IoT’s Impact on the IT Needs of the Distribution Industry
The Internet of things (IoT) is a game changer for distributors. Smart sensors in warehouses and on vehicles, combined with new analytics, brings new opportunities to use data to manage your business. For many companies, the IoT will bring IT challenges along with those opportunities.
More Devices Mean More Data on Your Network
One of the most immediate impacts of the IoT is the load on your network. There can be hundreds, if not thousands, of IoT devices in your facilities. All of them collect data and need to share it with backend applications, meaning a bigger need for bandwidth. The direction that data travels changes, too, with a lot more east-west traffic than traditional applications. Not only may you need more network capacity, you may need it in new places.
Big Data to Support Big Decisions
All of those IoT devices’ sensors are constantly gathering data. Some of that data can be used to make decisions automatically, such as scheduling preventative maintenance of equipment. Other data can feed into analytics that help your management team make key business decisions.
Storing this data is likely to require more storage than you would care to add to your data center. The cloud is ideal for that purpose, letting you grow storage as needed. Many cloud providers also support big data tools such as Hadoop. You can easily spin up the servers in the cloud to run the analytics programs you need, and shut them down when the analysis is complete. Because the cloud is pay-per-use, this makes big data cost effective and adds to its value.
Supporting your cloud environment and developing big data analytics will require adding new skill sets to your information technology team.
Small Devices Can Create Big Security and Maintenance Challenges
The tiny size of many IoT devices makes them challenging from a security and maintenance perspective. Many devices are limited in their computational capabilities and don’t fully support standards such as encryption. They frequently do not receive security patches and updates, and because there are so many of them, they’re simply hard to keep track of. Many devices connect to backend, cloud-based systems that can have their own vulnerabilities. These mean the devices introduce new potential threat vectors and information security risks into your facility.
Implement IT Solutions to IoT Challenges
Prescient Solutions offers IT consulting and managed services to Chicago and Schaumburg-area distributors, helping you overcome challenges of the IoT and all the other information technology you use. Our services in the distribution industry span the full range of IT needs, beginning with assessments, continuing to implementation, and extending to ongoing support and maintenance. Our expert team will work with you to develop server, desktop, mobile, network, and other technology solutions to help you achieve distribution success. Contact us to learn more about how our services help you leverage the Internet of things and information technology.