What You Want (and Don’t Want) From the Internet of Things

The IoT is now giving companies more access to data than ever before, but without proper protection of this data, the IoT can do more harm than good.

You can’t see it. You can’t hear it. You can’t feel it. Most would say it’s difficult to even explain.

It’s the Internet of Things, and as intangible as it is, it’s become an integral part of our daily lives. Communication, business operations, data analysis, you name it, has been transformed thanks to the IoT.

Officially “defined” in 1999, the IoT has now been around for nearly two decades, and the business world has started to use it to realize goals that couldn’t have been achieved before the IoT.

Take JLL Realty, for example. CI sister site TechDecisions recently reported that the company commissioned HARMAN to develop a connected commercial real-estate solution. Using sensors and systems available on the market, HARMAN built a complex IoT solution into JLL Realty’s building that provided the company with intricate details about the space, including:

  • JLL can look at the building floor by floor and room by room.
  • JLL can measure the amount of people in each room at any hour of the day—-people can be tracked around the building using the Mac addresses on their phones as beacons.
  • JLL can visualize the flow of people in the building to determine hotspots of traffic.
  • The amount of mobile devices in the building and where they are can be looked at in real time.
  • The temperature in different rooms, especially rooms with technical equipment that need to maintain a certain temperature, can be monitored and remotely changed.

With this type of information, JLL is now able to identify traffic points for advertisements, artwork, digital signage, etc., allowing the company to make better business decisions based on the data it receives from the new IoT solution.

Of course, with most great solutions come a few challenges, and with IoT solutions those challenges have everything to do with security.

For companies like JLL, the benefit of using an IoT solution is obvious—the company is collecting more data about its building than ever before. But the exact IoT solution that’s creating such benefits for the company could do more harm than good if the company’s network were to be hacked.

While we haven’t found a universal solution for protecting data, there are a few options. As reported by TechDecisions:

We have to think about what information we’re transmitting, where it is being stored, who has access to it, and who has permissions surrounding it. Painting a complete picture of possible areas of weakness is the only way to secure data. Strict requirements for passwords, enhanced security like dual authentication, and ensuring that each user only has access to information they need for their role can help keep data safe.

Just as the IoT has become more sophisticated over the years, securing data will also become more sophisticated, but we’re not quite there yet.

Companies can undoubtedly benefit from the IoT, but until a solution is developed to completely protect the data being collected in the IoT, companies need to be aware of the risks and ensure their data is safe.

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