Overcoming the Challenges of the Internet of Things

As a broadband provider, you are sitting on a tremendous opportunity with the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. By 2019, it is expected that over two thirds of consumers will purchase connected home devices and almost half will be wearing wearable technology.

In order to operate these devices, consumers will require two things: seamless connectivity, and large amounts of data, which is where your business comes into play. Before you can become a one-stop-shop for IoT connectivity, however, there are several challenges that need to be addressed, including:

Billing: IoT technology has the potential to generate large profits for your business. In order to realize these advantages, however, it’s critical to invest in a flexible billing platform that can manage large amounts of transactions as they accumulate from thousands of disparate consumer endpoints. IoT technology makes it possible to migrate away from expensive, long-term contracts as consumers can be billed in real-time based on their usage.

One industry that is doing a great job with pay-as-you go IoT billing is insurance. Now, many companies offer drivers the ability to pay based on accumulated miles instead of with monthly rates, which makes for a better overall user experience.

Data management: Many broadband providers are already struggling with the challenge of providing end users with enough data to accommodate amenities like high speed video and audio. After all, you can only fit so much data into a single pipeline—a process that will become increasingly strained as the number of consumer endpoints grows.

You can solve this problem by moving your data closer to the “edge” of the network. In other words, instead of aggregating all of your data in a single massive data center, invest in smaller data warehouses located near key markets across the U.S. This will reduce your reliance on longhaul data transfers, thus making it easier to send large amounts of data without backing up network traffic.

Security: If you’re not concerned about IoT security, it’s time you reassess the digital threat landscape. IoT security is one of the biggest challenges that your business will need to overcome; in fact, according to a BI Intelligence survey, the majority of technology executives see privacy and security as the biggest barriers to investing in IoT. Adding to this challenge is the fact that there are currently no security standards for connected devices.

So what can you do to overcome security concerns? First, make sure that you invest in strong authentication methods for mobile devices. Archaic end user passwords have given way to next-generation biometric technologies such as iris and face scanners, as well as voice recognition software. PINs and security questions are also recommended methods of bolstering devices using multifactor authentication. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that you encrypt all data on your network to make it inaccessible to hackers.

Interoperability: Consumers want access to technologies that are highly user-centric and interactive. Imagine, for instance, your lights, heat and music turning on as soon as you pull on to your street. This scenario is entirely possible, but right now it’s being hindered by a lack of interoperability between devices. The fact is that many devices communicate via different protocols and as a result, they cannot understand each other and carry out complex tasks.

In order to overcome this challenge and usher in the next era of IoT technology, service providers, manufactures and software developers will all need to work together in order to develop strong, interoperable standards. Once this is solved, it can be expected that consumer interest in IoT technology will multiply and greater monetization will be possible.