The term IoT, Internet of Things, refers to the revolutionary trend that has been set for the past 3 decades. Almost every electronic device introduced nowadays has some brilliant features to get connected with the internet. In simple language, IoT is the connectivity of electronic devices or other physical objects with the internet.
Through the IoT, we are able to interact with physical objects with a single touch of something, for example, in our hands or on our wrist etc. The biggest and oldest example of IoT devices and IoT process is the use of smartphones to interact with other devices at our home. Other newly introduced but very useful examples are smart cars, smart refrigerators, smart watches, smart grids, and smart homes and so on.
However, side by side with the benefits provided by IoT, there are some very serious challenges that it faces. Technology researchers need a lot of hard work to overcome these challenges and make this technology more convenient.
Following is a list of challenges faced by IoT. We will discuss major four of these in detail:
- Management approach
- Regulatory issues
- Compatibility issues
- Consumer expectations
Security Issues in IoT
The most dangerous problem with IoT is the security problem. Let suppose you own a smart car controlled by a smart phone or other such device. You are going somewhere for an urgent task and you rely very heavily on the smart features of your car. You don’t realize the car is out of fuel until the car’s software notifies you by itself. Now if the car is under a hack attack and it does not tell you that the fuel tank is empty, you run a big risk that you might miss the chance to do what you had to in that urgent task.
Some recent reports show that security takedown of a single cloud datacenter resulted in a loss of approximately $120 trillion. This had also resulted in loss of or privacy compromised of valuable/personal data and information.
What to do?
The risks that security of IoT devices may be compromised are very high and producers need to think about some sort of anti-virus or anti-malware apps to detect and prevent unauthorized access to IoT devices.
Connectivity Issues In Internet of Things
Connectivity is another problem that IoT users will face in the near future. It is the initial stage of IoT and the number of users is not that big but it is expected that over 20 billion individuals will be using IoT by the year 2020. Now imagine the day when most of these 20 billion people will connect to the network and use it simultaneously. If proper steps are not taken, it is expected that on the said day the network will slow down dramatically.
Another aspect of connectivity problem is that most of the IoT devices use internet connectivity in order to operate properly and fulfil the purpose for which they are produced. This connectivity is mostly provided by WiFi. WiFi connectivity is not a big problem when someone uses it in his home. This, however, is a big problem when one wishes to use it in the office for IoT purpose.
Security problems have never left IT departments at ease when it comes to third party device connections. They will always restrict the use of office WiFi network for official purpose only and IoT users will have to use another mode to interact with devices at their homes or somewhere else.
What to do
Cellular data is a good option and many users can opt for this if they are not allowed to use business WiFi or are restricted to certain volume of usage. Cellular data, however, has its own downsides in terms of data usage charges and the quality of network connection.
Compatibility and Longevity in IoT
Since IoT industry is in its initial stages and needs a lot of developments, there are numerous technologies that will be competing soon to become the standard for connecting hubs and devices with each other. Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, Z-Wave and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) are all very competitive technologies for the purpose IoT can serve.
However, it is a fact that in the coming years, many of the current technologies will become obsolete and will be replaced by the new-comers. This will enhance, in order to be compatible, the urge for new hardwares as well as softwares to enable new technologies to cope with requirements of IoT connectivity.
What to do
Since most IoT using appliances have a useful life span of many years while the devices connecting them normally have fewer, this will also create a big barrier to compatibility with the appliances because of the age difference between them. In order to remove connectivity problems, the producers need to develop software that will be equally compatible irrespective of the device used. This will enable a new device to connect with the old IoT paired device and there will be no need to care about such an issue.
Management Approach in Internet of Things
Integrating and implementing IoT solutions in business is a lot more challenging. A management leader might not be willing to introduce IoT devices and connectivity into his business. Implementing this can be very costly for any business because IoT integration mostly needs newer devices and proper monitoring all the time.
Let suppose, as one example, an entity has kept a refrigerator that will notify when the cold drinks quantity stored in it gets lower than a certain level. It is a good idea but effective only when someone continuously monitors whether the refrigerator has notified something. If there is no one to monitor, it will notify but still to no effect.
Same is the case with business entities. Top management will have to make sure that the staff properly monitors IoT and, therefore, might not spend much on this new technology. It is also possible that currently it might not succeed enough to generate expected profits because of its initial stages and numerous complications. It will also need certain training and awareness about what to do if anything serious happens.
What to do
In order to integrate IoT in business effectively, it is essential to choose one that will be absolute fit for the specific needs of the business. Other systems that won’t be needed should be ruled out to minimize complications. Further, it is also recommended to use Intuitive User Interface system which comes in very handy in keeping the difficulties minimal to integrate new IoT system.
IoT is going to be the future of human beings. There is no way a person will try to avoid it until he can’t afford it or is expecting it to get a little better with time. When the challenges IoT faces are reduced to a minimum and it is relatively cheaper, every single person will try to use it and ease his life.
It is just a matter of time when all the above mentioned and other challenges to IoT will be worked on and we will get something processed very well to benefit us. Just a single touch on the device in hand and we will get results somewhere miles away from us, thanks to the IoT.