IoT threatens to be a familiar story for IT leaders. Yes, it’s disruptive. IoT can unlock both opportunity and value. And no, it’s not an easy model to transition to. This may be why to date relatively few best IoT practices have emerged and while IoT is far from sound and fury signifiying nothing, the something that it does signify remains unclear. Faced with this reality, technology leaders need to identify the compelling business value IoT Use Cases will deliver. And for now, they’d do well to focus on those that deliver quickly ideally with results quantifiable within the first year.
A second familiar refrain relevant to IoT is that it offers two different benefit categories. The first is the enablement of efficiency gains and cost savings through greater understanding and control of assets and operations. The second is enhanced and easier business model transformation by shifting value propositions to customers and creating new ways to monetize value.
With the above landscape in mind, a third element of IoT mix is to realise the model itself is nascent, possibly more so than you think given the column inches devoted to it over the past twenty four months. With disruptive technologies now so prevalent, the reality remains that the IoT business model itself is still rapidly changing and when it comes to best practices, things are in a state of flux. Consder the likely impact on IoT of disruptions like:
- Cloud services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS)
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
- IoT-specific data applications for the mission-critical aggregation and analysis of data, using the right tools for the right IoT applications
The challenges these and others present will be considered in detail over the coming weeks in an expanded series of blogs on this subject but for now it’s clear to see just how much of a work in progress IoT really is.
Presently, the best approach is to see IoT as a set of enabling technologies related to the delivery and execution of essential services and products. It’s immediately apparent that some areas can be confidently addressed while other challenges continue to evolve. The short-terms focuses for the CIO, we recommend, relate to security. IoT is frequently deployed in unsecured places where full physical access to devices by anyone is easly achieved. As a result, security is a central rather than peripheral challenge that is fundamental to IoT planning. This means adopting new planning and management methodologies that enable shorter implementations and faster time to value. Helping you making the right decisions in this area is central to the value that DigitalRoute delivers.
Secondly, the issue of how to best integrate operational technology (OT) and traditional IT into new IoT architectures. This challenge isn’t wholly new, but the advent of IoT accelerates the need to address it. This is especially true for organizations in industrial vertical markets grappling with how to handle legacy systems built around supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and machine-to-machine (M2M).
As noted, over the coming weeks we’ll be digging into these and other IoT-related issues in more detail.
Keith Brody is head of communications and product marketing at DigitalRoute