The Internet of Things is in Our Offices and Homes – What That Means
No doubt you have heard of Alexa – the Amazon virtual assistant. You’ve also likely heard of the push for so-called smart homes. This is where AI controls many elements of daily life including ordering shopping, regulating temperature and so on. This is all part of the Internet of Things (also known as IoT) and it’s here to stay.
IoT at Home and the Workplace
The main reason most people invest in smart technology is to control lighting and heating. The prospect of saving lots of money, especially on something as vital as energy, appeals to both homeowners and businesses alike.
Of course, there is more to it than Alexa and cutting energy bills. IoT is increasing in everyday devices too – even some refrigerators have smart technology that can re-order items as they run out. Your internet connected fridge might seem a novelty now, but in a few years it’s likely to be mainstream technology.
How IoT Might Help Your Business
IoT will help your business:
- Cut costs on things like utilities, sourcing, and use resources for greater efficiency
- Generates more sales through smart analytics based on customer purchases
- Regulate temperature to create a comfortable environment for customers and employees alike
Imagine an AI photocopier that automatically generates orders for replacement toner. Imagine a security system that learns to switch itself on not just as set times, but when the building is empty. Imagine a retail shelf that informs a customer that there is a special deal such as two for one on the product they just picked up. This is the future we’re talking about, but of course, as with every new technology, there are always drawbacks.
Things You Must Do When Getting a New IoT Device
While most of us are drawn to the eased productivity, there are issues about which you must be aware of. Homeowners and senior business managers alike should understand that, as with every other technology, there are security issues that could put your network and the data on it at risk.
Even a network that’s secure and uses all the safety protocols will find there are new threats to contend with; not only that, but there are also new networking issues. The presence of multiple smart devices cause lag on an already stretched network.
There are three things you ought to do when hooking up a new IoT to your business network:
- Install network monitoring to see how much your network lags because of these devices – do the benefits outweigh the resource costs?
- Carry out a vulnerability assessment to determine if there is a risk from your devices, and the relative level of risk in each case
- Make everyone aware of the potential risks and what they must do to ensure safe use of smart devices, including updating and the renewal of privacy and security policies
Every piece of new technology runs risks as your business and employees adapt. If you’re considering adding smart devices, give First Stop IT a call. We offer advice on everything from which devices to choose through to secure use.