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The Internet of Things (IoT) means you can ask your speakers to tell you funny jokes, and it will. You can check your average heart rate for the month with your smartwatch. And if you get tired of driving on the highway, your smart car will take over for you. This is the power of IoT. It constantly collects, analyzes, and uses data before delivering an output. Some people are over the moon about IoT and have introduced this smart technology to every facet of their home. Others are weary after reading about data breaches, hacks, and so they wonder — where is all this data going? And who’s really has access to it?

In this comprehensive SWOT analysis of the Internet of Things, I uncover the many strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within this new technology and find out what makes it tick  — and how it may actually be a ticking time bomb.

The strengths of IoT

Beneficial to the workplace.

IoT devices aren’t just everyday objects found in your home. Devices are used in the workplace too, often in factories and on the production line. The devices can be connected to streamline processes. However, they can also be used more intelligently — if a product isn’t doing so hot in stores, the devices can be notified to slow down or even halt the production of certain items.

Less taxing on the environment.

One huge reason for the popularity of smart and connected devices is how beneficial it is to the environment. In fact, IoT devices are expected to reduce emissions by more than 15 percent, thanks to devices like smart lighting and cars.

The lights can use less electricity, especially when connected to motion sensors; when you leave a room but forget to turn the lights off, the sensors will do this for you. Smart cars often use electricity or a hybrid of electricity and fuel, which reduces fuel consumption and environmental impact on natural resources.

A leader in innovative technology.

IoT is a clear representation of innovation. It’s the combination of everyday devices and streamlined data. For instance, you can have a smart speaker that gives you the morning news, allows you to set reminders, and answers with facts when asked a question. And we now have autonomous driving vehicles that are able to parallel park without assistance and drive on its own without human input.

In truth, the internet of things is only just beginning. We’ve accomplished so much with it already, who knows what fantastic surprises the future of this innovative technology has to offer?

Weaknesses of the Internet of Things

Breaches, hackers, and problems.

The #1 biggest weakness of any IoT device is security. Or really, the lack of it. IoT devices can be compromised by attackers. The news has already covered stories about attackers exploiting weaknesses in smart fridges — which led to the exposure of Gmail logins.

Hacks happen for many reasons, but often because the IoT firmware has a bug or vulnerability that these hackers exploit. If you don’t update the firmware, you’re at risk for attacks.

Data is heavy.

These devices rely on the collection of data to improve or provide services. But this massive amount of data, collected by every connected device, needs to be stored and analyzed somewhere. At the moment, we don’t have the best infrastructure to handle such a large job, and it could lead to major data-related issues down the road.

A directionless technology.

Because it’s only a recent development, IoT is still in infancy. Which means, it’s rather directionless in terms of growth. Although we can make most objects “smart” nowadays, the infrastructure, firmware, and potential vulnerabilities need to catch up too.

Likely, as most technology does, the internet of things will continue to grow and innovate. This is a new industry with limitless potential (at the moment), which means developers are excited and passionate about the advancement of IoT. If we don’t have rules and regulations regarding the use of the device, collection and usage of data, or how to keep each smart item protected, it may end up crumbling.

Opportunities of IoT

Better health with apps and devices.

IoT introduces a host of opportunities to a variety of industries. Healthcare is one of the most promising. We’re already creating more health-related apps, which can collects and stores personal data regarding people’s medical history, sudden symptoms, and overall wellness.

We already have smart watches and clothes. The watches collect data regarding weight, calories burnt, and heart rate. Each watch comes with apps which transform the device into a “fitness coach”, telling you what to do during and when to do your workout. But they do collect an intense amount of data since the wearer is encouraged to only take the water off when showering.

New and enticing investments.

IoT invites interesting investment opportunities. It’s a new, promising industry. You can buy smartwatches, smart dog collars for your furry best friend, and smart fridges. Some companies, like Amazon, are working on building smart technology and attaching it to anything — microwaves, beds, and more. This means IoT can be used in literally any industry, so there are tons of investment options for anyone interested in getting in early.

Again, since IoT is in the infant stage, anything feels possible as this technology progresses.

Threats of the Internet of things

Security vulnerabilities.

It’s impossible to avoid: IoT devices biggest threat is the hacking vulnerability. If someone wants access to your information, they’ll find a way. But unlike computers which have anti-virus to locate malware or allow for immediate updates when a new update comes out, IoT is severely lacking in preventive cybercrime measures. If you use multiple IoT products in your home (for instance, smart bulbs, fridges, and clothes) the hacker can gain access to all of them.

High expectations falling flat.

IoT was (and still is) an exciting industry, but it does have limits at the moment. You can’t carry on a conversation with your smart speakers, as the artificial intelligence levels needed aren’t there. Likewise, there are only so many apps available for small watches like Fitbits — and most are limited. Heck, you can’t even have apps running in the background of these watches.

It’s because of these limitations that people are a bit jaded. They want more from these devices, and many remain excited about the future. But right now, this technology has hit a wall. It can’t bridge the expectations with reality quite yet.

IoT is expensive.

And to be honest, smart devices are costly. You want to buy a smart bulb? It can be triple the cost of a normal light bulb. Smart watches are hundreds of dollars. Smart clothes have a similar price point. It’s a lot, but for a new form of technology, not surprising.

SWOT Analysis of the Internet of Things: Final thoughts

The internet of things takes everyday objects and makes them “smart”. Meaning, these objects transfer, collect, and use data for a purpose. It can be to talk to your speaker or get the weather from your fridge. It’s an exciting industry with a ton of promise, but what people expect their IoT devices to do and what they can actually do may differ at the moment.

We’re seeing IoT used to improve our health with smartwatches, clothes, and various other technologies. But it doesn’t come without issues — specifically, data breach and hacking issues. These devices are often not secure, which means anyone can gain access to the information and use it against you.

Still, people look forward to what new “smart” gadget is coming out. IoT is only in its infancy right now, so there’s plenty of room for growth and innovation. And like any futuristic type of technology, we’ll have to wait and see how it changes, impacts, and affects consumers.

Interested in how to write your own SWOT analysis? Make sure to check our guide.

Image by Gerd Altmann