Consider the Internet of Things (IoT). You may have read about or even have a home security system that you operate via your smartphone. Maybe it’s the tabletop device that plays your favorite music and also responds to a voice command to turn on the sprinklers.

But IoT is far more than that and it’s poised to transform the way you do business. Anticipatory individuals and organizations are just as poised to leverage this significant trend.

IoT Solutions Growing

The emergence of IoT projects is rapidly gaining traction within companies. In its third Global IoT Decision Maker Survey this summer, IDC polled 4,500 professionals and found that nearly a third (31.4 percent) had already launched an IoT solution. An additional 43 percent said they’re planning similar debuts in the next 12 months. That means that most enterprises will have at least one IoT solution up and running within a year’s time.

But it’s not just a question of organizations jumping on the IoT bandwagon with an exclusive focus on consumers. It also marks a recognition of the internal potential of IoT. To that end, the IDC study found that more than half (55 percent) of organizations view the IoT as part of their competitive strategy through potential cost reductions, improvements in productivity and process automation.

Caveats and Opportunities

Although organizational use of IoT is growing, concerns persist. One has to do with cybersecurity, given the enormous amount of data and information moving back and forth. “This carries immense cybersecurity risks to data and systems that enable this hyperconnectivity,” said Guy Caspi, CEO of Deep Instinct.

Caspi has a point. Using compromised cameras, hackers not only brought down a number of major websites in late October, Forbes reported they’re selling access to IoT devices designed to cripple extensive web connections. 

October’s shutdown highlighted the opportunity afforded companies researching anticipatory counter measures to such security risks: “This opens the door to innovative cybersecurity solutions that can effectively handle these risks,” said Caspi.

Jerry Dolinsky, CEO and president of Verisae, went further, underscoring the need for more anticipatory thinking and execution: “Service companies must change their business models if they are to embrace and leverage the Internet of Things. They must run a more proactive model that does more than react to broken systems. They must proactively monitor for issues and then take action before those issues lead to breakdowns.” In other words, we must be more than reactive and agile; we must also be anticipatory when it comes to cybersecurity.

 Business Models Transformed

Security concerns aside, the overall exponential growth of IoT is undeniable. Estimates hold that there will be more than 100 billion Internet-connected things across the world by 2020—a mere few years away.

That sort of growth means more than just proactive solutions to growing security worries. As a Harvard Business Review article points out, IoT connectivity affords enormous opportunities for those organizations that recognize IoT’s game-changing impact on both value creation and value capture and adjust their business models accordingly.

“…in a connected world, products are no longer one-and-done. Thanks to over-the-air updates, new features and functionality can be pushed to the customer on a regular basis,” writes Gordon Hui of Smart Design. “The ability to track products in use makes it possible to respond to customer behavior. And of course, products can now be connected with other products, leading to new analytics and new services for more effective forecasting, process optimization and customer service experiences.”

To that end, an increasing number of companies are eager to show just how IoT is literally transforming the very heart of their operations. For instance, the Internet of Things World Europe event slated for Dublin, Ireland, in November will showcase such luminaries as Uber, Virgin Active, John Deere and MasterCard, all of which have implemented significant IoT solutions.

You may not be able to make it to Dublin, but it begs the question: What are you and your organization doing to investigate the enormous game-changing opportunities offered by the growing IoT?