About IoT-Over the past 10 years or so, the promise of an interconnected everything has intrigued us all. Now, the original concept of the internet has broken free of the desktop computer and is busily inserting itself into a vast array of devices, from wearable electronics and home appliances to business machinery.
Companies, governments and other organizations are deploying billions of sensors to connect just about everything you can think of to the internet of things (IoT), and they’re intent on automating tasks and capturing as much data as possible to streamline their operations or gain some competitive advantage. As the vice president and chief technology officer of a company that provides IoT services and aggregates data from sensor systems, I have witnessed a lot of experimentation with IoT systems and have seen a lot of missed expectations.
The IoT — initially lauded as an overly hyped technology concept — is quickly changing the way we live, work and play, and it most definitely is also producing an overwhelming amount of data.
So now that you can make nearly every device smarter, should you?
Be Aware Of Information Overload
Data is power. But it’s only powerful if you’re able to make sense of it all. And that’s one problem with deploying IoT in every way imaginable: It’s like trying to drink from a fire hose. The deluge of unstructured data can be a burden to the organization that is not fully prepared to absorb it.
While storage capacities and processing power are growing by leaps and bounds, IT infrastructure still has its limits. A flood of IoT data has the power to overwhelm a company’s resources and demand they either pull the plug or make significant new IT investments. In fact, one Network Worldarticle noted that Gartner predicted “2017 will see 60 percent of big data projects fail,” and I’ve seen that hold true today.
Keep Security In Mind
Did you hear the one about the casino that was hacked through its IoT-connected fish tank? Yes, that happened. And it’s just one of many cases where unsuspecting organizations were caught off-guard and infiltrated through seemingly innocuous IoT devices. Hackers can hijack internet-enabled home security cameras, they can subvert cardiac pacemaker devices and they can remotely commandeer personal vehicles. If it provides a doorway to your network, it’s safe to assume there’s someone out there who’s trying to get in.
Everyone knows that the threats to internet security are more prevalent and malicious than ever, so why aren’t IoT solutions more secure? There are a few reasons. Cost is one of them. Companies with big IoT ambitions often want inexpensive hardware they can roll out by the thousands, and device makers are obliged to deliver. In my experience, equipping the sensors (or the devices that contain the sensors) with airtight security features can double the cost. Secondly, robust security makes it harder for hackers to get at the data, but it can also create access headaches for the users themselves.