What is the difference between the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are often used interchangeably, but have different implications and meanings. IoT is primarily focused on the machine world – wearables, thermostats, security cameras, and blood pressure cuffs - embedded with carrier SIM card connections, the Internet of Everything includes somewhat more conceptual entities.

Cisco, which has championed the idea of the IoE explains, "IoE makes networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before - turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals and countries."

What kind of IoE suits your business?

Keeping security and privacy at the forefront of the plan, consider the purpose of the connection; (The 3 A's):

Is it (A)WARE?
Can it sense something about its surroundings? This might be location, proximity, altitude, temperature, vibration, humidity, light levels, or motion.

Is there connectivity? The data processed from a connected asset must be transferred to a central location or processing applications automatically — either at a set time, or when a condition is met or a threshold passed.

Is it gathering information and making better decisions? Regardless of whether the output is manual or highly automated, analysis of the data must be integrated into business processes.

Today’s IoE:

“Perhaps the most common application is to use IoE technology to monitor the performance of machinery and signal when a malfunction might be imminent. Preventive maintenance can increase machinery utilization rates and reduce costs associated with unexpected failures. An increasing amount of IoE technology is being deployed to monitor utilization of key inputs (for example, fuel or electricity) into large scale facilities like manufacturing plants or office buildings and adjusting these inputs in real-time to enhance efficiency. Another popular early application involves using IoT technology to monitor the movement of parts and products in logistics chains.These applications all have important economic benefits. It’s understandable why companies are targeting these applications to reap near-term cost savings.

But, there’s so much more potential that remains to be tapped. How about using this technology to evolve to new and more profitable business models, focusing on enhancing value delivered to the customer rather than simply seeking to reduce the company’s own operating expense?”

A potential glimpse into the future of IoE: (If going paperless wasn't enough)

Imagine IoE enabled dental patients who can automatically book appointments when their dental health is required.

The patient signs in with their personal health record and their statistics, medications and patient history are made available immediately. Their dental chair automatically adjusts as they receive a basic examination performed by a machine, leaving your dentist and technicians to do the skilled work. During treatment, the patient’s stress levels are monitored remotely and the atmosphere and background music automatically adjusted to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible. The patient completes their appointment having their co-payment automatically paid and with their next appointment already booked and updated to their smartphone before they walk out the door.

Things to consider before rushing into an IoE strategy:

Assess your risk
Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment that incorporates the IoE into your overall risk profile. Each IoE initiative will have its own security profile.

Examine what steps you are currently taking to protect your information and devices
It's important to consider what type of damage might occur if a device is compromised. Devices like connected health monitors contain more sensitive information than other sensors, such as one that tracks a package in transit. The type of information involved will influence the security measures you implement.

Align your organization and governance for IoE
Communication across business and IT departments is vital when developing your IoE technology strategy. The effectiveness of an IoE deployment can be undermined if your organization isn’t fully engaged from the top down.

Scan for compliance issues
Carefully identify your compliance and other similar requirements, especially any you may not have recognized before. Beyond customer information breaches, companies will need to consider IoE devices that, if compromised, could impact health or safety in ways.

For a more in-depth look at legal and regulatory issues, register for your copy of "The CEO's Guide to Securing the Internet of Things" from AT&T, located on the Contact ME page.