Date: Jul 11, 2016 Author: Ari Zoldan Source: Inc. (
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Today's entrepreneurs are facing a new ultimatum: IoT or die.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the latest innovation touching major industries and is going to impact our entire world. As such, it's become a popular arena for any new entrepreneur hoping to start a business.
Through a combination of sensors, cloud technology and data collection and analysis, the IoT is the bridge between all things personal, commercial and everything in between. According to Gartner, by 2020, over 50 percent of new businesses will incorporate the IoT into their products or business models somehow.
For any entrepreneur who wants to stay ahead of the curve, the choice isn't whether to join the IoT revolution (the answer is yes) but rather how to push your next big idea to its center.
Corporate giants like GE and Intel are already jumping on the IoT bandwagon and investing millions into products that enable cloud connectivity and communication. Consequently, fledgling businesses can only compete through their own contributions to the IoT infrastructure.
Based on several major sectors of the IoT, here are three ways to nudge your startup to a competitive place in our newly integrated tech world:
1. Save big corporations big money
When it comes to the industrial IoT market, cost is king.
Through machine-to-machine communication, the IoT has the ability to save millions of dollars in operational costs for manufacturing companies.
Consider the savings opportunities for an American company with plants overseas: Machine-to-machine communication between factories and headquarters abroad could provide current data and remote process control when sensors are combined with cloud integration.
Such immediate communication is valuable for large businesses that may otherwise overspend monitoring production through in-person checkups.
Any entrepreneur that can save a commercial giant from unnecessary spending, while staying technologically current, is sure to gain a competitive edge.
2. Tighten security on the IoT itself
While the benefits of a world connected through the IoT are numerous, many are concerned with how such massive integration will impact personal and large-scale security. While a hacker may breach one isolated device to a limited detriment, cracking a network of gadgets held together by one defense system has far more disastrous effects.
Instead of fighting the IoT based on this apprehension, entrepreneurs should leverage this as an opportunity to create IoT-specific security systems.
According to Dr. Aron Kain, CTO and VP of Engineering at BH Sensors, sensor technology can actually help with the infrastructure's overall security.
"If the sensors are made with enough random variation and still fall within the needs and parameters of their desired functionality, each sensor can have its own 'fingerprint,' said Dr. Kain. "This ensures security even if the overall system is breached by adding a non-deterministic and hence un-hackable level of security at minimal cost impact."
Entrepreneurs looking to touch both the personal and industrial sectors of the IoT may consider security the bridge between the two markets. Technological security has been an issue since the earliest stages of the Internet, and any startup that can ensure greater protection of individual and corporate data will be highly competitive.
3. Brave the healthcare industry
Entrepreneurs who want to dive headfirst into an IoT-specific startup may find great success in the healthcare sector of the personal IoT.
Given the sometimes urgent nature of individual healthcare, more efficient communication between patients and providers presents a prime opportunity for the integrative technology that the IoT provides.
Programs that can expedite prescription refills and pickups are always in need of advancement and improvement; software that enables more at-home care or treatment is valuable for older patients who may struggle to visit their healthcare provider in person.
While some entrepreneurs may be wary of the healthcare industry for its miles of red tape and complex regulations, those willing to face the potential hassles could make powerful breakthroughs in the personal IoT sector.
Makena Owens contributed to this article.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.