Connecting the World: IoT Ideas for Business

The article was updated on July 09, 2024.

Invented in 1999, the Internet of Things (IoT) has already been integrated into contemporary business. IoT implementation has become so common that the market size is predicted to reach $3,152.17 billion by 2033, and it was already valued at $405.69 billion last year.

IoT has already penetrated industries far beyond the tech field. For instance, by utilizing the Internet of Things, healthcare settings reported a 45% decrease in patient falls and a 60% reduction in bedsores. In the agricultural market, the flexibility of IoT enhances sensor production and is expected to reach $7.6 billion by 2027.

As of now, 93% of executives believe that the advantages of Internet of Things adoption noticeably outweigh the risks. Despite the benefits of this technology, IoT challenges require attention from enterprises seeking smooth business solutions.

This article will explore the most common IoT risks and challenges and offer methods to overcome them. But first we will discuss IoT opportunities ideas to invest in.

Internet of Everything: What is IoT and why should you care?

The term “Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. Working on supply chain optimization at Procter&Gamble, he wanted to attract attention to a new technology, Radio-frequency identification (RFID), as a way to create a wirelessly connected network of objects. While modern IoT is mostly based on other technologies, the concept has become widely adopted ever since.

As defined by BI Intelligence, the Internet of Things is “a network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.” Simply put, basically any physical object that is wirelessly connected to the Internet can be considered a part of the IoT ecosystem.

While it might sound creepy, such “connected” devices are everywhere. Our homes are packed with them, we can wear them anywhere we go, we drive with them, and interact with them at work or even outdoors. Namely, the number of IoT devices worldwide is expected to exceed 75 billion by 2025 (that’s a 400% increase as compared to the data from 2015).

There are many reasons for such a massive adoption of the IoT projects ideas. Businesses typically see 4 ways how the technology can help them grow their revenue:

  • lower operating costs
  • increased efficiency and productivity
  • ability to expand to new markets and develop new product offerings
  • discover new business models and revenue streams

But how exactly can businesses benefit from IoT solutions? To answer that question, let’s consider some of the most interesting use cases for IoT across industries.

Innovative IoT ideas that will change our everyday life forever

Being so deeply integrated into our day-to-day lives, the technology opens up unlimited opportunities for companies across a number of industries, including retail, healthcare, transportation & logistics, and manufacturing.

Namely, we see some outstanding opportunities across the following domains.


Home automation

Home automation is probably one of the most popular areas for the consumer use of IoT devices. The opportunities here are endless:

  • Smart home appliances – from smart lighting (Philips Hue) to appliances and utilities (Nest thermostat, and even smart cookers, ovens, smokers, scales and much more);
  • Cleaning – robotic vacuum cleaners, window cleaners, or even lawn mowers;
  • Personal assistants, like Alexa-powered Amazon Echo or Apple’s brand new HomePod with Siri;
  • Control hubs – devices that allow you to control other connected devices (for example, SmartThings or LG Home Chat hub); and
  • Autonomous security systems – SkylinkNet alarm system, various surveillance cameras, motion sensors, smoke detectors, smart doorbells and locks, etc.

Read also: Home Automation Ideas for Every Room in Your House


Retail & inventory management

Retail and inventory management was among the first industries to capitalize on the IoT trend. Among the most popular IoT ideas in this sphere are

  • Proximity-based advertising – beacons (Bluetooth low-energy devices, used to send out notifications and small amounts of promotional content to mobile devices nearby) are widely used across retail. Another common use case for beacons is with indoor navigation (typically applied in shopping malls and large supermarkets to help customers find the items they need).
  • Real-time inventory management – goods tracking is possible when RFID tags are attached to the items in stock. “Smart” shelves equipped with special readers can alert the store staff before the items go out of stock.
  • “No checkout” stores, such as Amazon Go can be implemented with the help of IoT sensors paired with computer vision.

Read also: 9 Apps that Show how Technology is Shaping Retail


Transportation & logistics

Transportation and logistics can benefit greatly from the IoT technologies as well:

  • Self-driving cars currently take the center stage in this area as more leading tech companies join the competition. From autonomous cars developed by Tesla, Google, and Uber; to driverless trucks, like Otto, tractors, buses, etc.
  • Freight monitoring and fleet management is another way for logistics to benefit from IoT. By using various sensors to track the vehicles and shipments, the companies will be able to efficiently allocate resources and gain a higher level of transparency.

Health & fitness

The health and fitness domain is dominated by wearables. These are special types of connected devices that use various sensors to track and measure a user’s vitals. Thus, the data collected by these handy devices can be further used for

  • Remote health monitoring – In terms of both prevention (seizure tracking, risk detection), and treatment (medication intake control and dosing), wearables have proven to be irreplaceable. They can help better manage chronic diseases as well as improve treatment outcomes.
  • Activity and sleep tracking can provide users with better insights into their wellbeing and help them live a healthier life.
  • Connected medical devices – apart from wearables, traditional devices “with a twist” can open up new horizons in offering more efficient and precise treatment.

Read also: Apps for Fitness Integrated with Wearables


Smart cities

“Smart Сities” is an umbrella term for the IoT technologies applied to optimize the urban environment and make it more efficient and convenient. Top areas of innovation in this domain are

  • Parking – Startups like Parkifi are using IoT sensors to tag parking spots. This provides users with real-time info about parking availability, and it automates the payment and check-in/out processes.
  • Waste collection – Similarly, IoT sensors can be used to optimize garbage collection. As soon as a bin is full, the system gets a notification and can plan the next route accordingly (A similar solution was deployed in Rotterdam).
  • Outdoor lighting and traffic signals can be equipped with motion sensors that are able to identify movement (a pedestrian or a vehicle approaching). Thus, instead of being on all night, the lights are turned on as soon as they detect any movement. This helps cities reduce their energy consumption and waste.

Read also: Smart Cities Challenges & Opportunities


Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT is currently considered to be one of the most promising areas of investment. In 2016, the startups that brought innovation to their industry have attracted over $2.2 billion investments. Some of the most prominent use cases for IoT are:

  • Malfunctions detection and reporting is carried out by using sensors that can identify and prevent equipment failure.
  • Environmental metrics collected by the connected sensors can help optimize and automate the operations typically taking place in the field such as oil and gas production, construction, and mining.

Read also: Creating a Competitive Edge With IIoT


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Heading for the smarter future with IoT: Challenges to consider

The IoT market will remain one of the most lucrative investment areas the following years. Yet, such a young industry has a number of issues that should be considered.

If you are planning to join the IoT wave in the near future, here are several pitfalls to avoid.

Technological interoperability issues

One of the top challenges of IoT is technological interoperability problems that can emerge because most IoT devices typically come from different ecosystems. Even today, interoperability remains an issue for 40% of IoT clients. Using a diversity of protocols, tools, and data formats can cause data silos or communication malfunctions in IoT adoption.

Although a one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring IoT connectivity doesn’t exist, handling this problem is relatively straightforward. Brands should opt for standardized protocols and platforms that boost device connectivity or implement middleware and integrate their systems into a functional structure.

Security and privacy concerns

Understandably, the transmission of data through interlinked devices and systems seems risky due to security challenges in IoT, and it is. IoT security challenges have some of the highest costs throughout the entire system.

Cyberattacks can be the primary cause of data breaches, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and third parties’ control over devices. Even genuine mistakes can be costly, especially for small or startup firms.

Preventive security strategies, such as end-to-end encryption, regular system updates, and systems to detect any interferences would help avoid most challenges associated with IoT security. Companies can protect users’ privacy by minimizing data collection, promoting transparency, and enhancing systems’ design.

Cost of IoT integration

Small and medium-sized businesses might face a more mundane problem with implementing IoT solutions: prices. The complexity of IoT systems makes it expensive for brands to purchase the software and hardware needed to create a reliable and responsive infrastructure.

Over half of businesses employing IoT do so to save money. Business owners should evaluate whether IoT issues are worth the expenditures at the particular company growth stage. They can do this by implementing pilot projects to evaluate the value of IoT and scale up later based on the budget or picking cloud-based IoT strategies.

Data management and analytics

Leveraging the stored data from IoT devices and deriving it to make useful insights is a challenge. It’s similar to purchasing an expensive car without knowing how to drive it.

Unstructured data turns it into an obstacle rather than an asset, so businesses should solve IoT adoption challenges by utilizing data management systems. Simply put, data lakes or warehouses structure and organize the accumulated information for users. With tools that rely on machine learning, enterprises can competently extract and compare information.

Scalability challenges

Even the initial Internet of Things implementation is strenuous, so scaling up as the business grows can be painfully exhausting.

Expanding the existing system means accounting for what already functions without adding new burdens. Integrating new devices, checking the data storage and expanding it, and examining the system load call for methodical thinking.

Instead of looking for a fast solution, companies should consider scalability plans beforehand. They should design the initial IoT architecture with the recognition of the brand’s future plans. Such alternatives as modular or microservices-based will make the system lighter and easier to adapt.

Challenges of integrating IoT with existing legacy systems

Lots of market segments might still maintain IoT concerns due to non-adapted legacy systems, and it’s understandable. Nowadays, numerous companies might still use systems that are not congruent with the implementation of Internet of Things.

Thus, businesses can make gradual changes to approach such interactions and use IoT gateways and middleware to facilitate the exchange of information between legal systems and IoT devices.


Moving Forward

These IoT challenges and solutions are not limited, but accounting for them can make one’s business more agile and flexible. Proactive management of this technology will make your enterprise less vulnerable.

If you are still unsure about your ability to handle all those challenges in IoT, contact Eastern Peak and let us cover your IoT software development needs. Our experienced team is prepared to navigate the pitfalls of IoT implementation and provide expert services to propel your business forward.

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