Thanks to the rise of the “Internet of Things,” one day everything – from home appliances to door locks – could be controlled by an IP address.

According to Gartner, the “Internet of Things” will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020, representing an almost 30-fold increase from 2009. In addition, Cisco Systems predicts that the “Internet of Things” will generate $4.6 trillion for the public sector well before 2025.

The “Internet of Things” offers a tremendous opportunity for hospitality providers to achieve competitive differentiation and please guests in highly innovative ways, according to this recent Network World article.

However, this new frontier is vast and complex, making it an ideal long-term target for hackers. In fact, some experts believe that some devices will be hijacked and programmed to work against users.

Just as the Network World article points out that a positive guest experience will spread like wildfire online, the opposite can happen if a hotelier experiences a significant data breach due to “Internet of Things” vulnerabilities.

The key takeaway is that the “Internet of Things” provides an optimal opportunity to help hospitality providers offer an unparalleled guest experience. On the flip side though, security must be an equal – if not more – priority.

One day, all of our devices will be connected in mind-blowing ways. This will further reinforce the value of IT for hoteliers. We just need to be prepared to deal with the hackers waiting in the wings.