If you think you know the problems facing the Internet of Things (IoT), a new Deloitte report, Five vectors of progress in the Internet of Things, offers a great chance to check your assumptions against the IoT experts.\nDespite the fancy-pants \u201cvectors of progress\u201d language, the report\u2019s authors \u2014 David Schatsky, Jonathan Camhi, and Sourabh Bumb \u2014 basically lay out the IoT\u2019s chief technical challenges and then look at what\u2019s being done to address them. Some of the five are relatively well-known, but others may surprise you.\n5 IoT challenges\nLet\u2019s take a look at all five \u201cvectors of progress,\u201d recast as the challenges they really are, and then get some insight from Schatsky, a Deloitte managing director and resident \u201ctrend sensor,\u201d on IoT\u2019s biggest opportunities.\n1. Security holes\nEveryone knows security is a key IoT issue, but according to the Deloitte report, new IoT devices with more computing power and embedded security features are helping to improve the IoT security situation. The new hardware leverages low-power microchips to better run traditional cybersecurity applications and protocols. IoT network security has also been a problem, but wider availability of IoT-specific cybersecurity solutions promises to help spot anomalies and potentially compromised devices.\n\n2. Platform problems\nLack of standards and platforms has made developing and deploying complete IoT solutions more difficult than it should have been, but many vendors are now introducing IoT platforms designed to make it easier to integrate IoT hardware, networks, and applications. Building multivendor solutions has long been the hardest part of crafting complete IoT implementations, but new vendor partnerships are now leading to integrated ecosystems that include dozens of major vendors offering pre-integrated third-party technologies. Another way vendors are tackling the integration issue is with \u201cvertical\u201d integrations that combine sensors, devices, analytics, and other components to create turnkey IoT solutions.\n\n3. Expensive, power-hungry networks\nIoT devices need networks to communicate with each other, but traditional WANs are relatively expensive and power-hungry. In response, hundreds of low-cost, low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) are providing far cheaper connectivity and allowing even small battery-powered devices to last for years.\n\n4. Hard-to-analyze data\nIoT devices can generate a lot of data. Too often, though, much of that data goes unanalyzed and unused. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and computer vision \u201care increasingly being used to analyze IoT-generated data and automate operational decision-making,\u201d the report says. This promises to boost many IoT applications \u2014 including process optimization, predictive maintenance, dynamic routing and scheduling, and security \u2014 by revealing hidden patterns and enabling predictive maintenance.\n\n5. Latency\nAnalyzing IoT data in the cloud can introduce latency, making it difficult to generate useful real-time alerts and degrading performance in industrial, enterprise, and smart city settings. In response, the report says, \u201cAnalysis of data generated from IoT devices is increasingly occurring not in the cloud but at the network \u2018edge,\u2019 physically close to where the data is generated \u2014 on local servers, micro data centers, or even on the device generating the data.\u201d Analyzing data at the edge can also help trim data transmission and storage costs.\nWhat\u2019s the biggest IoT opportunity?\nIf Deloitte is right that progress is being made in addressing those five challenges, how will that affect the growth of the IoT?\nSchatsky predicts that the enterprise\/industrial segment of the IoT market would grow the fastest, capturing \u201cslightly more than half of global IoT spending by 2020.\u201d He added that digital supply network (DSN) applications are likely to be one of the biggest beneficiaries, especially asset tracking, dynamic routing and scheduling, asset and process optimization, and \u201ccondition-based monitoring\/predictive maintenance of capital assets,\u201d identifying problems before they occur.\nTo take advantage of these trends, though, Schatsky warns that \u201corganizations should be focusing on IoT initiatives that create real business value \u2015 not just connecting stuff for the sake of connecting stuff.\u201d Unfortunately, he adds, \u201cmany IoT initiatives end up being \u2018shiny\u2019 solutions in search of a problem, concepts that have popular appeal but don\u2019t deliver real-world value.\u201d\nHmm, sounds like an internet-connected toothbrush to me!