Internet of Things – All hype and no adoption?

1 year ago

How many times have you heard the terms Internet of Things and IoT batted around? Probably way too many, but do we fully understand this concept, instead of just fueling the hype? For so many, IoT is another meanless acronym, sold to the world as the next life-changing development in technology.

Internet of Things – The Current Situation

Alexandra Rehak, Research Director at Ovum recently stated,

“IoT has now moved beyond the hype stage. But there is still plenty of room for growth as only 29% of organisations so far have deployed IoT solutions. For enterprises, IoT is delivering efficiency and productivity benefits, cost savings, and improved product quality and customer experience.”

In agreement, Andrew Dunbar, General Manager at Appnovation explored a similar idea in a recent article,

“The emphasis should be on the goals it might help you achieve rather than the processes. I’m interested in losing weight, for example. Through monitoring food consumption, minimising food waste and so on, IoT can help me do that. But I’m not interested in the mechanism. I’m interested in the result. That’s what has been missed: it’s about digital means of meeting human needs.”

Despite the slow adoption of IoT, it is still shocking that 25% of small and medium-sized businesses and 9% of large organisations still lack awareness of the Internet of Things, as shown in an Analysys Mason survey last year.

Challenges in IoT

The primary challenge has been the hype around IoT not transitioning into clear case study examples demonstrating the benefits to an organisation. We need to see the financial or efficiency ROI to encourage businesses to consider IoT as a part of their overall strategy.

The Internet of Things and its devices have potentially been oversimplified. As much as we would love for it to be as simple as connecting a single device to your network, it is not. While connectivity is crucial, we need to consider the need for data analytics, cloud services, cybersecurity, and fundamentally a skills gap. When we look at the whole picture, it’s not surprising IoT hasn’t been embraced as we had hoped.

If we team that with the fact most business-related implementations of the Internet of Things have been highly customisable, this level of investment will automatically mean small medium-size enterprises (SMEs) cannot participate in IoT adoption. Larger businesses can leverage economies of scale, which contributes to them being twice as likely as an SME to execute these technologies. As these projects tend to be long term, many businesses will start with a small number of devices and grow from there.

IoT Security is Key

The biggest concern is the security of IoT, especially as Analysys Mason expects between 2018 and 2028, the number of global IoT devices to grow sevenfold to 5.3 billion. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) have recently proposed new IoT security regulations:

  • All passwords for devices connected to the Internet must be unique and not resettable to factory settings;
  • Device manufacturers must publicly provide contact details so that vulnerabilities can be reported and acted on ‘in a timely manner’;
  • Device manufacturers must explicitly state minimum time frames for security updates either in-store or online.

Aaron Hurst at Information Age has recently discussed with Mark Nicholls from RedScan, the impact of the new UK IoT security regulations means for organisations. With common languages such as C and C++ used for IoT devices, it increases the risk of a security threat due to the commonality Businesses using IoT devices risk being non-compliant with GDPR, due to the rules about data processing, consent and the right to be forgotten. They should review and update their IT and security policies in line with the above in mind.

Not all doom and gloom

Although, The Weir Group are ahead of the curve with their implementation, as Alasdair Monk IoT Product Management Director discusses in Racontuer,

“How to get enough traction in the near term to demonstrate the potential; how to put the infrastructure in place; how to integrate IoT into established infrastructure. We’ve worked through these questions and think a lot of businesses will be doing the same. But it takes significant commitment, a leap of faith. As tends to happen with digital disruption, businesses that don’t commit tend to get left behind by the market.”

In a recent blog by ESET, they state businesses need to safeguard all endpoints no matter the platform or operating system used, deploy an enterprise-grade machine learning and scanning engine layer at the network level, and leverage an endpoint detection and response tool.

The Internet of Things is not a quick fix to improve efficiencies or to rapidly benefit from cost savings. It is a long term digital transformation of your business, and businesses should consider an IoT strategy. Ensuring there is a solid plan in place for everything from, technical implementation, security, to having the correct skill sets to fully utilize IoT to its full potential in terms of data analytics. IoT hype might be over, and the buzzwords may settle down for now, but make sure your business doesn’t get left behind and consider how you could benefit from IoT now and in the future.

If you need advice on unleashing the potential of your IoT strategy, while keeping your core network, assets, and data secure, please contact us on 0808 169 1551 or, to speak to a member of the team today.