2019 Executive Insights on IoT
Learn more about the current state of IoT in 2019.
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To understand the current and future state of IoT, we spoke to more than a dozen IT executives active in the space. Here's who we spoke to:
- Mike Donovan, V.P. of Product, Aquicore
- Adam Fingerman, CEO, ArcTouch
- Dave Schuman, Mobility Leader, Cloudera
- OJ Ngo, CTO and Co-founder, DH2i
- Suzy Visvanathan, Director of Product Management, MapR
- Uri Sarid, CTO, MuleSoft
- David McCall, President, and Clarke Stevens, Chair, DataModel Tools Task Group, and Vice Chair, Data Modeling WorkGroup, Open Connectivity Foundation
- Zach Supalla, Founder and CEO, Particle
- Stephen Blum, CTO, PubNub
- David Bericat, Global Technical Lead, Industrial IoT and Edge Computing, Red Hat
- Vaughn Shinall, Head of Product Outreach, Temboo
- Ray Wu, CEO, Wynd
1. Security, scalability, and integration are the keys to a successful IoT strategy. IoT devices must be secure since security vulnerabilities can have a real-life impact on users and the people around them. You need to ensure you are protecting the deployment and the data flowing through it. There are many security strategies. The most important are end-to-end encryption, access management, secure firmware provisioning, and open-port management.
Determine the platform size needed and its ability to scale for a number of years based on ever-growing data ingestion and processing requirements. You must be reliable at scale, not just in the lab. Your infrastructure should be able to scale globally so as users are added further from your points of presence, performance doesn't falter.
Deploy IoT assets as modular pieces that are introduced incrementally, visibly, and intentionally. Get all of the parties together to avoid functional isolation. Focus on interoperability throughout the IoT pipeline.
Fundamentally, it's really hard to build a well-functioning IoTproduct. There are about 1,000 things you need to get right — security, connectivity, hardware, app layer, manufacturing, testing — and the smallest mistakes can make a huge difference.
Companies need to invest enough resources and set reasonable deadlines so that their IoT teams have the time and resources they need to build a fully-baked solution correctly from the start.
2. Secure IoT devices by using best practices including access and authentication, as well as encryption. Start thinking about security from the very beginning. Use industry standard best practices and protocols. Take a holistic approach to think about security. Provide a well-thought-out, open implementation, with specifications to develop secure solutions. Ensure devices are produced by the people who claim to produce them. Ensure privacy, integrity, and provenance of the device.
IoT security is a multifaceted issue which includes 1) device security, 2) transport security, 3) data security, 4) credential security, and 5) system intrusion security. Have end-to-end encryption — industry-standard TLS, as well as enterprise-grade AES. Messages in-transit should stay encrypted the entire journey, never being unpacked in the middle of transit.
3. Organizations can get more out of IoT by having specific use cases in mind, realizing how valuable their data is, and the potential for getting value from it. Think big, start small, and prove the use case with a minimum viable product. Learning will be significant and you will learn as you evolve — observe, orient, decide, act, and iterate. Figure out the problem you are trying to solve. Address a real business and generate real value so you have something to sell, make money, and scale. Do this by connecting the data you have to the problems people are trying to solve.
Realize the value of your data and how data potentially impact the people in your organization and your industry, as well as your customers. Generate recurring value to generate recurring revenue.
4. The biggest change in IoT in the past year has been the explosion of voice interface platforms like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit. These platforms provide a way for multiple devices to connect and talk. It takes a while to get standards in place to enable devices to work together and voice interface platforms are helping people to see the importance of standards and interoperability guidelines. You need standards if you are developing proprietary software, devices, and applications so they are interoperable.
5. There is tremendous diversity in the use cases for IoT, including home automation and indoor environment, agriculture, environmental, logistics, manufacturing, oil and gas, heavy equipment, energy, utility, smart city, and autonomous vehicles.
6. Reasons for failure are all over the board, with mentions of not focusing on security, choosing the wrong protocols, not focusing on battery and bandwidth consumption, getting locked into a single-vendor environment, insufficient user testing, lacking fundamentals, fear of failure, lack of collaboration between technology and business, use of default passwords, lack of a defined use case, and trying to "boil the ocean."
7. The biggest opportunities in the evolution of IT are cognitive services that will play increasingly important roles people build intelligence, via ML, into their IoT apps. ML models will evolve to use data more productively. There will be access to different kinds of data that people have not had access to in the past. There are a lot of low-hanging opportunities to reduce waste and improve efficiency, as well as the quality of life.
8. Security continues to be the biggest concern regarding IoT today.
Security needs to be a consideration for the end product, as well as the technology used to power it. Every part of the application needs to have security built in, with the backend infrastructure and device itself being of equal importance. It's easy to go fast and not think about security, but you're going to see attacks and those hurt trust. Upkeep of security is important as well. You need to ensure devices and applications remain secure as hackers become more sophisticated. Ultimately, it is up to the product creator and owner of the data to take the right steps (including using proper tools) to protect users.
9. Developers don't need embedded device experience anymore as new frameworks have allowed web and mobile developers to use familiar, native languages to build IoT apps. However, there is still plenty to learn about Kubernetes, GPUs, the Nvidia code library, UX design, Node, and Docker. Developers also need to stay abreast of new tools and be able to secure data on the wire and at rest. Ultimately, understanding the business problem you are trying to solve and being able to collaborate and communicate with others is critical.
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