A Guide to Preparing Your IT Team for Enterprise IoT

The Internet of Things offers businesses myriad benefits, but it can also overwhelm your IT team if not managed properly.
By Raffi M. Kassarjian
Mar 22, 2016

While the term "Internet of Things" was first coined in 1999 and appeared on the Gartner Hype Cycle in 2011, the IoT is now becoming a part of our everyday life at an incredible pace. From Fitbits that monitor heart rates to Internet-connected home thermostats that communicate through homeowners' cell phones, consumers are drawn to technology that can make almost every aspect of their lives easier. However, it's not just consumers looking toward the future with the IoT—enterprises are also looking to capture the benefits.

A Gartner report forecasts that the IoT will connect 6.4 billion things this year—in part, due to the expected increase of connected devices in the workplace. In a similar manner to the evolution of the smartphone, businesses both large and small, and in industries ranging from retail to banking and everywhere in between, are adopting IoT-connected devices. Internet-connected electrical appliances, printers and even office lighting systems are already available.

In order to be poised for this influx of technology in the office, IT teams need to properly prepare, by ensuring that they have the right amount of bandwidth, time and resources to keep up with the technology.

Connecting Humans and Machines
Online IT support tools, such as those offered by TeamViewer, have been available for years. These tools allow IT professionals to access corporate networks through their smartphones or laptops. Now, IT professionals will be leaning on these same tools to monitor screen-less devices, such as Linux servers without monitors, around the clock.

As more and more everyday objects become connected to the Internet via IoT sensors and are deployed throughout businesses, IT teams will need to change their routines to handle the maintenance, repair, firmware and software updates of these new devices. Some of these devices may be in remote spots, with no staff close by to attend to them. For instance, what if an Internet-connected vending machine in a remote parking lot needs a software update? IT support to widely distributed but connected devices must be delivered in a way that is manageable by IT teams.

Preparing for the Phenomenon
As more workplace IoT devices proliferate, network resources will be drained. While bandwith certainly is not a major issue for most IoT applications, price may very well be a major obstacle. IoT devices will hinge on 3G and 4G networks. However, these networks were built to support data-consuming applications. In other words, the carriers will need to find ways to generate a return on investment, or else they will be under tremendous pressure to maintain their networks.

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