How to Conquer Fear of "Things" in "Internet of Things"

Start by addressing misconceptions about what it is and what it can—and cannot—do.
By Bimalendu Sinha
Nov 18, 2016

The Internet of Things has immense possibilities. It's a world in which devices of every shape and size are manufactured with intelligent capabilities that allow them to communicate and interact with other devices, exchange data, make decisions and perform useful tasks.

Certainly, there has been much hype around the IoT, with politicians and C-level leaders effusive about the potential to transform society and how it uses energy. There is also an understandable fear of the unknown surrounding what these "things" will do. Think back to when the "cloud" concept first appeared on the technology scene. Initially, people had misconceptions about it and questioned what it could do and what it meant for businesses. We're currently in a similar phase for the IoT.

In acknowledging this fear, it's best to clear the fog surrounding the IoT by addressing common misconceptions.

Misconception#1: Life will become simpler and better for everybody.
The IoT is all about machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation, and though it certainly will make your life smarter and more connected, "simple and better" is perhaps too simplistic a description. IoT-based initiatives can be quite intricate, though companies that deploy the technology well will find ways in which to make customer-facing experiences seamless and intuitive, though the enabling technology architecture might be quite complex. The Internet of Things is also predicted to impact the job landscape, leading to a decrease in certain familiar jobs and the emergence of newer roles using IoT technologies.

Misconception#2: In the IoT world, our data will not be safe.
A common misconception about the IoT is that your data will be floating around for anyone to use. Except in cases when this information is sold to other companies, only the collecting party will have direct access to it. That being said, there is a growing need for robust security standards around the IoT and coordination around best practices, which companies are looking at closely.

Misconception#3: The IoT refers to something happening in the future.
The IoT has been happening for years now. The underlying technology is built, and the infrastructure to allow pervasive connectivity is becoming cheaper and cheaper.

Misconception#4: The IoT is all about consumer devices.
The Internet of Things is much more than smartphones, watches, TVs and other smart consumer electronics. It can also be used in agricultural equipment, fertilizer manufacturing plants and so forth, to ensure that costly machinery is used effectively and appropriately by integrating with other smart IoT devices.

So, how can businesses overcome these misconceptions and fear of "things" to better capitalize on the value the IoT offers? Consider these guideposts:

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