IoT growth in the workplace is inevitable as we are transitioning into a culture where physical objects are being connected to the digital world through sensors. The “father of sensors” Janus Bryzek even described it as “the largest growth in the history of humans.” The internet of things will create new applications, new processes and new business opportunities, however it also has the potential to put a lot of strain on your wireless network's performance.
For starters, it will bring in massive amounts of data, brand new devices and protocols, heavy and complex traffic, higher demands on cloud services, as well as security issues.
To be successful you will need an IoT strategy that can address these growing issues, as well as a strategy that can scale and adapt to a technology that's still in it's infancy.
The internet of things brings with it many different complexities, to help you create a successful IoT strategy we've laid out 3 critical areas every business should be prepared for.
The biggest issue with IoT is scalability. As more objects, machines and devices are coming online how will your network plan to support them all?
These devices will require bandwidth and management to function properly and to maximize their effectiveness.
With large amounts of connected devices comes visibility issues. You will need a wifi management platform that can efficiently scale as your numbers increase, or else risk creating visibility holes over your infrastructure that in turn will compromise both your overall performance and security.
Often times when your network doesn't have proper visibility, you either have to monitor fewer things or monitor less frequently. Both will create a lot of problems in the long run.
2. Big-Data Management
One of the biggest opportunities that the internet of things offers business who choose to embrace the technology is big-data.
With an endless amount of objects and machines that can be equipped with sensors or made into "smart-objects/machines", comes with them an endless amount of data.
This information has the ability to transform every business by allowing them to make smarter and faster decisions all in real-time.
It's a growing shift in how we do business. Gartner even predicts that, "by 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80% of business processes and products from a decade earlier".
The challenge is harnessing all of this information. It's all out there ready for the taking, it's up to you to figure out how to collect it, analyze it and turn it into context that creates actionable results.
Suggested Reading: "How to Design Better Contextual Wi-Fi Experiences Using Beacons"
It's not a vertically driven landscape anymore, Big-data is now, and will be connected to everyone and everything. In business this means your entire process, from raw materials and production, to supply chains and distribution, even the weather and social media will offer information that can be collected and used to drive more efficient businesses.
Your businesses ability to compete and sustain itself in the emerging digital economy will be based around how well you're able to create, manage and leverage information.
One of the most prominent issues when adding any new technology is security. With IoT you have to focus on both data and network security.
Maintaining complete visibility and control of your wireless network while enhancing the user’s experience may prove to be the biggest challenge in IoT.
However, integrating an authentication process will help you maintain complete visibility. You also need to gather all necessary information about how the technology is being used by your staff and clients in order to come up with and apply proper security policies.
Unfortunately standards haven't been established yet when it comes the IoT however, at this point current network security best practices still apply.
Suggested Reading: “How to Plan for Mobility Without Sacrificing Your WLAN's Security"
The IoT will bring in a lot of opportunities and challenges to your network. As with any new technology your success will be determined by how well you plan. Remember what you want to accomplish drives the infrastructure needed to support those goals.
If you have any questions regarding your current wireless network or would like to discuss a new wireless network design to support a growing IoT strategy, simply contact us here!