The “Internet of Things” seeks to connect our home and life to the mobile devices around us, but what does the IoT movement potentially mean for the enterprise? Connecting our entire lives to our devices not only benefits us in our daily lives, but could positively affect our workplace and fundamentally transform the enterprise.
IDC reports that the Internet of Things is expected to be a $8.9 trillion market by 2020. Hung LeHong, vice president at Gartner, referred to IoT as “a superset, the umbrella term that covers all areas, including consumer, industrial and public sector.” IoT offers real-time communication between devices and objects and, ultimately, us. Home automation systems are at the forefront of IoT, with projects such as Google’s Nest thermostat and Apple’s HomeKit. Nest recently purchases DropCam, maker of Internet-connected video cameras, putting it one step closer to a “conscious home.” Apple announce HomeKit at the WWDC this month, which will be used to link and control multiple home devices to the iOS system.
These steps toward the connected home make us wonder- what’s in it for the enterprise? What can the IoT bring to the workplace? We’re envisioning, well, a lot.
For those of us with early morning meetings, setting the alarm for 5 A.M. and then waking up to an email letting us know the meeting was cancelled can be a huge bummer- might as well make a cup of coffee and get up. But, not with the IoT- imagine your email is synced to the alarm on your phone, when the notification that your meeting was cancelled comes in, your alarm automatically adjusts, allowing you to sleep in.
We all enjoy a snow day from time to time, so consider that your phone can tell when the weather is bad and gets the email notification that work is closed for the day- cue shutting off the alarm and letting you blissfully enjoy your day off.
On the other side, imagine a last minute 8 A.M. phone call is scheduled while you’re asleep. No worries, your smart alarm + email system has got it covered, and your alarm has been adjusted to 7 A.M., giving you time to prep and get on the phone.
We all commute around traffic, and guessing whether to take the feeder or hop on the freeway can be a pain. With the IoT, your car, office and navigation can all be connected, allowing you to take the shortest route to work, adjust where you’re heading depending on morning meetings, take you the quickest way to your lunch affairs, or show you the best route home based on traffic jams, accidents and daily traffic.
Also, in this IoT enterprise world, your phone can alert your boss, letting them know if you’re running late due to unexpected traffic, and they can pinpoint your exact location from the office and exactly how long until your arrival.
The IoT could allow our mobile devices to connect with our office building- serving as a sort of badge or ID to allow us in and out, or whatever restrictions apply within the company. Your calendar and notifications would stream across all devices: your phone, tablet, laptop, the screens around your office, pinging you on your smartwatch; wherever you are, the IoT is letting you know where you need to be.
While much of this sounds futuristic, it’s all becoming reality, beginning in the home and moving into the office.
The Internet of Things isn’t going to seamlessly integrate itself into our enterprise, there are many hurdles businesses will need to overcome to allow this kind of technology to flourish, including security concerns, scalability, and lack of standards. In addition, a recent study done by Fortinet showed that 70 percent of survey respondents were concerned about data breaches or compromised privacy due to the connected home, which would also likely be a concern in the workplace.
The survey looked at 1800 consumers between 20 and 50 that claimed to be “tech savvy” from all over the world. While a majority of surveyed respondents claimed a “connected home” was likely in the next five years, a ratio of almost 2-1 also said they felt the government should regulated how their data is collected and “what vendors are allowed or not allowed to do with it once it’s collected.”
IoT draws serious concerns regarding privacy, and the issue is sure to rise as well in the enterprise, but with enterprise mobility becoming the norm, the “connected office” is only a few steps away.
As technology advances in and outside the workplace, mobility becomes a need for employers and consumers. If your business could use a digital makeover, Enola Labs can help. Contact us about scheduling a digital strategy session today, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more enterprise technology news.