IoT – a game-changer, or an intrusion to privacy

In the simplest non-technical terms, Internet of Things ( IoT), means taking objects in the world and connecting them with the internet  that can collect and exchange data.

Every sector can benefit from sensor-based devices. Some of the areas where IoT has had huge influence are as follows:

Healthcare

•       Smart bed cuts down on wait-times by 50 percent. The bed helps customize care and increase efficiency.

•       Hardware monitoring Sensor keeps tabs on MRI systems and instantly alerts IT personnel if something is amiss.

•       Sensors help track personal health and can provide doctors with important data on factors that contribute to chronic diseases.

•       Sensors being fitted at seniors’ homes that send data to machine learning programs, which identify patterns that indicate problems.

Preventive Maintenance

 Industrial and military giants are implementing IoT on a large scale. Sensors feed data to analytics software, which predicts when and why machinery will break down. This is extremely important in terms of efficiency and the cost.

Manufacturing  sector

 IoT can help monitor everything that happens on the factory floor and in the shipping process, helping reduce errors and getting products to market more quickly.

Retailers

Utilising sensors in stores to monitor product activity, create a more visible supply chain and improve customer experiences’, reduces friction in the buying experience and helps customers to interact with products often in a virtual reality environment, before the purchase.

IoT Security issues

Despite all the benefits that IoT provides, security issues have been a cause for concern. The reason being that every internet-connected sensor is a potential attack point for hackers. Multinational companies should be more concerned about the security implications of IoT, since some countries do not monitor the types of devices or how data can be collected by them. Without these standards in place, it’s much easier for hackers to steal sensitive information and damage critical infrastructure.

These security issues have been preoccupying businesses, who are now setting standards to avoid the potential security breaches.

It is important to develop policies around the specifications IoT devices should have. Multinational companies should keep track of regulatory changes impacting IoT devices. Experts believe we are just on the cusp of some great advancements in business by utilising the potential of IoT. As companies add more and more of these smart devices, they gain more data to make intelligent decisions.

There have been a few widely publicised IoT related attacks that could leave the impression that IoT is highly insecure. But the actual scenario usually goes unreported. Many of these attacks were due to failures to implement even the most basic security measures.

The failure to implement basic security features should not lead us to conclude that Internet of Things is unsafe. PQube has decades of experience in IT security and hence employs the most efficient security standards to IoT.

Internet of Things does have some unique security challenges owing to the fact that the number of people who can access the devices are more. So the risk goes up. So all these aspects need to be considered while implementing the security protocols including the organisation’s broader network: clients,customers,suppliers,vendors and partners. Following are some of the factors to be considered and implemented for securing IoT.

Using data analytics

Using data analytics to anticipate when the threats are most likely to occur.

Limit device-to-device communication

By limiting the number of IoT devices that need to communicate with each other we can limit the damage in case an attack occurs.

Encrypt all data in transit

IoT devices need to incorporate industry standard encryption to ensure that the data is safe and secure during transfer.

A secure update mechanism

This mechanism involves one that receives an update from the vendor and checks the signature of the update to verify that it is valid.

Internet of things is emerging as the next big revolution in the world of technology. .

Benefits of IoT to businesses

  • Efficiency and productivity

By connecting a business’s key processes, the efficiency and productivity can be significantly boosted. This in turn boosts the revenues. It becomes easier to identify bottlenecks and eliminate/reduce them.

  • Reduction in wastage

IoT has been successfully adopted by several companies that have optimised the supply chain and improved efficiencies by accurately tracking and in the process reducing wastage.

  • Cost and downtime

Implementation of IoT has resulted in reduction in operational expenditure. For example, consider an instance when the failure of one small, but critical component could cause hours or days of downtime before the faulty component is traced and fixed. With IoT, engineers are already aware when a component would fail, several weeks in advance.

  • Data Sharing

Apart from offering access to consumer data,IoT devices track and record patterns in which a consumer interacts. Businesses are using this data to study buyer cycle, consumer requirements. This helps them come up with innovative inventions and methods for advertising.

The end goal for a business is achieving customer satisfaction. A platform that enables companies to get insights into their businesses and enhance customer experience will be highly beneficial.

Adoption of IoT device management platform enables organizations  to  create new revenue streams using insights gathered from analysing and monitoring real time data.

Businesses that are accepting the change, and are adopting the Internet of Things are seeing higher growth than the ones who still seem sceptical. The key to reap the benefits of this amazing technology called Internet of Things is balancing innovation with security.

PQube partners with your business by understanding the challenges  and then delivers the best possible ways IoT can be implemented.

Investing in IoT, has helped in rapid expansions involving increased revenue streams and reduction in operating costs. PQube has emerged as a leader in helping businesses adopt the latest, most innovative technology standards that allow companies to make smarter products and making business decisions smarter.

Work life balance – the option for employees to be productive in work and flexible in attendance

The world is obsessed with productivity. Everybody wants to know how we can get work done quickly with minimum effort, so we can lead a fulfilling life.

There are a huge number of apps that claim to increase productivity, but research suggests something that cannot be obtained from these apps – physical vitality.

The practice of work flexibility is in sharp contrast to the traditional approach where there is a defined set of work hours for everyone.

But the most important thing to keep in mind while implementing the flexible approach in any organisation is, to very closely assess the mutual benefits to both the employees and the organisation, otherwise it may lead to chaos and failure.

A recent study reported in the International Journal of Workplace Health says that, other than a good night sleep, exercise is the most effective productivity tool at our disposal. This report also mentions that people who exercised during the day time were 22% more productive.

Restore and Energize

It is a well known fact that the quality of work hours is more important than the quantity. Research shows that exercise build new connections among neurons of the brain that helps increase attention and focus.

Just like our smartphones, we need to recharge our batteries. This can be done through exercise, rest, play, pursuing your hobbies & passion that restores and energizes us.

As the old saying goes about the carpenter who didn’t have the time to stop and sharpen his axe ended up doing the work slower than his partner who was smart enough to take time off and sharpen his tool. This enabled him to do his work faster and more effectively.

How to Implement Work Flexibility Without Compromising on Productivity

Work flexibility does not mean coming and going as you please. It is a well-structured well planned framework . It needs to be well aligned with the values and mission of the organisation . The employees need to be tuned in and proper training provided. The first step is to choose the appropriate flexible work management based on the needs and requirements of both the organisation and the employees.

Compressed Work Week

Compressed work week involves working the same number of hours in a week but in fewer days. Most of the organizations have five working days with eight hours working each day. Under the compressed workweek schedule, the employees could choose to work ten hours everyday for four days and take the extra day off.

FlexTime

This gives the employees complete right to choose where to work and how many hours to work. Most organizations who follow this, have set some core working hours that they expect the employees to work . They have a good system in place to track remote working, through IP based attendance that helps to maintain great culture that fosters productivity while encouraging flexibility.

Customise to Meet Your Needs

Before implementing the flexible work hours structure, talk to your team. Ask for their inputs and analyse their needs. When this is done along with the decision making process, the flexible time management can be made a success. The employees get to enjoy the benefits that come along with this while the productivity and work quality still remains the best.

Tips for the Team to Attain Work Life Balance

Set Clear Cut Goals

This will allow us to be more focused and productive at work. Know exactly the work that needs to be completed and the timeline for the completion.

Take Ownership For Your Work

For some, total autonomy can lead to sloppy work as they are used to someone supervising them all the time. Be accountable and responsible towards your work.

Respect boundaries

Separate your work life from your personal life. Never discuss work related stuff at home and vice-versa.

Plan your day

Always have a to do list with you. Plan the day the night before and set priorities.

Vacations with family

Plan vacations with family. Spending quality time with family and friends will get you re-energized and come back to office with new zeal and enthusiasm.

Anger and stress

Anger and stress are hazardous to performance. As much as possible to achieve efficiency at work, we need to work on our emotional intelligence. Positive emotions build interest and energize. Negative emotions restrict thinking. A person with a positive outlook are more satisfied with work and this in turn increases productivity.

An alarming report from a research conducted in 2018, states that people spend an average of 2.8 hours only on productive tasks per day. The rest of the day is spent on neutral activities and distracting activities!

It also states that only 70% of the work gets done in the normal working hours.

Biggest Threats to Work Life Balance

Workplace distractions, wasting time and simply being inefficient are all eating into your work life balance. The biggest offender to maintaining a good work life balance is found to be  the habit of Checking e-mail and IM frequently. Most people are spending quality office time on checking email and other communications tool. 21% of our working hours is spent on our devices for entertainment, news and social media.

Our Ultimate Goal

The line between work and all other things in life is becoming increasingly blurred. We have less time than we usually think, and we end up working later in the evenings and on weekends just to catch up. The more we are able to set the boundaries on our workdays and counteract the distractions, multitasking and communication overload that take away our precious productive time, the more we can stay healthier, happier and find a balance.

Life @ PQube

At PQube, we understand the significance of maintaining a work-life balance. It all starts with setting up the ground rules first viz communication and proper training. We utilize a task management software, that helps us to be accountable and encourages work-life balance. Our performance oriented work culture allows our team to spend time on their personal pursuits while still engaging in meaningful work. To accomplish this everyone in the team is aware of their goals and what is expected from them, at the same time they are accountable for those outcomes.