Friday, 09 September 2016 12:14

IoT users to outnumber laptop, tablet, smartphone users: Gartner

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In  2020 the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use worldwide will rise to 21 billion, outnumbering users with laptops, tablets or smartphones by a factor of more than three, according to Gartner.

The explosion in IoT devices over the next four years will see close to 6% in use for industrial IoT applications and, according to Gartner, IT organisations have issues identifying these devices and “characterising them as part of current network access policy”.

“Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must, therefore, update their network access policy to seamlessly address the onslaught of IoT devices,” Gartner cautions.

"Having embraced a bring-your-own-device strategy, organisations must now get employee devices on the enterprise network and start addressing the 21 billion IoT devices that we project will want access to the enterprise network," said Tim Zimmermann, research vice-president at Gartner.

"Whether a video surveillance camera for a parking lot, a motion detector in a conference room or the HVAC for the entire building, the ability to identify, secure and isolate all IoT devices — and in particular ‘headless’ devices — is more difficult to manage and secure."

According to Gartner, many IoT devices will use the established bandwidth of the enterprise network provided by the IT organisation (wireless 1.3 Gbps of 802.11ac Wave 1 or 1.7 Gbps of 802.11ac Wave 2).

But, Zimmermann says, however, it is important that the IT organisation works directly with facilities management (FM) and business units (BUs) to identify all devices and projects connected to the enterprise infrastructure and attaching to the network.

According to Zimmermann, once all of the devices attached to the network are identified, the IT organisation must create or modify the network access policy as part of an enterprise policy enforcement strategy – and this should determine if and how these devices will be connected, as well as what role they will be assigned to govern their access.

In order to monitor access and priority of IoT devices, Zimmermann says I&O leaders need to consider additional enterprise network best practices. These can be defining a connectivity policy, as many IoT devices will be connected via Wi-Fi, performing spectrum planning. “Many IoT devices may be using 2.4GHz, but may not be using 802.11 protocols such as Bluetooth, ZigBee or Z-Wave, which may create interference; or considering packet sniffers to identify devices that may do something undesirable on the network.”

Gartner says that while more IoT devices are added to the enterprise network, I&O leaders will need to create virtual segments, allowing network architects to separate all IoT assets (such as LEDs or a video camera) from other network traffic, supporting each FM application or BU process from other enterprise applications and users.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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