The Internet of Things (IoT) promises much: from enabling the digital organization, to making domestic life richer and easier. However, with those promises come risks: the rush to adoption has highlighted serious deficiencies in both the security design of IoT devices and their implementation.
Coupled with increasing governmental concerns around the societal, commercial and critical infrastructure impacts of this technology, the emerging world of the IoT has attracted significant attention.
While the IoT is often perceived as cutting edge, similar technology has been around since the last century. What has changed is the ubiquity of high-speed, low-cost communication networks, and a reduction in the cost of computing and storage. Combined with a societal fascination with technology, this has resulted in an expanding market opportunity for IoT devices, which can be split into two categories: consumer and industrial IoT.
Consumer IoT products often focus on convenience or adding value to services within a domestic or office environment, focusing on the end-user experience and providing a rich data source that can be useful in understanding consumer behaviour.
The consumer IoT comprises a set of connected devices, whose primary customer is the private individual or domestic market. Typically, the device has a discrete function which is enabled or supplemented by a data-gathering capability through on-board sensors and can also be used to add functionality to common domestic items, such as refrigerators. Today’s ‘smart’ home captures many of the characteristics of the consumer IoT, featuring an array of connected devices and providing a previously inaccessible source of data about consumer behaviour that has considerable value for organizations.
Whilst the primary target market for IoT devices is individuals and domestic environments, these devices may also be found in commercial office premises – either an employee has brought in the device or it has been installed as an auxiliary function.