Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Harnessing IoT in the Enterprise

Why IoT is a critical part of digital transformation

With the IoT market growing at a increasingly fast pace, companies need to have a plan of how they will use IoT in their business and how they will protect its data.

special feature

Harnessing IoT in the Enterprise

The tech revolution is spreading to every corner of the earth with the Internet of Things, and it's enabling data analytics and automation in ways never before imagined in business.

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Everyone is trying to get their hands around IoT. Within the next five years, there will be 50 billion devices on the IoT market.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson interviewed ZDNet's Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan about what the explosion of IoT products will look like for business. "The movement with IoT is you're just putting sensors on everything," Dignan said. "It could be devices, it could be things, it could be tractors, it could be any damn thing you can think of."

Dignan believes IoT is the most important component that comprises digital transformation. It will transform your whole business by changing how you track inventory and your supply chain, giving you more analytical data, and more knowledge.

The best place to see where IoT will be most transformative, though, is in smart cities in areas such as traffic or water supplies, he said.

However, the issue that will come along with collecting more data from sensors will be managing it and deciding which data matters, and which doesn't. Since storage is cheap, companies can keep data lying around.

"I think companies are going to put a lot of sensors in things, and not quite know what to do with [the data]," Dignan said.

Data that's collected and left lying around for potential use later can become vulnerable to attacks. Companies' data protection schemes should reach out to IoT as well.

You will have to secure your data from IoT devices as you would secure your data center, Dignan said. As that data moves to the cloud, infrastructure is going to have to be those devices in the field and those need to be secured. "IoT is going to make everything smart, which is a little freaky yet also kind of cool," said Dignan.

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