We’ve already begun seeing how the Internet of Things(IoT), the tech industry’s term for computerized consumer devices (e.g. thermostats, light fixtures, home alarms), can change our lives for the better, both in the consumer market with companies likeNest, and in theenterprise.
The connectivity, analysis, and management that IoT will provide promises to make our lives easier, more efficient, and even longer if companies like Apple continue pursuing health-monitoring products.
But IoT isn’t without its challenges. If the Internet of Things is going to really take off, here are the obstacles it will have to overcome:
In order for smart devices to have a meaningful impact on our lives they have to be able to connect to and communicate with each other. These connections have to be consistent and reliable, otherwise the data is only going in one direction and is considerably less useful. If the IoT is going to succeed, devices will need to be connected reliably 100% of the time.
Security is probably one of the most obvious challenges to the IoT. We’ve already seen smart devices used to attack businesses. Recently hackers used a smart refrigerator to send malicious emails to thousands of businesses. In order to secure these devices, IoT companies will need to ensure that they can only be accessed by their designated users, that their data is encrypted, and that the devices aren’t vulnerable to just anyone online.
3. Presence Detection
In order for your smart devices to work collaboratively, you need to know that all your devices are online and be able to fix any that come off of your network. The ability to monitor smart devices’ connectivity in one place will be crucial to keeping them at their maximum efficacy and value. What good is a smart thermostat if it stops working but you don’t realise it?
4. Power Efficiency
Having multiple devices online and communicating with one another simultaneously uses a lot of energy. Considering that one of the main appeals of the IoT is reducing our overall power consumption through monitoring our behaviour (this is the main selling point for products like the Nest thermostat), it’s important that smart devices not hog electricity and render themselves completely counterproductive.
In addition to power, smart devices also consume a lot of bandwidth (because they’re connected to the internet constantly). Having the networks to support all of our devices will be crucial to the success of the IoT overall.
With 5G mobile networks about a decade away, we may have to wait a few years before our internet can fully support the services the IoT has to offer. Until then we’ll have to experience the Internet of Things in its piecemeal glory.
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