The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. (Wikipedia).
Think about your Apple devices. The iPhone offers so many online possibilities and talks to other devices such as the new Apple Watch. Internet connectivity has become a necessity for most of society today.
From an industrial viewpoint, the Internet of Things will enable constant communication within the Supply Chain. Increased productivity comes when the machine used in the factory can alert the maintenance center of an impending problem. For example, Zebra Technologies’ barcode printers can monitor the remaining life of its printheads and alert IT to the end-of-life, allowing time to replace the part before it causes a work stoppage.
Geo-locating systems track route-delivery vehicles and calculate the optimum travel time; shipping containers are quickly located in the vast storage areas of our water ports; critically ill patients are monitored remotely via an Internet connection. Cloud Computing has become common place. A few years ago none of this was possible, but the Internet of Things is exploding with the improvement in mobile technology.
Security then becomes a huge issue as “things” are continually connected online. How do we avoid cyber-terrorism? One security expert believes that Artificial Intelligence is the answer. Teach our computers to protect themselves, learning to identify the signs of a cyber-attack and to throw up firewalls as needed.
Are we moving toward the world of “Big Brother” from the novel 1984? Each of us can be tracked by locating our cell phones; the NSA is listening to our phone conversations. Whether we like it or not, the IoT is here to stay. As business people we must learn how to maximize its possibilities for increased communication and productivity. And we should be doing this sooner rather than later.