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For many years, industry pundits and experts have discussed the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on virtually every business sector across the globe.  By 2025, there will be 75 million connected devices, which points to the future of IoT actually already being upon us today.

With an estimated 17.5 million hotel rooms worldwide, and an ongoing push for rapid innovation adoption, the hospitality arena is also already on the forefront of IoT. In fact, the “2019 Internet of Things” survey from PWC found that 77 percent of hospitality executives report that they have active IoT projects.

The main drivers for this rapid adoption is enhancing the customer experience, as well as improving asset management and security.  While the survey shows that hoteliers are using IoT to bolster trust among their stakeholders, especially their workforces, there are still concerns to be addressed.

The Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) highlights these the top 10 IoT security concerns for businesses, which should also be a focus for hotels:

  1. Default ‘Raw Data’ Storage
  2. Insecure Devices 
  3. Trolls And Bad Players
  4. Surveillance
  5. Lack of Updates
  6. Data Breaches
  7. Compliant Data Storage
  8. DDoS Attacks
  9. Sensitive Data Storage
  10. Smartphone Security

Though one of the concerns should be IoT devices inadvertently and wrongly sharing guest data. We have seen the media stories about smartphones and smart home virtual assistants (like Amazon Echo or Google Home) leaking user data. IoT devices is the next frontier.

A joint study with Northeastern University and Imperial College London found that 72 of the 81 IoT devices they tested shared data with third parties completely unrelated to the original manufacturer. While these devices were more consumer focused (i.e., smart TVs, streaming dongles, smart audio speakers and video doorbells), hoteliers are embracing many of these technologies right in their guest rooms.

Most IoT device makers have yet to be fully scrutinized by legislators and regulators, mainly because this is a fast-moving issue, and many lawmakers don’t fully understand the scope of IoT and privacy.