The Internet of Things - A Connected World

Published: 16 May 2016

Driven by constant innovation and emerging technologies, expansion in the tech industry continues to rise. One major trend hitting new heights this year is the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables. It is predicted that this year will be a milestone for IoT and wearables as they pair together to transform the consumer markets and become more mainstream.

The Internet of Things is “a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction” (TechTarget). The IoT is not a new concept, however todays culture is pushing businesses to become smarter. The IoT has the potential to change the way companies, governments and consumers interact with the physical world.  

Almost every sector has the potential to be affected by the IoT. From connected cars with a built-in ability to book themselves in for a service in the automotive world to community bins that alert services when they require emptying in the public sector. Businesses and consumers cannot ignore the benefits brought by the IoT, including significant cost savings and boosting efficiency and productivity.

Wearables are a big trend emerging from IoT; wearable technology continues to advance and will produce countless opportunities for consumers, changing the way we live. For example in the health market users can now monitor everything from heart rate to calories burned with devices such as the Fitbit. In the financial sector the collaboration between Topshop and bPay has also produced a collection of accessories that allow you to use contactless technology to pay for your purchases with your phone case or keyring. Designer fashion lines are also expanding their brands into the wearable tech space, making them even more desirable.

In many industries, the IoT is becoming a key source for big data platforms and a lot of this originates from our wearables and other connected devices. The exploitation of this data is an area that is growing rapidly. Companies are investing in big data analytics as exploiting this data can bring many benefits including operational savings and revenue opportunities. 

As the IoT trend grows, the need for increased security takes the spotlight. Increased interconnectivity means that more and more personal data is being stored across multiple devices. According to Hewlett-Packard, 70% of IoT devices are currently vulnerable to attack. IoT security has now become an issue of high concern and steps are being taken to prevent security breaches. 

The growth of the IoT is already furthering the creation of skilled and specialised roles. The impact on recruitment will be significant, with cloud, mobile hardware and platform talent becoming increasingly in demand. It is proving a significant challenge for a number of companies to find and attract this highly sought-after talent who can make their IoT ambitions reality. Businesses will need to consider crossing boundaries and bringing talent in from other sectors. These individuals can then collaborate with sector specialists to design specialist and specific solutions. Talent pipeline also needs to be considered and businesses need to actively build this with future demand in mind. If companies want to maximise the possibilities brought by the IoT, recruiting and retaining the right talent is critical to their success. 

Rebekah Honour is a Specialist Researcher in the IT & Technology Leadership Practice

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