The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to transform how you do business, but reaping the benefits may require a rethink of your network services.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has landed, and it’s set to fundamentally change the way we work. Essentially defined as a vast ecosystem of internet-connected devices, the IoT is being powered by a rapid increase in the uptake of mobile and smart devices in the workplace. And the next five years are set to see exponential growth.

Research firm Gartner predicts a 30-fold increase in internet-connected devices by 2020 to total 26 billion devices plugged into the IoT within the next four years. “If this prediction comes to light, we will clearly see a change in the way we think about devices and connectivity,” says Tony Tilbrook, CTO of design and construction at Superloop. “The IoT is about the way we connect and having access to data in a way never seen before. It has the potential to alter the way we do business.”

The Mobility Revolution

The key benefit of the IoT to business, explains Tilbrook, is its ability to capture immense amounts of data on just about any business operation, and then use that data to power deep analytics that draw real-time insights into the performance of your business. Of course, this requires an organisation-wide commitment to mobility and the powerful wireless networks that make it possible.

Combine that with a rapid increase in the uptake of wearable technology in the workplace, and businesses risk becoming exposed to rising network demands. “We are seeing the exponential growth of wearable devices now with the likes of smart glasses, smart watches and activity trackers, which are just the start,” Tilbrook says. “All of these devices are ‘connected’ now with the ability to be online in real-time with relatively large amounts of data. “In the workplace, this allows constant connectivity and an understanding of real-time and location-based analytics of people and things.”

Powering The IoT Era

But companies are facing a major tipping point when it comes to investing in the necessary technology infrastructure required to power the IoT era.Either choose to prepare for increased capacity, speed of data loads and reliability demands, or risk falling by the wayside as your network bends under the new weight of mobility.“Business must be mobile to remain agile, and agility is the key to success,” Tilbrook says. “Access to a network which can sustain amounts of data never before anticipated will be crucial for this.

“This imperative means businesses must continue to evolve their networks to ensure they remain agile in light of an incredibly dynamic increase in requirement and demand on our networks.”

Tilbrook cites the need for businesses to build genuine partnerships with technology providers who take the time to understand your specific business requirements in order to design a custom network solution.“

For example, Superloop operates a very extensive wireless network across Australia, along with an extensive offering in Wireless-as-a-Service (WaaS), which can complement or replace fixed fibre depending on location or redundancy needs.

"Future of the IoTAs the IoT uptake accelerates to 2020 and beyond, the influence of big data on all aspects of business performance and management will continue to expand.Additionally, according to Tilbrook, advancing analytics technology will bring greater business context to big data and significantly improve our understanding of the key drivers of business performance and competitive advantage.

“The way I see it, the ‘Internet of Things’ will progressively turn into the ‘Understanding of Things’, both spatially and temporally via the use of big data and the movement in real-time across the globe.“

Currently we have not yet seen the full impact, however the outcome will be to business and people in the 2020s what the telephone was back in the 1920s.”