Now that businesses are aware of how effective the Internet of Things can be, they need to develop strategies through which they can actually implement and integrate it. The Internet of Things comprises any internet-capable devices that can be integrated into the corporate network -- and because it has such a broad scope, it requires some careful planning. Managed solutions can help you through every step of the process.
Selecting Potential IoT Opportunities
Nearly anything in your office can become an IoT device, from your overhead lighting system to your coffee machine. The question that needs to be asked is whether the device will benefit the office enough to mitigate the costs of integrating it. Your managed solution provider will be able to run down the benefits of integrating each desired device. Consider the major benefits of an IoT device:
- An IoT device can be checked and managed remotely. They can also self-report on issues that they are experiencing.
- IoT devices are able to be automated effectively. They can react to scheduled timers and be programmed accordingly.
One of the first "Internet of Things" devices in business infrastructures was the common printer. Networked printers could have their status checked from anywhere in the office, could self-report when low on paper or ink, and could have data sent to them from anywhere -- even mobile phones. For a smart office, HVAC systems, lighting, and even security could be automated and controlled through IoT.
Integrating IoT Devices Into Your IT Infrastructure
Once you've identified the devices that you want to integrate into your IT infrastructure, you need to determine how the integration will take place. How will the devices communicate to your network? One complication of the IoT is that there isn't currently a "standard" the way there is for the World Wide Web. Instead, different devices have different communication protocols.
Modern IoT integration requires the customization of numerous APIs -- and that's where an integration expert or managed partner becomes most worthwhile. In the future, it's possible that the technology will become advanced and standardized so that IoT devices are more "plug and play." For now, integration experts are required to make sure that the entire system works well together.
Keeping Your Infrastructure Secure from IoT
The final concern when moving towards the Internet of Things is, of course, security. The more devices you connect to your network, the more complicated your infrastructure becomes. The more complicated your infrastructure becomes, the more potential vulnerabilities exist. Managed solutions such as Identity-as-a-Service are one of the most critical technologies for IoT-ready networks, as it consolidates security credentials for better monitoring and maintenance. Apart from this, individual IoT devices need to be vetted and should be kept in their own segments of the network.
The Internet of Things represents some excellent opportunities for offices looking to improve the productivity and "intelligence" of their offices. But though the IoT has become ubiquitous, proper implementation still remains a challenge. At CWPS, we offer comprehensive managed solutions for the integration and maintenance of IoT-ready networks. Contact us today to learn more.