The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a more connected world, giving us the opportunity to increase efficiency while saving time and money. Yet it’s still in its infancy, which means there are a number of challenges facing businesses just getting started. In this blog post we take a look at some of the challenges and issues you’re likely to face if your business is dipping its toes into the IoT this year.

Top IoT challenges for businesses

Whether you’re implementing IoT to track customer activities in a retail environment or harnessing its power for safety and maintenance, the IoT has a myriad of different applications. There’s lots to consider if your business is getting started with the IoT – so what issues and challenges should you be aware of?

  1. Security and privacy
    There’s one challenge that should be a priority for any business starting out with the IoT: security. Symantec has already predicted more severe attacks both from and on IoT devices in the coming year, following a recent wave of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks which exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices.
    With more objects than ever before connecting to the IoT, it’s not just security we need to worry about, but privacy too. Anything that connects to the internet can be hacked – and connected products, from fridges to vehicles, can be utilised to spy on their users.
    Another major security concern is IoT and the Cloud. While it’s true that IoT is more secure than your average home or business internet connection, it isn’t fool proof. Take down just one cloud datacentre and the economic impact could be catastrophic for business.
    Data security is also a key challenge for companies starting out with the IoT, particularly if you’re handling sensitive personal information such as facial ID.
  1. Standardisation
    As it’s relatively early days for the IoT, standardisation and regulation don’t yet exist. That’s a problem for businesses that generally rely on legislation and standardisation to ensure they’re doing things ‘by the book’.
    It’s a major challenge to standardise the IoT, with so many different connected objects all running on different standards, speaking to each other and sharing information. Many businesses would rather wait for government standards and regulations to be introduced before harnessing the power of the IoT. But you could miss out by waiting. A report by Salesforce revealed that over 50% of consumers are more likely to do business with an innovative company.
    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Standards Association is already developing and working on a huge number of standards. Microsoft has also introduced IoT Central, their system for IoT devices, designed to simplify the process of creating IoT networks and give you a central platform when setting up devices.
  1. Data integrity
    Just as it’s vital to keep your office hardware up to date, the same applies to the IoT. Regardless of how your business is utilising the IoT, you’ll have data coming at you from all directions, and separating the useful information from the chatter can prove challenging. Calibrating your IoT sensors regularly and keeping your IoT hardware updated is essential.
  1. Connectivity
    Figures from predict that over 30 billion units will be connected to the IoT by 2020. With so many objects connected, bottlenecks in efficiency, performance and connectivity are likely, something your business will need to be prepared for.
  1. Complexity of the IoT
    There’s no point pretending that you know everything there is to know about the IoT. Because of the rate it’s evolving, nobody does – and it can be more complex than you might expect. If your company is starting out with the IoT, hiring a specialist division, or outsourcing to experts to handle things like privacy and data management is important. You’ll also want to seek advice on upgrading your hardware and software. Because no official standards or best practices exist yet for IoT, your business is reliant on the provider you choose to offer solutions.

No pain, no gain

Although the IoT can be complex, its benefits for your business shouldn’t be underestimated. If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to the IoT, or worried about security, standardisation or any of the other challenges mentioned, don’t hesitate to seek expert help. Partner with a company who can help you get started and face the challenges ahead.