Whatever industry you are in, your competition is likely to be continuously searching for new battlegrounds of differentiation. One very popular area for innovation across all types of business is Internet of Things (IoT). The fascination with IoT has grown tremendously in recent years and is showing no sign of slowing – mainly due to the wide scope of capabilities and business opportunities that can come out of this technology.

We want to share some examples of organisations investing in a long-term IoT strategy, to stay ahead in the competitive game as more and more organisations start unlocking the many benefits of increased connectivity across all areas of our lives.

1. Amazon

It is widely known that Amazon is a forward-thinking business which builds on the concept of quick market share through cost-effective services. This is something that continues to colour Amazon’s future strategy, as they are now making substantial investment in IoT technology and looking at becoming the major player to service the connected home and office. Some of the innovations introduced include simple “dash buttons” for one-click ordering of specific consumables, and mini controller units for the smart home, equipped with artificial intelligence.

However, Amazon’s vision goes beyond simply providing gadgets – as they are looking to integrate these IoT innovations into various other aspects of online and offline scenarios. Intelligent homes, cars, offices, hospitals, distribution and factories will soon see Amazon disrupting the way services and products are being delivered.

2. The National Security Agency (NSA)

When it comes to national security, particularly in the United States, monitoring mobile devices and online activity is nothing new. However, as biometric technology now becomes more accessible and affordable, this is an increasingly popular field of research. For institutions like the National Security Agency (NSA), it’s all about understanding and intercepting the technology mostly used by the dark forces of terrorism and oppression, rather than investing in the latest popular devices in the marketplace. Regardless of this, biometric technology is seen as a growth area across the board and one which may well be considered for the toolbox of the spy of tomorrow.

3. Qadium

An ex-CIA analyst and some of his fellow consultants at the DoD research department recently started a business called Qadium which is described as a “Google for IoT”. Their solution can systematically scan the entire landscape of IoT devices connected to the public internet and report any vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in order to prevent hacking. It was obvious to these innovators that appliances such as CCTV cameras, power plants and traffic control systems were potential hacking targets which could cause serious disruption if taken down. This caught the attention of public agencies as well as private companies who rely heavily on data from interconnected devices in the field.

This innovation has already attracted 26 million dollars worth of investment in the US, which clearly shows that there is a huge interest in safeguarding the IoT infrastructure and enabling the network to grow safely.

4. The NHS

For many organisations, IoT is not necessarily about innovating for commercial growth or satisfying a technology-hungry audience, but it is instead centred around making strategic investments that will make the money travel further.

In the wake of several years of financial crisis, the NHS is looking at a wide range of IoT-driven options for reducing operational cost and pressures on staff, while still maintaining a good, reliable service to its patients. Some of these innovations provide predictive analysis for assessing risk factors for patients with dementia or mental health issues, while others focus on enabling the care professionals to better support patients through monitoring health events and engaging the right resources at the right time.

Regardless of how organisations choose to capitalise on the growth of IoT, the technology also raises the issue of data privacy and user integrity. One of the challenges now facing organisations looking to invest in IoT will be how to balance the functionality benefit for the user, against the ever increasing sensation of being constantly watched, tracked and analysed. This technology has the potential to disrupt the tech world in very powerful ways, if businesses harness their users’ data responsibly – without abusing their vantage point.