The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to gain speed. In fact, it is happening so quickly that Gartner estimates that 25 billion “things” will be in use by 2020.
As a refresher, the IoT is a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enable them to collect and exchange data. These connected devices can include anything from medical devices to wearable technology such as fitness. While some of these “things” have been around for years, new devices are being created at breakneck speed with capabilities to gather and communicate data that are driving the IoT movement forward faster than ever.
Already, we’ve seen several well-known brands dipping their toes into the IoT. In 2013, Disney World® launched MagicBand, a wristband that allows visitors to enter the parks, unlock their Disney Resort hotel room and shop for food or merchandise. The band, which tracks visitor movement by RFID, permits Disney to capture data that is used to better accommodate guests, properly staff attractions and regulate inventory.
Another successful example is one in use by the United Parcel Service (UPS). The company places sensors on delivery vehicles to track speed, miles per gallon, fleet mileage and engine health and more. According to UPS, the sensors capture more than 200 data points for each vehicle in its fleet of more than 80,000. This data helps the company lower fuel costs, tighten operations and reduce harmful emissions.
What’s driving — and in fact, enabling — companies to pursue these innovations is the cloud. While the opportunities brought by the IoT are vast, companies must balance the desire to collect and analyze data with the ability to store it and with the risk of loss or misuse of that information.
As the IoT becomes more prevalent, data from connected devices and sensors will need to be processed and stored. Within three years, IDC expects 50 percent of IT networks around the globe will transform from having excess capacity to handle IoT-generated data to being constrained with nearly 10 percent of networks overwhelmed by the IoT.
With the growth of the IoT, hackers also now have an expanded surface area to attack. Protecting intellectual property, customer data and operational infrastructures is more important than ever.
If your organization wants to capitalize on what the IoT can offer, the right partner can help. A reliable cloud services provider will have the expertise on staff to help you get started, and can provide the security, performance, storage and scale you need to run IoT applications and harvest the resulting data. There is no sign of the IoT slowing down, so don’t get left behind. Align yourself with the right cloud services partner now.
Gartner Press Release, Gartner Says 4.9 Billion Connected “Things” Will Be in Use in 2015,” November 11, 2014
UPS, “Big Data = Big Wins for the Environment,” 2013.
IDC, “Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions,” 2015