The growing Internet of Things (IoT) will bring new opportunities and challenges, not the least of which will be increased spending in retail IT and advanced security concerns.
IoT — the idea that essentially any device that can be connected, will be connected — promises to open a brave new world of opportunity for retailers. And while consumers are enamored of the idea that their refrigerator will be connected to the home heating system which will be connected to the jacuzzi, IT departments and security experts are staring down a host of new threats.
Retail IT spending will see large growth associated with IoT spending, according to a new report from IDC. The IoT IT market associated with in-store consumer digital offers will grow from $181 million in 2014 to $223 million in 2018.
IDC predicts that the rise of IoT solutions will translate into billions of dollars of IT opportunity for vertical-solution focused vendors.
IoT also has the potential to transform the data center market, its customers and technology. The research firm estimates that the IoT will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services.
"IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges."
"The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data, creates challenges, particularly in the areas of security, data, storage management, servers and the data center network, as real-time business processes are at stake," said Joe Skorupa, VP, Gartner. "Data center managers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management in these areas to be able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT."
Gartner has identified security as one of the biggest challenges stemming from IoT as the big data created as a result of the deployment of myriad devices will increase security complexity. This, in turn, will have an impact on availability requirements, which are also expected to increase, putting real-time business processes and, potentially, personal safety at risk.
Consumer privacy will be a growing risk, a particular problem for retailers as they increasingly engage with shoppers digitally. "There will be a vast amount of data providing information on users' personal use of devices that, if not secured, can give rise to breaches of privacy," noted the report. "This is particularly challenging as the information generated by IoT is a key to bringing better services and the management of such devices."
"IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed. Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable," said Skorupa. "The recent trend to centralize applications to reduce costs and increase security is incompatible with the IoT. Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data will then be forwarded to a central site for additional processing."
Of the 200 billion objects with the ability to connect to the Internet, just 2 percent do so today, according to IDC. Get ready for that number to rise, quickly.
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