Solid Maintenance Contract: You need to feel protected from the increased risks that new technologies present, and that means having a maintenance program in place that provides you with valuable peace of mind.

Leverage the IP: This may sound a big “big brotherish”, but if your home systems professional is able to collect data (with your permission) from your home’s IoT devices, he can get a better handle on your future needs. For example, if he notices an IP-connected video doorbell is unable to “see” images after 9 p.m., he can follow up by offering you a motion triggered light—often fixing the problem before you even realise one exists.

Discover an Upgrade Path: You recognize that obsolescence as a natural part of a technology lifecycle. You’ll feel better about investing in products and services if your home systems professional provides you with a logical upgrade path from the get-go. Being upfront eliminates surprises, breeds trust, and helps you plan more effectively for their future.

Focus on services

In years past, technology advancements were focused on hardware: Everyone needed to purchase a certain device or program (and each subsequent version) in order to stay current. But as the IoT advances, Raj Badarinath, senior director of product marketing at commerce solutions provider Avangate, believes that this model is going to change.

“Revenue will not come from the hardware, but instead from services on top,” Badarinath said. “In the IoT era, new models such as subscriptions, freemiums and bundles are rapidly becoming the preferred choice over traditional hardware options. Services are easily upgradeable, much more amenable to ecosystems that are constructed around hardware, and provide multiple revenue opportunities rather than a one-time sale.”

The problem with this service-centric environment is that small businesses are struggling to find the best strategy to charge customers for value in a transparent, secure and easy manner, Badarinath said. A customer-centric commerce platform can keep track of critical data like purchase history, payment methods and loyalty program information to help companies improve the customer experience and create a solid foundation for monetisation.

Harnessing and analysing data

The premise of the IoT is that, at any given time, devices can transmit data to and from one another and process it to improve decision-making. Businesses have already been tackling the challenge of harnessing Big Data through their own internal analytics platforms. The IoT presents this same challenge on an even larger scale.

“The IoT is not just about connecting cameras, fridges, vehicles, etc.,” said Todd Krautkremer, vice president of sales and marketing at cloud-based virtual private network service Pertino. “People want to analyse vast amounts of data and be able to do things with that information that are relevant and impactful. But how do we take this data and make it intelligible, accessible and actionable from a business standpoint?”

Krautkremer emphasised the importance of cloud-based computing to ensure that all connected devices can always be monitored, updated and controlled in real time. He also noted that third-party service providers will be critical to helping smaller businesses keep track of data and capitalise on the IoT.

The cloud and the customer experience

It’s clear that the IoT will continue to increase the amount of data businesses need to process. But with such a strong focus on finding the right data solutions, it can be easy to lose sight of your most important business driver: your customers.

“Companies have to keep an eye on their customer experience,” said Lynda Smith, CMO of cloud communication solutions provider Twilio. “There’s a lot of work going into making sure [the IoT] experience is natural [to human users].”

Smith reminded small companies to take advantage of the cloud to help them develop a great customer experience and compete with larger enterprises. This can range from using cloud solutions to deal with incoming customer data to facilitating customer service interactions in the cloud.

New security challenges

The downside of the IoT is that more data and more connected devices mean more opportunities for hackers and cybercriminals to launch an attack. The security risks associated with the IoT must be taken into consideration by businesses of all sizes.

“If you have devices recording and reporting [data], there’s a lot of risk,” said Walker White, CTO of clean data solutions provider BDNA. “If a device is connected, it can be hacked. With fully automated security systems, someone could break in, lock all the systems, and even remotely turn the lights on before they get there. These are very real risks.”

If you think the answer is to “avoid the IoT,” think again. White believes it will be nearly impossible to steer clear of the age of connectedness.

“People say they won’t embrace it, but that’s like saying you don’t embrace the Internet now,” White said. “It’s coming and you can’t fight it. Everyone will benefit [from the IoT], but unlike other technologies, this has a great deal more risk. The broadest storyline here is to proceed with caution.”

‘IoT-ising’ your business

Many businesses, especially smaller ones, are usually late adopters of technology, Makhdum said. But the IoT presents an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to add real value to their bottom lines, customer satisfaction and other significant KPIs.

“It is very important that businesses remain proactive in building a plan framed around what part of their company can practically be ‘IoT-ised,’” Makhdum told Business News Daily. “Framing and planning this will be crucial for successful IoT initiatives.”

Makhdum recommended investing in the IoT-related technologies such as sensors, data intelligence and infrastructure to support the volume of connectivity and resulting data. Focusing on employee training in both customer-facing and internal processes will also help companies take full advantage of the IoT.

Finally, be sure to connect with others in and out of your industry to stay up to date on the latest changes that may affect your business.

“There will be unpredictable and unexpected challenges that occur in real-time that will be hard to be prepared for,” Makhdum said. “Collaborating with industry and cross-industry consortiums help ensure sharing best practices across the board.”

Originally published on Business News Daily

1. Set-up an IoT gateway

An IoT gateway can be used to manage the many IoT devices and sensors that come on to the network. This will make it possible to translate each “thing’s” protocols, and forward each unique piece of IoT data to its most appropriate destination.

Why organisations must secure the network

IoT gateways manage and support the ever broadening array of new devices and applications, and you can also use them for real-time network protection against security issues that arise because of IoT vulnerabilities.

2. Ensure network capacity and adequate bandwidth

Network traffic will inevitably increase over time due to growing numbers of IoT-enabled devices, adding to bandwidth requirements. You can set up an SDN to automatically allot network resources including bandwidth among IoT applications, according to priorities reflected in policies. For instance, this could be calendaring bandwidth for IoT devices that send data only at specified intervals.

3. Get the network ready to analyse big data

It’s often faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective to analyse IoT data at the network edge where IoT devices produce and gather the data. It’s also often critical to many applications, such as those that respond to imminent equipment malfunctions, that you complete that analysis in seconds. To analyse big data from IoT, get edge servers ready with the processing power and capacity necessary for data analysis, and make sure serers are fit for the environments where IoT lives.

How the Internet of Things is impacting enterprise networks

4. Get the network ready to store big data

IoT data comes in different sizes and with varying worth; some of it has a lot of value to a business, and some of it not so much. The importance of the data to the business can also change over time, and these factors create concerns over what storage types, tiers, and durations are appropriate for IoT. Scalable cloud storage is one possible solution, and for storing data at or inside IoT devices, consider MRAM or 3D XPoint Technology.

5. Upgrade to IPv6 to support the many new devices

IoT will need so many IP addresses for all the new “things” that it will be difficult for IPv4 to supply them all. Transition your network to support for IPv6 in time to stay ahead of that increasing device count. Also ensure to check with IoT vendors to determine whether their devices are ready for IPv6.

6. Secure the network appropriately for IoT

There has been a lot written about IoT security vulnerabilities such as challenges to patching and default credentials that you cannot easily update. You can begin to protect your network through risk analyses, device and protocol audits, as well as IoT policies and policy enforcement. Scrutinise and select IoT vendors carefully, and ask all of them how they will be able mitigate each and every one of your security concerns.

It’s time to take IoT security seriously

7. Set-up network monitoring in support of IoT

The sheer number and types of IoT devices and evolving IoT-related network events require that you use robust IT monitoring. Plan ahead for adaptable, scalable network monitoring that encompasses the variables you must account for with IoT.

Clearly, the potential of IoT to change the face of entire industries is significant, but its success will ultimately come down to how effectively IT infrastructures are managed as ever more devices – or ‘things’ – are added to the network.

By adhering to these seven pieces of advice, you give yourself and your business the best opportunity to reap the rewards that IoT can ultimately bring.

Tip one:

This is probably the best way to prepare yourself for future technology, which is to keep informed about the latest technology. By knowing what will or might happen you can better prepare yourself for when that dream becomes reality. There are many resources available to help you keep informed on the newest developments in technology. By knowing what is coming you won’t be caught off guard if they suddenly change the way things are done.

Tip two:

If you are running a business a great way to help get ready for future technology is to think ahead and write a plan for your business that includes how the newest technology will be incorporated into your company.

Tip three:

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that when buying computer systems and other electronics you are going to be investing money into a system that is going to be outdated soon. When making your purchases you are going to have to take into consideration any future technology to be sure that the electronics you are purchasing will allow you to handle all of your future needs, without requiring expensive upgrades. A lot of time your older computers can be configured to work with the newest types of software or operating systems.

Tip four:

Another way to prepare for future technology is to update all of your stuff, especially if you have a really old computer system or wiring for your home. By upgrading to the newer systems you are making it that much easier to make the change to the newest technology.

While there are plenty of things you can do to get ready for the future technology what you are going to do will depend greatly upon what kind of future technology you are preparing for.

For example if you are preparing for the future technology in health care you might prepare yourself by finding a new doctor is informed about the future developments and how it can benefit you if you are concerned with preparing for future technology when it comes to electronics you are going to focus on getting your computers updated. But regardless of what type of future technology you are getting ready for the best way to be sure that you are ready is to keep informed about the technology.