Delivering value from IoT: why IT needs to constantly adapt

  • As we move ahead with IoT, device management will be more complex.
  • IoT is increasingly more about business value, not the technology.

people on phones

We’re at a point where it’s time to discuss how the value from the Internet of Things (IoT) will come from bringing it all together. In a blog post last year, I wrote about how the the Internet of Things (IoT) is not really about things but instead focused on the context the data from those things describes. I thought I’d follow it up with a post about why IoT may require a different approach than other business-driven efforts that IT supports.

The Internet of Things is a truly hybrid technology. It brings together new types of devices and sensors to provide new perspectives of the world, requiring a different kind of ecosystem to continue generating value and a long-term return on investment.

These devices have a variety of lifespans, ranging from days to decades, which adds a dimension of difficulty to their operation. Many of these devices will not just sense and share their information but also have semi-autonomous capabilities, acting on the data gathered. These capabilities will require periodic software updates to retain their value and to keep the system secure.

IoT will require new approaches to networking and security

Some devices can operate on existing networks but new low-power solutions will be required, since most devices will only communicate over short distances and require isolation from other networks.

New levels of analytics will be brought to bear on the data collected, providing greater contextual understanding and insight. Processing will take place both on historic information, as well as event streams being assessed in real time. Predictive analytics will also look for future events. This multi-level perspective (past, present, and future) enables greater understanding and automation of our environment, with a focus on taking the right actions with the least latency.

business iot ecosystem
With the integration of these various approaches, new skills will need to be developed in the organization. New architectural perspectives will be defined that take advantage of the range of information collected while managing the diverse devices installed. These architectures will need to be capable of managing and monitoring thousands or even millions of devices and will need to cooperate with other management tools, since the specific management needs will vary depending on the “thing” and where and how it is being provided.

Data science and the related skills will change too, as the knowledge of the processes and information types collected expand. Degrees and types of automation are changing. People who have experimented with IFTTT to connect favorite apps have likely thought about what can be done differently in their own life after minimal exposure using some relatively unsophisticated techniques.

Why IT will need to define a diverse approach across this new business ecosystem

Much has happened in the time since my last post (good and bad, small, and large), but many of the fundamentals of IoT remain the same. Most probably, the real opportunities with IoT for business may not be with the technologies but with our understanding and vision of what can be done.

Charlie Bess IT Consultant Sponsored Post About Charlie

Charlie Bess is an independent IT consultant. He is the author of this blog and all opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.