IoT Will Change the Workplace in 2020

Photo credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks

The internet of things (IoT) is becoming part of our lives. Businesses are looking to take advantage of this technology to streamline their operations and plug productivity leaks.

In fact, as many as 83% of organizations using IoT have seen significant improvements in their efficacy, according to Dataprot’s IoT statistics.

The part of the business model that has seen and will still see the most significant transformation by IoT is the digital workplace. The changes were both rapid and radical in 2019.

So, judging by the trends we saw in 2019, what can we expect from IoT in 2020?

Redefining the workplace for mobile and remote work

The very idea of the workplace has been undergoing a steady transformation for years. However, IoT has been exceptional at blurring the lines of what the word “workplace” means.

Interconnected devices and the data they provide allow employees to be more efficient in the way they carry out their tasks. In fact, the technology makes it unnecessary for many to show up to the workplace. Cisco projected that half of the workforce will consist of remote freelancers. A company that has a comprehensive IoT system can accommodate these “absent” workers.

Undoubtedly, many businesses will undoubtedly try to implement IoT solutions to facilitate a better working experience for remote employees. This surge in IoT adoption is bound to make the traditional place obsolete.

The data science gap

Data analytics and IoT have proved to be an ideal match. Pulling and perusing massive amounts of data from a set of interconnected devices yields impressive results. Retail, for example, is creating better experiences for its customers in diverse ways.

For example, IoT data can pinpoint the most active places in stores, allowing owners to arrange their products in the best way possible. Alternatively, fashion retailers can implement something akin to Rebecca Minkoff’s smart mirrors in the fitting rooms, which tell customers the available colors and sizes of the articles they brought in.

These applications of IoT are a massive boon for increasing productivity in areas we could not have before. As such, many organizations will probably strive to marry data analytics and IoT solutions to drive efficiency.

That said, this rush toward IoT data analysis could be a little bumpy. Some estimates reveal that as many as 75% of companies don’t have the data science required to reap benefits from an IoT network. That implies that the year 2020 will come with a fair share of tribulations for businesses with IoT and data analytics in their sights.

Beware of vulnerability

Security remains one of the most glaring problems for IoT, and it suffers from a lot of weak spots. These include:

  • Poor password protection
  • Disparate quality standards for manufacturers of different parts of the IoT system
  • Difficulty updating
  • Lack of knowledge about the devices from the users
  • Botnet attacks
  • Rogue or counterfeit devices

With around 18 billion IoT devices to be in function by 2022, IoT security is a cause for concern.

We’ve definitely had a taste of IoT security breaches in 2019 with the Marvell Avastar 88W8897 incident. Experts will undoubtedly devote much of 2020 to making sure these kinds of breaches won't happen again. The intricacies of the dilemma, however, make it difficult to see how they would succeed in the near term.

Beyond that, something we will most likely see a lot of this year is IoT based on 5G. While it is supposed to operate faster and more efficiently, it does come with its own set of security risks, such as susceptibility to denial-of-service attacks and jamming. This could, unfortunately, open the doors to even more problems.

Overall, security will likely be the most pressing issue for IoT not only in 2020 but in the coming years as well.

Marko Miljkovic, cybersecurity contributor at DataProt, wrote this article. Photo credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks