Inside the future of the Internet of Things

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Is the Internet of Things here to stay or a futuristic scenario that won’t truly come to fruition? Earlier this year, The Motley Fool stated, “buzzwords may come and go, but this one refers to a real megatrend in technology.”

IoT hasn’t quite been fully deployed yet, but it is a topic B2B firmss should be paying attention to because its business potential is immense.  To clarify, IoT refers to the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states.

But is this trend mature yet? We have noticed many adjustments that will likely need to be made in order for the B2B space to take advantage of the Internet of Things.

What’s holding IoT back?

Despite all the fantastic advances in tech, it appears there are a few major factors holding us back from total immersion into IoT. Earlier this week a report by McKinsey Global Institute evaluated some of the contributing delays to IoT, pointing to 5 obstacles.

Interoperability – Businesses will not only need to have interoperability internally, but externally too. The report noted enterprises are not quite ready. In order for IoT to fully “arrive,” partners, clients and other parties will have to work together to be on the same proverbial page and achieve standardization of technology so they can interact with each other.

Low cost and low-power hardware – The McKinsey Global Institute report felt “some” progress has been made in this area. With prices coming down as use of certain technologies is adopted, feasibility might be more achievable if costs for items such as RFID tags, cloud computing and storage pricing (to name a few) continues to drop.

Reliable wirelessIn a nutshell, McKinsey feels we’re “not there yet,” especially in developing economies. Wireless can be undependable in more rural areas and these businesses will need to be able to continuously be connected. 

The analytics piece – The McKinsey report indicates some progress has been in data mining from simply being amassed to becoming something of value. Although, people possessing the skills to make this happen are needed. Too much collected data remains isolated and there needs to be more of a seamless way to integrate it tap into its real power. 

Privacy and security –This is a major issue, and McKinsey referred to this as “a lawyer’s banquet.” Not surprising privacy and security have long been at odds. Compliance with privacy-related laws will be a huge concern. Ownership of data is also another important consideration. Bottom line: with the high level of connectivity associated with IoT comes a lot of responsibility and a potential minefield of issues.

What do others say about IoT potential?

While some experts feel IoT isn’t ready, there are many perceived benefits associated with it, and it is definitely a space for B2Bs to watch. Many products are often aimed at consumers, but Aria Systems says B2Bs should not feel “left out of the party”, noting market potential for IoT may even be larger for B2B firms. Earlier this year at CEBIT 2015, several companies showcased their latest innovations which were designed with IoT in mind and aimed at B2B professionals.

How can B2B firms harness IoT?

An April 2015 article in Forbes recommends businesses have an IoT strategy. It won’t be long before massive amounts of information can be turned into products, and B2B companies can integrate these various forms of data into their existing business models and/or enhance existing markets. Or B2Bs can expand into new niches once the right fit is identified.

As the world gets “smarter”, there are many ways businesses will find IoT is reshaping the B2B marketing landscape. It is only a matter of time before innovation enables organizations to climb over the aforementioned hurdles. Once this happens, new models will emerge on how to monetize the large amounts of data being passed around. As The Motley Fool notes, “Everything will be measured, reported, analyzed and made to return useful takeaways.”

While IoT is not “ready”, there will come a day it will be. Is your firm prepared for this transformation? If not, you might want to reexamine your strategy and start making sure all your ducks are in a row. Standardization and having the right talents and knowledge will be crucial as the future arrives, and you don’t want to get surpassed by your competition.

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Leigh Goessl

Leigh Goessl

Leigh Goessl has been writing on the web since 2007. She currently is a freelance writer and enjoys writing about business and tech topics. Leigh's previous work includes ghost writing for a a legal website, a major online college and an education website. Her education includes an MBA with a concentration in information security.