July 6, 2016

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Exploiting Internet of Things Applications and Confronting the Security Risks

Companies with an Internet of Things mindset will be best positioned for growth in a world where connectivity redefines ecosystems and shatters old business models, an expert has claimed.

Neil Dove, head of product management for BT’s M2M Team, advised an audience at IFSEC 2016 to take a strategic view of Internet of Things (IoT) Applications. He said: “Be ambitious, creative and daring. Collaborate and share, plan for the future and scale for the future.”

He added: “It is not a short-term project. There are short-term gains to be had but if you are really going to embrace an IoT project and benefit from it, you need to take a strategic view and involve other departments and not just the IT department, in order to move from end-to-end to IoT.”

IoT is where a network of physical devices are connected electronically in order for data to be collected and exchanged. Successful deployment of IoT technologies can have huge benefits in terms of efficiency and lower costs for businesses.

Being ambitious also applies to data storage and that is where the cloud comes in to store lots of data and exploit it.

Healthcare and pharmacy deployments

A range of organisations are already starting to benefit. In just two years, the health and pharmacy industry has grown its IoT usage by 28%.

Said Dove: “With the ever-increasing cost of the NHS, the health and pharmacy sector have to find more intelligent ways of saving costs. How can we avoid people having to go to hospital by providing better care, how can patients be monitored at home?”

Energy and utility companies are also strong in this sector – water companies for example are benefitting from an operations perspective by being able to monitor leakage. “So much water is leaked through the system but by monitoring this they can be more efficient and improve cost savings, which can help to justify price rises,” Dove explained.

The automotive industry is using IOT effectively. “You can barely buy a car without having some sort of connectivity in it. Car companies are moving away from just providing you with a tin box of wheels; they are moving into a more service-based industry.

“You can see a world where the fan belt is being monitored on a sold car which can transmit information back to the dealership when it is wearing out, so the car is booked in for the fan belt to be replaced. Retailers will be able to offer more personalised shopping and advertise to customers in an intelligent way.”

IoT is going beyond just offering customer products to providing smarter customer service and after-sales service. However, security and privacy remain its biggest challenges.

“Things like electronic health records are clearly very sensitive and personal so security concerns for this are very acute. Anything with an IP address can be attacked so let’s be aware of it but take a cautious approach.

“We know there are security implications in what you do but don’t let that stop you from doing it. It is important to address these issues from the start rather than finding out about them later. If you take that open approach you will reap the benefits.”

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