of our daily life as consumers and employees; it will also lead to fundamental changes in the IT infrastructure that our organisations depend upon.
In 2016, we will begin to experience the scale of these changes, while the most innovative organisations will start to get to grips with their complexities.