The Internet of Things (IoT) has been dubbed “the next Industrial Revolution” because of how it’s changing the way people live, work, interact, entertain, and travel. And the revolution is well underway. That brand new car that comes preloaded with a bunch of apps? Internet of Things. Those smart home devices that let you control the thermostat or play music at your command? Internet of Things. That fitness tracker on your wrist that tells your friends and family just how far you ran today? You get the point.

And things might be getting just a little faster. An IoT startup in Atlanta has been accepted into the Advanced Technology Development Center’s (ATDC) Accelerate program. The program is a startup incubator and aims to help startups learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive tech companies. This small victory for technology compels us to give an overview of where the IoT is at and where it’s heading.

We might not be ready

The unfortunate reality is that most of the households and many businesses in the US are not ready for the proliferation of the IoT. A recent study had less than 4 in 10 business owners confident that their organizations were ready to adopt a wholly connected infrastructure. The same study suggests that an even smaller percentage of organizations have reached a point where IoT initiatives are actively transforming business processes, services, and products. The vast majority of them are in preparatory or pilot stages where consideration and planning are prioritized as opposed to implementation.

Security is a challenge

At least half of the organizations surveyed cited the increased exposure of data and information as a major concern. It’s an obvious concern. The interconnectedness of everything means that a weak link in one asset becomes a weak link in the entire infrastructure. It’s likely that with the release of every new vulnerable device, hackers will continue to exploit IoT systems. Expect increased denial-of-service and ransomware attacks as cyber criminals step up their game. While large steps are being made in the security sector, the proliferation of the IoT may hinge on the development of sound security and encryption software.

Despite the challenges, the Internet of Things is gaining momentum

In October 2016, the research firm Venture Scanner, was tracking 1,428 IoT startup companies across 46 countries at the combined value of $25 billion. Just three months later, those numbers had swelled significantly accounting for another $3 billion in value. Marketers and businesses alike are beginning to see the benefits of IoT, generate new IoT solutions, and create completely new channels. One study had the number of connected devices at 24 billion by 2020 with a combined value of $6 trillion that same year. Those are mind-boggling numbers and show the strong rise of the Internet of Things despite the challenges.

Lagging implementation doesn’t mean the tech isn’t being adopted

The majority of organizations expect IoT initiatives to have a major impact on their business in the next five years. These impacts include the driving of digital transformation with the business, such as creating a more streamlined customer experience or sparking innovation through better data management and analysis.

Interoperability is becoming a reality

Analyst firm, Forrester, recently identified 11 leading vendors in IoT platforms and singled out four main leaders in the category based on current offerings and roll-out strategies. That is to say that IoT platforms are getting better as they are prioritized. IBM's Watson, Thingworx, GE’s Predix, and Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite were all praised for their advanced functionality and robust ability to partner with a variety of ecosystems. The sooner interoperability becomes a complete reality, the sooner the IoT will explode.

But the tech giants aren’t the only ones pushing the Internet of Things forward. Our recent article highlights other interesting companies that you should know about in the IoT ecosystem and how they’re leveraging the technology.

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