When the “Internet of Things” (IoT) was coined a few years ago, some thought it was a cute marketing phrase that would slowly fizzle out over time. But instead, the IoT is a real phenomenon that is growing exponentially, with no end in sight. From an IT perspective, keeping up with the IoT is a real challenge.
Practically Everything is Connected to the Internet
To begin to understand IoT, consider the Samsung Family Hub. While it sounds like a family gathering place, it’s actually a...refrigerator. It connects to the internet and does a whole lot more than keep your food cold. With the Family Hub, you can stream music, search for recipes, leave notes for family members, and upload photos. You can tap and swipe directly on the built-in screen or use an app on your smartphone. The refrigerator has three built-in cameras that takes interior pictures every time the door closes, which means you can log in from the grocery store to see whether or not you need milk.
Other examples of things connected to the Internet? Electronic billboards, screens at fast-food chains (menus and advertisements), fryolators (tracking maintenance), baby monitors (checking heartbeats and skin temperature), prescription bottles (reminding you to take your meds), thermostats (regulating the temperature of your home), and home security systems (sending alerts if someone breaks in). The list of things connected to the internet is getting longer by the day.
Managing IoT Data is Challenging
The IoT is generating an incredible amount of data, and IT teams are challenged with managing it. Security and privacy concerns play a huge role, as well as disaster recovery strategies for “just in case.” Many organizations are asking the question: Do we want to manage this ourselves on-premises or do we want to hire a service provider to manage it for us in the cloud?
There are a lot of factors to consider when answering this question:
- How much can our IT staff handle on-premises?
- Do we want to manage hardware?
- Can we keep up with firmware updates?
- How do we scale?
- Can we design a hybrid solution between on-prem and the cloud?
- What are the risks involved with a cloud strategy?
- What is “data in motion”?
- How can I avoid getting a giant bill from a rogue application?
There are no “wrong” answers, but the questions can’t be answered in a vacuum. The issues need to be addressed in a well-considered strategy that is in alignment with an organization’s overall business objectives. When you take the time to plan and design a comprehensive strategy up front, you will end up with a cost-effective and smooth implementation that serves your organization both now and in the future. (Rather than look at your current applications and duplicate what you already have; there are often more efficient solutions.) We’ve heard horror stories about organizations that didn’t plan accordingly. Don’t let that happen to you.
The age of the machine is here. It’s not going anywhere. If you have a need or a requirement, come have a no-obligation conversation with us. As technologists, we talk about this all the time. Think outside the box. What you think is impossible, may actually be possible.
We’re always here.