The 2017 technology market will continue to see Canadian businesses take advantage of connected devices and artificial intelligence (AI), the tech experts at Rogers Communications Inc. say, greater defensive measures will have to be taken to ensure security.

Ignacio Paz, Rogers’ general manager of Internet of Things (IoT), says that the Canadian market is growing fast and will likely exceed $10 billion by the end of 2017 – a year-over-year growth rate of more than 20 per cent. He attributes this accelerated growth to Canadian businesses increasingly seeing the value of connected devices.

“The great thing is that, with AI, all the data can be analyzed in real-time for the business,” he explains. “I see businesses being able to take data in from an even greater number of connected devices and then using AI to analyze it to optimize their business.”

Paz also believes that as business use of IoT technology increases, there will be a greater need for analytics to understand the data the devices collect. Noting the profound breakthroughs in AI in recent years, he believes AI could be a useful tool in making sense of businesses’ IoT data.

Paz also predicts that 2017 will see “IoT shift beyond singular applications,” such as a vehicle transmitting GPS data, to a broader ecosystem with new forms of value and a greater emphasis on ‘as a service’ platforms.

Businesses need to focus on better cybersecurity

However Stewart Cawthray, Rogers’ general manager of enterprise security, notes that in an increasingly connected world enterprises need to be wary of the heightened risk for cyberattacks.

Just as IoT and AI can be used to make businesses more efficient, he says, both can also be used to take them down. He suggests that businesses focus on incorporating better security into the endpoints, connectivity and backend application layers of IoT devices, especially after October’s large-scale DDoS attack, which took advantage of both IoT devices and voice-activated AI such as Siri, Ok Google and Amazon Echo.

Cawthray also highlights the risks of businesses progressively adopting cloud computing as a way of operating and storing data.

“Popularity isn’t always a good thing, and the popularity of [cloud computing] platforms will increasingly put the cloud under threat from cyberattacks,” he says. “It’s going to be paramount for businesses to leverage secure cloud solutions.”

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