As WiFi becomes more widely deployed and networking and processing costs come down, IoT is growing faster than ever before, with a predicted economic value that seems to double almost daily. With network providers doing everything they can to make it easy to connect dozens, if not hundreds of devices in every home, we may soon find ourselves unable to count the number of connected devices in our homes and offices.

However, getting to this stage of near unlimited IoT connectivity will require a fundamental reorientation in the way that technologists and product designers’ work together to create successful “connected” machines. There is limited value in creating an advanced piece of technology that people don’t know how to use.

The evolution to ‘IoT 2.0’ may end up being more difficult for many companies to achieve than originally estimated - not because of their lack of technological expertise, but simply because they may not understand the value of design in connected product development and what it means to the people using the end solution. If IoT is to be successful, UX and technology must be thought of in parallel.

IoT challenges in the business world

If the issues with consumer uptake of IoT are significant, they don’t even begin to stack up to the challenges facing the business world. There are businesses that have adequately embraced IoT's efficiency-boosting capabilities to improve performance. From using location sensors in factory components, through to shops that can now monitor the number of people arriving at a specific time and in a certain location, many industries will never be the same again now that IoT is becoming mainstream.

However, the business world faces a major challenge in that the tools that help businesses deploy and secure IoT devices are, quite simply, not fit for purpose. If businesses are going to use IoT effectively, they need an IT infrastructure that is fit for purpose. With a heavy reliance on cloud, coupled with an increase in data transmitted and the devices connected to the datacentre, businesses must have an IT infrastructure can handle the demands IoT brings.

Security and privacy concerns could well be the downfall of IoT

All WiFi enabled devices, from household appliances and heating systems to drones, has the potential to be compromised. The security risks inherent in the transmission of data makes it all the more invaluable that businesses creating IoT enabled devices implement sophisticated security measures to keep data safe and secure.

Network connectivity and a record number of devices

IoT presents operators with huge potential for market growth, and with it giving end users better control of their devices than ever before, there’s demand from both sides for it to work.

However, if IoT is to truly take off, it is essential for operators to have an understanding of how to build a network that can handle the expected level of traffic. Devices may only need to transmit small amounts of data at a time, but the sheer numbers of them could have a negative effect on the quality of experience for end users. Even though the connections are low speed and low volume, it’s the vast number of them that is a big concern.

While dedicated IoT networks are being deployed and many experts predict that “5G” technologies will help to support the vast number of connections, there still may be problems with performance and reliability if the right solutions aren’t implemented. In this way, the success of IoT also relies on reliable, secure connectivity to enable the data to flow between devices.

How to prepare your datacentre

What about the volume of data IoT will create? With the number of devices and the amount of data, businesses must focus on their IoT service platform requirements at all levels - not just individual servers or storage devices, but the datacentre itself.

Processing large quantities of IoT data in real-time will increase the workloads of datacentres, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges. It means it’s more important than ever that businesses of all sizes prepare their IT landscape accordingly.

As M2M communication increases, datacentres will transform, so investment in the datacentre will be critical for IoT services to reach full potential. This must work in parallel with datacentre managers deploying more forward-looking capacity management so that they are able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT.

While IoT has the potential to make a huge step change in consumers’ lives and the way businesses capitalise on new opportunities, in order for it to be successful, most businesses have a lot of preparing to do.

With hundreds of millions of connected devices, businesses and individuals must ensure the information shared is safe while also ensuring IT estates can cope with the data and connectivity demands IoT brings to the table.

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