Kevin Bohan, Product Marketing Manager, TIBCO Integration Technologies shared the following thoughts and suggestions regarding IoT in 2017.
Regardless of where its various sub-categories are currently riding on the hype-cycle, 2016 has definitely been a year where the realities of the IoT era began demanding serious attention from organizations across many industries. While security issues and their implications garnered the lion’s share of IoT headlines this Fall, there is no putting this genie back in the bottle. A recent market forecast aptly noted that growing global internet penetration across the world, demand for interconnectivity for all manner of objects, declining sensor costs and advancing sensor technologies, the evolution of high-speed networking capabilities, and impressive cost-benefit analyses are all driving IoT ubiquity.
As that forecast and many others have concluded, the only notable factors restraining IoT at present are the shortage of skilled and trained developers for its nascent technologies, the lack of universally accepted standards, and those sticky security concerns.
IoT is here and it is transforming how life — and business — is conducted. When anything that can be fitted with a sensor or a means of communicating with another “thing” can become a source of data and/or computation, the “rules” of traditional information technology no longer apply. The possibilities are endless, as are the complications.
Thus, 2017 may be the year when IoT dreams run up against IoT complexity to overwhelm the operational goals of many organizations. Combine the pressure to realize its unassailable potential for streamlining, automating, and slashing systems costs with the explosion of service models and devices, profusion of IoT platforms to choose from, lack of standards, and challenges in both finding and retaining skilled IoT developers and what you get looks like the ultimate CIO nightmare. On the other hand, the companies that can tackle these challenges will be able to offer competitive advantage in 2017.
At this very moment, we are marking the dawn of a new interconnected era as well as a new year. And while there is plenty of cheerleading about the wonders IoT can bring to business, as well as plenty of admonishment about the catastrophes it can unleash, there seems to be little practical advice about how to go about actually implementing a sound IoT strategy. So, for those enterprises engaging the IoT challenge in 2017, I offer the following recommendations.
Appoint a team lead with a broad understanding of the business, industry, integration of devices, data streams, and processes across a wide variety of distributed devices/system. IoT encompasses nebulous and still evolving technologies and use cases; effective implementation requires a multifaceted approach.
Experimentation is critical. Adopt rapid prototyping using edge devices and an extensible IoT platform to build knowledge and quickly uncover potential system issues. Feed information learned back into the planning phases before widespread implementation.
IoT security threats have to be considered early in the prototypes and throughout the entire lifecycle. Security precautions should be baked in to every phase of development and deployment. Every IoT discussion and every IoT plan should include security.
Do not underestimate the importance of integration in your projects. A successful IoT project requires the integration of devices; data streams and processes and insights harvested from your IoT projects will only be as successful as the reliability of the information gathered from the devices. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” is especially true in an IoT world.
Identify tools that are intuitive and easy to use, allowing a wider variety of users to get involved in the experimenting and prototyping process. If you leave this to your career developers alone, you may miss out on insights from the business users who approach the technology with a different perspective and who often offer truly differentiated applications.
Don’t get too narrow; let the prototyping identify use cases that will allow you to create true value for the business. When moving beyond the prototyping phase, avoid the trap of picking cool technical use cases, where business value is not understood (improved customer experience or improved business process are a couple of the most-prevalent values identified at present).
Finally, be not afraid! This is an exciting time for information technology and IoT is opening a new world of capabilities. Embrace it.