The Internet of Things (IoT) comprises a range of devices aside from your laptop, smartwatch, and smartphone. It includes anything that’s connected, from cars to wearables to vending machines. The global research firm Gartner expects that by 2020, there will be 20 billion internet-connected “things” in use.
In the same report, Vice President of Gartner Research Mark Hung says, “The biggest barrier to the IoT is that most enterprises do not know what to do with the technology.”
This maxim applies to IT departments across various industries. And without fully understanding the IoT and the latest technologies that comprise it, it’s hard to respond to or predict what all of these new devices mean for network management and Wi-Fi.
There are many benefits of integrating smart devices into an enterprise, including cost savings, efficiency, and innovation—but the network has to be able to handle the load. Here’s a look at 5 popular IoT devices that are changing Wi-Fi needs for businesses:
1. Smart locks and cameras
One major shift that IoT devices bring is greater security and access control. Smart locks allow buildings to have more protection from intruders while giving employees and security managers access from anywhere with an internet connection. Smart cameras provide better access control and monitoring solutions, as well. Gone are the days when a lost key or missing badge hinder employees from accessing their workspace. Smart locks can be controlled from mobile devices for convenience.
2. Temperature control and monitoring
Smart thermostats aren’t just for the home. Businesses are using these kind of tools to save on climate control costs and make buildings more efficient. Storage or remote facilities can be monitored and controlled from a separate mobile device to better keep an eye on temperatures and any issues that may arise in these distinct spaces.
3. Virtual or voice assistants
Another IoT plus for businesses is the growing use of virtual or voice assistants. Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple, and Google Assistant are all examples of virtual assistants, and the technology isn’t just being used in homes. Users of all types ask these devices questions and have them perform simple tasks like setting reminders or taking notes. Another growing type of virtual assistant is the chatbot, which helps companies improve their customer service, marketing, and lead-generation tactics online.
4. Smart lighting
As with many smart devices, users can control smart lights from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. More businesses also implement schedules for lighting to turn on and off as well as create different ambiance within a space. Smart lighting tied to schedules or motion is also helping with energy efficiency and cost savings.
5. Stock and shipment trackers
Shipping and stock trackers provide crucial shipment and supply-chain data that helps businesses gain visibility into each stage of a product’s shipment journey and verify when something was delivered, as well as its quality upon delivery. This data is changing the level of customer service and shortening the response times companies can provide—not to mention gaining efficiency in managing and controlling stock in warehouses.
These are a tiny sample of the benefits of IoT devices now being commonly used in various businesses. But how are they changing the Wi-Fi landscape, and what can you do to keep up?
Because any large organization already has a slew of wireless devices, the addition of all of these IoT devices into the network boundary area adds pressure to the WLAN. Interference and congestion from new equipment can cause drops and slowdowns, and it can be more difficult to manage the security on each and every device that tries to connect. Bandwidth may need to be increased, security tightened, and APs placed more efficiently to handle the load.
One way to better manage these issues is to implement a wireless network monitoring program. Continuous monitoring allows you to see what’s going on in the network at all times and respond to problems—or proactively build or modify infrastructure—before issues impact end-users.
7SIGNAL recognizes that your enterprise depends on reliable, high-performing Wi-Fi. With our wireless network monitoring solution and other Wi-Fi improvement products, you’ll experience maximum network uptime, flexibility, device connectivity, and network ROI—all of which are all critical in the IoT-driven landscape.
7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.