Digital analyst Brian Solis predicts (conservatively) that by 2020, more than 40 billion devices will be Internet-connected. And with this ubiquitous connectivity comes the domino effect of any new technology—from security risks and marketing opportunities to added conveniences. Imagine having a recipe appear on your smartphone based on what you’re about to buy in the grocery store. Or imagine a car that predicts what time to begin warming up on a cold winter morning based on how early your alarm clock went off? As digital marketer Mark Fidelman wrote in Forbes, the above examples are just a taste of what lies ahead. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular predictions of the fast-approaching “Internet of Everything.”
The World’s Economy Will Reach Unprecedented Levels of Technology Spending
Forbes reports that the economic impact of the Internet of Things, or IoT, could reach $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025—or in other words, about 11 percent of the worldwide economy. This includes spending on sensors/modules, connectivity, IT services and software. Despite increased spending from IoT—or maybe because of it—cities and governments will enjoy substantial savings from increased revenue and efficiency. Consumers will experience some cost savings, but the business-to-business markets will benefit the most, from a fiscal standpoint, according to Forbes. Future drivers of IoT spending are expected to mirror current trends—which focus heavily on reducing operational costs, providing better customer service, and acquiring/retaining customers, reports information technology research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
IoT Will Bring Security Challenges—and Lots of Them
With the explosion of IoT, cost savings, convenience and efficiency come at a price that is difficult to predict and potentially more harmful than we can anticipate. By its very nature, IoT collects immeasurable amounts of personal data. Although it’s true that most of the data collected is never used, this could change with the influx of connected devices. With increased connectivity comes added sophistication and the potential for emerging opportunities that require—and utilize—more of our personal data. According to IDC, security tops the list of concerns and barriers to IoT adoption in today’s market. Eventually, experts report, the tipping point where the IoT reaches nearly every aspect of our lives is inevitable.
“To tap into the full potential of the IoT requires improved data and application analytics, better security, and more individuals with the ability to understand big data,” Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer of Extreme Networks, told Forbes. “The IoT puts many more doors on the Internet that need to be securely locked and monitored. Already spam and phishing emails are being sent by and to home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and refrigerators.”
Industry standards bodies are working to establish baseline security measures and protocols—but will technology outpace our ability to regulate it? “Security concerns are developing faster than IoT,” David Roe of CMSWire writes. As the IoT evolves, there will be billions of connected devices—and each one represents a potential doorway into your IT infrastructure and your company or personal data.”
How is your business preparing for the future of IoT? What are you most excited about, and what are your biggest challenges?