What is the Internet of Things?
Simply put, Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device that can be turned on or off, to the Internet and/or each other.
“The fourth industrial revolution”
Security systems, cars, electronic appliances and lights in households are just some of the everyday items that are set to become connected. This new technology will be driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is set to make life easier for people by doing the ‘thinking’ for us. These devices will essentially be able to ‘talk’ to eachother and gather information. This information will then be used to analyse and create an action to help someone with problems or tasks. A real-life example of IoT in use is in wearables. Wearable devices such as watches are installed with software that collects data about the user, this data is then extracted to collect insights to help the user reach health or fitness goals. IoT will change the way that humans interact with machines forever and has been described by experts as the “fourth industrial revolution”.
How IoT will reshape telecommunications:
Gartner forecasts that 25 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use by 2021, meaning the volume of data being produced globally will rocket. This giant leap towards delivering high value data will become a race for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to change up their strategy to benefit commercially off the trend. The main improvements that providers will need to make to implement IoT successfully is to heighten security, modernise telecom infrastructure and improve services.
A risk factor with IoT that concerns experts is security and privacy. If Gartner’s prediction is correct about billions of devices becoming connected, this number is only going to get bigger. And with more and more devices in a network, there is more risk to our privacy. Another factor to remember is that if all devices begin to ‘talk’ to each other, they can share sensitive information with one another too. It would only take a hacker to break into your toaster and before you know it your bank details are common knowledge. Despite this, with the evolution of artificial intelligence, it’s likely that devices will become smarter in identifying security threats before they happen. Nonetheless, it will be important for regulatory standards to be developed to control the risk of these technologies.
With the implementation of 5G to power IoT, telecom networks will become more and more decentralised and built on small-cell infrastructure. The need for quick change to keep up with trends like IoT is going to make passive infrastructure sharing more appealing to providers. It is important for these advancements to be monitored, this is where IoT will be key. Providers are already carrying out IoT-enabled sites in order to obtain cell-tower data to be analysed. Having intelligent, real-time monitoring of active sites will reduce network down-time and OPEX (operational expenditure).
A crucial point is that service providers will need to improve their network capabilities to cater for the mass amounts of data being produced. This will be done by investing in next gen technologies such as 5G. Consumers will want to get involved in these trends and so being able to provide a reliable service in the competitive industry is crucial. IoT will be a huge factor in urging carriers to explore modern ways of changing up their service models. Again, the intelligence behind IOT will offer more analytical capabilities, enabling providers to track whether their services are actually improving.
It is evident that the emergence of IoT will bring huge opportunities for telcos and ISPs to earn from. Going forward we will see them modernising their services to support this digital transformation and supposed ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
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