Phones may have been the first devices to become “smart,” but the Internet of Things (IoT) aims to raise almost every object around us to that status. When we connect objects to the internet, the possibilities are virtually endless. We can operate them remotely from computers or phones, check on their status to ensure they’re functioning properly, or even optimize them to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs.
The potential of the Internet of Things is rapidly catching on. By 2020, it’s expected to become a $9 trillion industry — growing from just $3 trillion in 2014. From Fitbits, to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, to a toaster that will tell you the weather, IoT devices are becoming more pervasive than ever.
One of the most important contributing factors to the IoT’s continued success is the prevalence of the cloud. IoT applications are dependent on the cloud and its numerous benefits, which I outline below:
It won’t be long until nearly every device is a smart device — the IoT-connected smart home will have smart thermostats, smart lights, smart appliances, and even smart sprinklers. All these and many more devices demand additional processing power, and the cloud makes it easier for developers to deploy these processes.
- Detailed Analytics
The IoT is all about data, and the data analytics possibilities offered by the cloud will help developers understand how these devices are performing their various functions. It will also be useful to the consumer, who will be able to stay informed about the operating status of various devices. Data has been called the “new oil,” and businesses in the data and analytics space are rushing to take advantage of rich data mining opportunities presented by the IoT environment.
Cloud infrastructure provides an incredibly accessible environment where developers who aren’t backed by enormous corporate budgets can still create innovative new devices that take advantage of IoT connectivity. Without the “plug and play” opportunity provided by the cloud, these talented developers would have a much more difficult time turning their visions into reality.
Many IoT devices have struggled with security issues, and it’s no wonder consumers aren’t exactly in the habit of keeping their refrigerator’s software up to date. Fortunately, cloud connectivity can help minimize security risks. For devices with the same back-end infrastructure and APIs, security updates can be downloaded from the cloud almost instantly. Furthermore, these devices can even warn each other of potential security risks.
- Inter-Device Communication
IoT devices have a wealth of useful information to share with consumers, but they become even more effective when they share information with each other. Imagine your smart thermostat telling your smart blinds when to shut out light, saving on the cost of cooling your home in the heat of summer. The cloud facilitates the communication between these devices as interfaces become streamlined and easier to use.
IoT technologies are changing the game, but they’re also putting those reliant on legacy infrastructures at a disadvantage. We have been working on several modernization projects for enterprises looking to adopt the cloud in order to experience improved connectivity with IoT devices.
I encourage IT and business leaders to learn as much as they can about hybrid cloud and plan for a future with ubiquitous IoT. You can’t flick a switch and immediately transform a whole organization’s architecture — it will take time to plan, but a hybrid approach will allow you to establish the right mix of application hosting options.
A word of warning though, without the reliability and processing power of the cloud developers within your organizations will have a hard time keeping up with the ongoing IoT revolution.