While most of the 8.4 billion connected “things” in the "internet of things" (IoT) are consumer devices, businesses do most of the spending.
Companies invest in a multitude of devices as well as networking and storage capabilities, but what do those investments mean when updating entire systems?
A technology refresh used to mean updating legacy hardware and finding ways to improve performance and interoperability. However, the connectivity and interconnectivity aspects of IoT have added a new layer of complexity to technology decisions and changes. IoT is transforming what kinds of improvements need to be made and how they are made.
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From employee wearables to smart workspaces—complete with proximity sensors that automate lights, equipment, and energy settings—the result of a connected office is a lot of data, a lot of communicating, and a lot of endpoints.
A well-timed technology refresh has many benefits, and you can increase those benefits by taking advantage of IoT technologies. These same technologies can also present additional challenges.
Here are three ways IoT will affect your next technology refresh:
1. Security and Privacy Considerations
While security is always a priority for corporate technology, IoT increases the amount of data at risk, as well as the number of endpoints.
Video conferencing is a must-have collaboration technology, explaining why video cameras are the top “things” connected to networks in IoT. Every single one of those cameras—and other internet-enabled devices—are entry points to the network, and therefore vulnerabilities. Hackers can get creative with the most unsuspecting devices and even with forgotten devices that are out of use but still connected to the network.
As part of a technology refresh, consider how many devices are currently connected, ways that number may increase, as well as a plan to perform regular security checkups. Taking precautionary measures, like setting up a guest network, will limit the consequences of a breach.
Your customers and employees will also be concerned about privacy. Use your refresh as the opportunity to create a plan that puts their minds at ease. It’s an ideal time to outline IoT strategies and establish official policies that can be discussed and shared throughout your organization.
2. More Bandwidth
Improving performance is now more than plugging in a new box. For IoT to be part of your everyday work reality, you want to ensure the devices have steady connectivity. And IoT devices can be trickier than other devices connected to your network because they may have different network requirements.
When planning a technology refresh, consider that IoT devices will have different network requirements and whether you want to place difficult-to-secure IoT devices on a private network.
When upgrading equipment, you can also consider whether you should increase the number of wireless access points. A technology refresh is an opportunity to look at all the ways you can make your systems run as efficiently as possible.
3. Data Management
IoT generates immense amounts of data. That fact alone raises questions about ownership of the data, the value of that data, and what you should do with it. How do you translate data into actionable insights?
Integrated monitoring, management, and analysis of all equipment and data is the future of technology, allowing organizations to harness information—like room usage rates, device usage trends, troubleshooting details, and more—to make smart decisions for the future.
When you update your hardware and software systems, you will want to ensure that all your storage and cloud solutions have the capacity you’ll need for inevitable IoT growth. You’ll also want to make sure all that data is safe and secure.
Related: Take a free AV assessment to help determine whether you would benefit from a professional evaluation of your audiovisual systems.
What to Do Next
With some predictions saying the number of IoT devices in 2020 will reach 30 billion, it’s not too early to consider IoT in your next technology refresh. The first step is to assess whether your organization is due for minor technology improvements or a full system upgrade.
A self-assessment will help you determine whether you would benefit from a professional evaluation of your audiovisual systems. Your next technology refresh can position your organization to see the full benefits of embracing the world of IoT.