The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnected network of physical objects, or “things.” These “things” are equipped with sensors, software, and various technologies to facilitate communication and data exchange with other devices and systems via the Internet. IoT has emerged as a pivotal technology in the 21st century. The ability to connect everyday items to the Internet through embedded devices enables seamless communication among people, processes, and objects. By bringing together affordable computing, cloud computing, big data, analytics, and mobile technology, everyday devices can share info without needing a ton of human input. This web of connections via the Internet lets digital systems keep tabs on, track, and tweak how connected objects interact in a super-connected world where the physical and digital collaborate smoothly. IoT sustainability also promises to be the next big and best thing in the future.




You probably don’t realise it, but IoT has become intertwined in our daily lives. Smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, baby monitors, electric vehicles (EVs), washing machines, toasters – you name it – almost anything connected to the internet is considered an IoT device. And don’t forget Siri and Alexa. Smart thermostats can understand your daily schedule and automatically regulate the temperature, leading to energy savings and decreased utility expenses. Meanwhile, wearable fitness trackers can track vital metrics like heart rate, sleep cycles, and workout patterns, offering valuable information about your general health and wellness. The impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) extends far beyond mere convenience and individual health benefits.




The use of IoT enables organisations to ditch old-fashioned manual asset tracking systems and adopt automated sensors. These sensors easily link up to the internet and mesh with centralised systems, allowing for the real-time monitoring of important company assets. Moreover, IoT has the potential to take customer satisfaction to the next level by providing advanced features and personalised experiences. In a nutshell, businesses benefit from IoT through automation and connectivity. These enable:



The list goes on and on but here’s some more food for thought. Leveraging IoT solutions helps companies, including SMEs, to offer more products and better quality than their rivals, all without breaking the bank. Going for smart IoT solutions makes a business more competitive and attractive as a potential partner. As a consequence of their IoT initiatives, 36% of companies are considering new directions in their business strategies. In turn, this creates a positive impression among customers, investors, and business partners who recognise the many benefits of the Internet of Things.




Although the phrase “Internet of Things” was not commonplace until 1999, the first IoT device was invented in 1982, a vending machine that lit up every time somebody bought a Coke. As you can see, we’ve come a long way since then. By 2010, there were 0.8 billion IoT devices on the planet, 9% of all the devices in the world. And the global growth of IoT speaks for itself:


  • 2015 – 3.6 billion (27% of all devices)
  • 2020 – 11.7 billion (54% of all devices)
  • 2023 – 19.8 billion (66% of all devices)

Statista predicts there will be over 29 billion IoT devices by 2030, with the consumer market dominating with 17 billion, most of which will be internet and media devices like smartphones.




With the IoT market showing no signs of slowing down and our world striving for a greener future, IoT has been deemed a catalyst for sustainability. The ongoing progress in IoT has transcended its initial focus on enhancing traditional metrics such as energy consumption and carbon emissions. It has expanded its scope into critical areas like water conservation, waste reduction, and the promotion of renewable energy usage. Here are just a few ways that IoT is doing its greener good for sustainability:


  • Smart buildings – IoT building management systems optimise energy use, reduce waste, and enhance occupant comfort.
  • Smart electrical grids – Using IoT technology, we can develop smart grids that better manage electricity distribution and consumption.
  • Smart public transport – IoT enables real-time tracking, predictive maintenance, and dynamic route optimization, thereby reducing fuel consumption and increasing efficiency.
  • Smart healthcare – Admissions, physical appointments and hospital energy consumption are reduced when IoT is used for remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and care coordination.
  • Remote monitoring – Companies engaging in IoT remote monitoring of assets and operations experience better efficiency. The decrease in on-site visits translates to lower energy consumption and diminished carbon emissions resulting from reduced transportation needs. Remote monitoring also contributes to decreased fuel consumption by eliminating unnecessary on-site engineer trips.
  • Supply chain optimisation – IoT improves supply chain visibility and traceability, helps identify inefficiencies, and reduces waste.
  • Fleet operations optimisation – By tracking vehicle performance, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs, IoT facilitates improved route planning, reduced fuel consumption, and lower emissions.
  • Waste management – With an estimated 3.4 billion tons of annual waste by 2050, IoT can solve waste and trash management problems by giving access to real-time data.




Here are examples of how two well-known companies have made our planet a better place:


  • Google – Google’s Nest makes a substantial impact on the Greentech industry with its programmable, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats. These innovative devices learn user temperature preferences and create schedules based on those settings. The Nest Thermostat has saved billions of kilowatt hours of energy in millions of households worldwide since 2011. It has also achieved substantial cost savings in heating and cooling for users.
  • Citymapper – This London-based company uses IoT connectivity for its car sharing service, which reduces traffic and is less harmful to the environment.




While IoT itself is crafted with a focus on energy efficiency, the rapid expansion of the IoT device count is concurrently escalating the demand for device manufacturers to enhance power efficiency even more. Here are some of the ways IoT devices can be designed and used to promote our green world:


  • Solar harvesting – Using small solar panels to power remote IoT devices.
  • Green cloud – Using a data centre energy consumption baseline to optimise cloud energy and resource consumption.
  • Settings optimisation – Use IoT device settings to reduce energy usage and make them more responsive to your needs.
  • Firmware updates – These improve the functionality, security, and efficiency of your IoT devices.
  • Responsible recycling – When IoT devices reach end-of-life, they must be disposed of in a way that has minimal environmental impact and according to the local regulations and guidelines.




There surely is much good that IoT can do. Unfortunately, security was not at the forefront of designer’s minds when they developed these devices. This has led to a multitude of challenges that can result in catastrophic situations. Unlike other technological solutions, there is a lack of well-established standards and regulations governing IoT security. Also, a significant portion of the population lacks an understanding of the inherent risks associated with IoT systems and remains unaware of the complexity and extent of IoT security challenges. Here are a few of the main IoT cybersecurity concerns that perplex many businesses:


  • Insecure Passwords – Many IoT devices come with default passwords that users often neglect to change, providing cybercriminals with effortless access. Additionally, users sometimes opt for weak passwords that are easy to guess.
  • Inadequate Testing – Due to the lack of emphasis on security by many IoT developers, there is a failure to conduct thorough vulnerability testing, leading to a failure in identifying weaknesses within IoT systems.
  • Unpatched vulnerabilities – Numerous IoT devices harbour unpatched vulnerabilities due to various factors such as the unavailability of patches and challenges in accessing and installing them.
  • Data volume – The huge amount of data generated by IoT devices makes data oversight, management, and protection very challenging.
  • Limited security integration – Because of the variety and scale of IoT devices, integrating them into security systems can sometimes be impossible.
  • Lack of visibility – IoT devices are often deployed without the knowledge of IT departments, making it impossible to have an accurate inventory of what needs to be protected and monitored.


Scott McLeod, a professor at the University of Colorado also believes that when it comes to IoT, individuals will opt for pleasure and convenience first and forget about the pain of being hacked that can easily follow:


“There will be all kinds of hiccups, horror stories, accidents, deliberate acts of sabotage and other bumps along the road that will slow but not stop our greater connectivity. Convenience and empowerment always seem to win for most people, even at some loss of privacy, control or transparency.”




The future certainly seems bright for the synergy between IoT and sustainability. That said, there are still those pesky cybersecurity issues to be considered. In his latest international bestseller, You Don’t Need a £1 Million Cybersecurity Budget, Izak, Zhero’s founder and CEO, takes an in-depth look at the security concerns arising from the proliferation of IoT, particularly for SMEs. In Izak’s words:


“Unfortunately – and particularly in the case of SMEs – there aren’t many rules or standards in place to keep IoT security in check. On top of that, most people don’t realize the risks that come with using IoT systems or how big of a challenge it is to keep them secure. It’s a bit of a wild west out there for IoT security.”


The chapter also includes an interview with Zhero’s own Head of Research and Development, Raj Rajarajan, about all things IoT and cybersecurity for SMEs. You Don’t Need a £1 Million Cybersecurity Budget is now available on Amazon. Any questions for Izak? Reach out here and now

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