3 things every business should do to utilise the Internet of Things
Paul O’Sullivan, Director of Wholesale & Commercial at O2
As Director of Wholesale & Commercial at O2, I understand the importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) for business, and how it can improve processes, reduce costs, deliver operational efficiencies and transform productivity. Here are three things that I think every business should be doing now to make the most of the opportunities that IoT presents:
1. Choose the right connectivity
Naturally, anyone discussing IoT infrastructure in 2020 wants to focus on 5G. Its high speed and low latency will enable new massive IoT deployments that will improve productivity and make efficiencies in every area of business.
It’s worth remembering, however, that data heavy IoT ecosystems will only work in real time, and at scale, if a number of factors can be satisfied:
- High device density
- High bandwidth
- Low latency
- Low power
That’s why O2 is proud to be the first UK operator to announce the rollout of an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network. It will enable businesses to support millions of long-life IoT devices simultaneously, with devices operating for up to ten years on a single charge.
IoT technology is transforming the way the UK does business, so to become the first UK network operator to roll out an LTE-M network is a major milestone for us here at O2. Choosing the right connectivity for your own IoT deployment is crucial, and O2 is here to help.
2. Be security ready
If we engage in large scale deployment of billions of devices worldwide, they simply must be secure. In fact, security is the number one area of concern when I talk with our customers about the business potential of the IoT.
A great deal of early IoT technology was manufactured with factory set, default passwords and security protocols that were easy for hackers to exploit. This will change. In January 2020, for example, new UK legislation* was announced that introduces three new requirements for IoT devices, with the aim of making them more secure and less vulnerable to cyberattack.
If you are to realise your organisation’s full IoT potential, securing your devices will be key, along with the data they generate. I have seen several use cases recently where Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are helping to achieve better security by detecting and removing threats in real time.
3. Keep on top of regulation
Securing IoT devices is essential, of course, but as the data they collect is increasingly driving business decisions, it’s important to stay on top of a broad spectrum of regulation. It isn’t always easy, because the IoT marketplace is growing fast and changing rapidly, and regulators are struggling to keep up.
However, as a bare minimum, you should:
- Introduce and commit to the highest standards of data security.
- Ensure that the data you collect, and the way you use it, is fully GDPR compliant.
- Recognise that further legislation, codes of practice and compliance standards are on their way. It’s up to you to ensure that you build them into your products and services.