Critical Factors to Solve Before IoT Becomes Mainstream

By some estimates of market research experts, the Internet of Things (IoT) market will exceed anywhere from 50 to 200 billion new devices will be connected to networks over the next several years.  That’s the hype anyways.  Imagine hundreds, if not thousands of new companies, entrepreneurs and developers creating and launching  new consumer and industrial IoT devices.

Expect adoption to be slow until a number of issues aren’t properly addressed.  Here are the top 5 issues:

  1. Security:  Network access and security issues rates on top of the list.  This past year (2014) saw hackers gain access to even the most sophisticated companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Staples, Sony and more.  This is just child’s play stealing personal and credit card data. What could happen if hackers gained access to our power grid, the nuclear arsenal, our water storage systems, or into the global financial systems?
    With thousands of “naive” developers creating billions of new end-point IoT devices, the problems we have today will only be exacerbated.  It may be less of a problem for consumers but this is a huge problem that needs to be solved before industrial enterprises start adopting IoT devices in a big way.
  2. Privacy:  Who owns all the data generated from IoT devices?  How is that data going to be protected?   Some might say that consumers and businesses don’t care.  I don’t believe that to be true, at least not in the long run.
  3. Standards:  WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Insteon, X-10, and other local communication protocols exist.  There are actually over 400 known “standards” that exist today, which really means there is no standard.  This creates added cost, confusion and will make both consumer and enterprise adoption much slower.  Standardization will allow costs to drop dramatically.
  4. Software-undefined:  Development platforms and middleware applications are just as numerous as communication protocols.  This includes API and messaging protocols.  Where does one start?
  5. Power:  As devices become smaller and more numerous, power will become one of the most  critical roadblocks to unlocking IoT potential.  With billions upon billions of devices, each one can’t have its own charger, AC adapter or replaceable batteries.  Ambient sources of power will need to be created – solar, kinetic, RF harvesting, etc.
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