Simple IoT for Small Business

Small business owner

For businesses in the Highland Lakes area, effective implementation of IoT can be a differentiating factor that can improve your business. According to Gartner Inc., by 2020, more than half of new businesses will include IoT in their business processes. When implemented correctly, the Internet of Things can increase an enterprise’s productivity and shave waste, create sustainable ecosystems, or increase revenue streams by informing data-driven business decisions.

Below are 5 simple steps to help determine whether IoT will improve your business processes.

  1. Choose an IoT Partner. Alone, you go fast, together, we go far. Choose a partner experienced in IoT implementation and benefit from collaboration and their experience. Implementing an out-of-the box solution with limited IoT knowledge and capacity cannot yield the same results as working with an experienced team. It takes three things to create an IoT solution: network connectivity, hardware, and an IoT platform.
  2. Start small on a specific business problem. Starting small allows you to get your feet wet and decide whether IoT technology can add value to your business by isolating a segment of your business and testing there.
  3. Define success. After you determine where to start, determine what success you would like for the project. Is it reducing cost? Is it reducing man-hours? Is improving customer experience? Depending on the goal, create a set of measureable metrics that indicate the success or failure of your pilot project.
  4. Choose a time-frame. Now that you have the problem to solve and the metrics to determine success, set a trial period that makes sense for your project and the information you want to gather. Some helpful time frames are 30-60-90 days.
  5. Learn fast. Learn often. In a recent survey of companies implementing IoT initiatives, 64 percent agreed that learning from stalled or failed IoT initiatives helped accelerate their organization’s investment in IoT. Regardless of the success or failure of the project, what you learn will help your business better understand its process.

 

HCTS is passionate about equipping businesses with the resources needed to maximize their potential. If you are considering integrating IoT into your business process, schedule a consultation to learn about all the possibilities available for you.

The S in IoT stands for Security

By 2020 there will be an estimated 212 billion IoT objects connected to the internet. An IoT object is any device with an on/off switch connected to the internet. We are currently sharing a series of blog posts to help you navigate what IoT means for your home, business, and city. Previously in our series, we discussed what IoT is, its implication for your home, for small businesses, and for the cities we live in. In our latest installment, we are covering the security risk associated with IoT.

Whether at home, at work, or in cities, the gains garnered by IoT are hard to beat. Effective IoT lowers the cost of doing business, increases productivity, improves the overall experience in cities, and allows one a firmer handle of real-time data. However, the multitude of connected devices opens our homes, businesses, and cities up to new risks in network and identity security from bad actors.

An industry joke goes like this: “the S in IoT stands for security.”

There is no S in IoT. In the same way, IoT devices are notoriously lacking in security measures. The lack of security in IoT devices is alarming considering that, according to a recent report, IoT attacks grew 280% from the prior six-month reporting period.

Digging deeper, it is apparent that a large chunk of this growth stems from Mirai—malware that infects IoT devices like wireless cameras and home routers that have standardized factory passwords and turns them into controllable bots. The malware co-opts thousands of unprotected IoT devices and directs them to send signals to overload specific networks.  In fact, a Mirai attack happened in 2016 and shutdown sites like Etsy, Pinterest, Netflix, The New York Times, SoundCloud, and Twitter, among other major websites. Estimates project that roughly $110 million in potential revenue was lost in this attack.

One consistent factor in attacks that compromise vast networks is when devices in use maintain their default username and password set in the factory. Because these passwords are standardized, hackers infiltrate devices operating with unchanged passwords and then are able to dictate the action of those devices at-will.

If you own any device that connects to the internet, you need to seriously consider what security protocols you want to take to protect your network. If you are in the Texas Hill Country, schedule a consultation with HCTS. We have multiple decades of experience installing the networks for Fortune 500 companies and U.S. Embassies abroad. We value any opportunity available to protect and serve our neighbors in the Highland Lakes.

The Importance of Quality Home Networking

Would you buy a high-performance Lamborghini sports car and fill it with unleaded regular gasoline?[1] No! When you use a generic modem from the store or your internet service provider for your high-end home theater and your smart home electronics, you are effectively putting cheap gas in a luxury vehicle.

The most important piece of having a smart home is network stability because the network is the foundation. It’s not just “nice to have.” It’s a requirement.

Regardless of how much you spend on a home theater or a smart home system, its performance is only as good as the network it runs on. The speed of your home network is directly tied to the speed of your devices. Each piece of equipment might say it can reach lightning fast speeds, but if your network is throttling your bandwidth, your smart home automation system will never operate at full performance.

The network is the single most important thing. The more devices you connect, the smarter your home is, and the more you use cloud-based services, the more important your network becomes.

How do you know if your network is not operating at full capacity? Ask yourself if you experience any of the following situations:

  • lower than expected download speeds
  • poor quality video streaming
  • hearing every other word of a conversation on a Voice over IP (VOIP) phone service
  • having intermittent wireless connectivity
  • your connected devices just don’t seem to work well (or consistently)

If you have experienced any of these, then you have a network breakdown. The “secret” ingredient, or the fix, is an enterprise grade network for your Hill Country home. Luckily for you, HCTS has multiple decades of experience designing and installing business class IT infrastructure for Fortune 500 companies and governments all over the world.

Some may argue that an enterprise network is overkill and too expensive, but an enterprise network is the best choice. Having this grade of network capacity allows you to have the capability to accommodate and support new technologies as they roll out. Moreover, enterprise networks use higher quality CPUs which allows more streams on high bandwidth traffic.  This means your high-end electronics today and the new ones that come will run at the capacity they were designed to operate. Reach out and let HCTS help you get the most of your home electronics.

 

[1] The Backbone of a Connected Home by Jamie Lee Corpuz