Balancing IoT Opportunities and Risks

The hype surrounding the Internet of things has reached epic proportions. Nevertheless, the IoT is very real and it is rapidly transforming business and IT. The New Jersey Institute of Technology has released a new report and infographic that snaps the emerging IoT into perspective and offers insights into the technology’s opportunities and risks.

Already, about 1.9 billion devices are connected, NJIT reports. Rapid adoption is occurring as a result of three primary factors: miniaturization, wireless connectivity and increased data storage capacity. Over the next decade, the technology will touch consumers, businesses, cities and even state and federal government.

What this means for CIOs and other business and IT executive is that as the market grows from $1.3 trillion in 2013 to $3.04 trillion in 2020, the number of developers devoted to IoT tasks will swell from 300,000 to a whopping 4.5 million.

But there’s also a need for greater security expertise. At present, about 70 percent of devices are vulnerable to hacking, including TVs, webcams, home thermostats, sprinkler controllers, door locks, garage door openers and even automobiles. Eight out of 10 devices that NJIT tested raised privacy concerns revolving around consumer data and credit card credentials. What’s more, 80 percent of IoT devices failed to require adequate passwords and 70 percent did not use data encryption over the network.

Overall, companies developing connected devices, and industry as a whole, must focus on five core areas, according to NJIT. Besides security, there’s a need for better interoperability standards; an improved understanding of how to store, manage and use data; better analysis of wireless connectivity costs; and better power consumption and battery life.

The NJIT report points out that businesses and governments are already realizing significant gains as a result of the IoT. For example, Cincinnati realized a 17 percent reduction in waste volume and a 49 percent rise in recycling volume when it adopted IoT monitoring for waste limits, and Dubai Aluminum improved fuel efficiency of its gas turbines by 1.5 percent while increasing output by 3.4 percent by analyzing sensor-collected operating data.

The IoT is rapidly reshaping business and government. It’s critical for CIOs to get connected to a hyper-connected world.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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