SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Article

Dump IoT to get IoT Right

IoT will be one of only a handful of genuinely transformative classes of technology, but only if enterprise leaders get it right

The idea that the Internet of Things (IoT) is somehow a single, simple technology is an idea that many business and even IT executives seem to believe.

In fact, the idea of connecting a ‘thing’ to the ‘Internet’ is so broad, it makes the situation even worse, with organizations applying the term to everything from RFID tags, to drones, to beehive scales — and to every bit of infrastructure that sits beneath each of them.

https://intellyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/dumptruck-800-768x498.jpg 768w, https://intellyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/dumptruck-800-225x146.jpg 225w, https://intellyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/dumptruck-800-50x32.jpg 50w, https://intellyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/dumptruck-800-600x389.jpg 600w, https://intellyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/dumptruck-800.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px; padding: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; float: right; max-width: 100%; height: auto;" />Each of these use cases may represent an innovation and a valid use of the term, but it also creates a confused mess once you get one step removed from the high-gloss marketing moniker.

While the term seems to imply this single, simple technology, the best way to describe the current state of the IoT sector is “roll your own.”

As I’ll describe in a forthcoming article on CIO.com, putting together a meaningful IoT strategy requires the assembly of a vast number of pieces that span the entire technology stack including hardware, networks, middleware, and applications.

There is nothing simple about IoT.

Why “IoT” Got it Wrong

Even putting aside the complexity of this seemingly simple term, however, there is a deeper problem with it.

Many enterprise executives have reduced the term to a literal interpretation of merely taking a device and connecting it to the Internet. But the core concept of IoT was never simply connecting devices.

From the beginning, it was neither about the Internet or about ‘things,’ it was about data and how we could use that data to transform the way things work.

The problem is that the frothing at the mouth of the market has put all of the emphasis on the connection, with the primary question being “what ‘thing’ can I instrument next?”

The real question, however, should be, “What data can help me transform my customer’s experience, the way my employees work, or my foundational business and operating models?”

In many cases, the answer to that question will lead to capturing data from a device. But what’s important is that the context must be on the data and the transformation — not on the connecting of a thing to the Internet.

Extending the Boundaries of Technology

Collecting new data and using it to reimagine the customer experience and thus entire business models is an essential first step.

But what if you do even more with the intelligent devices collecting all of this data?

This is the other half of the IoT story — and the half that most people forget. As organizations deploy smart devices at the various points of interaction with customers, employees, and partners, new transformational opportunities will emerge.

Once you change the perspective from one of connecting devices to one in which you are building transformative capabilities, this vast array of IoT devices becomes a new canvas on top of which an organization can paint an entirely new picture of how it operates.

This will, of course, include some of the oft-shared use cases such as preemptively repairing machines, routing support personnel between activities based on IoT data, and automatically adjusting production schedules.

While those are perfectly good use cases, they mostly amount to nothing more than automating tweaks to current business processes. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but those use cases do not represent IoT’s real transformative power.

Instead, it will be when enterprise leaders begin leveraging these intelligent devices and the data they generate to transform foundational business models and operating processes — doing more than just capturing that data, but using it in context, and acting upon it.

Looked at through that prism, you can begin to imagine much more transformative uses cases for IoT. This fresh perspective becomes particularly compelling when organizations (or even consortia) combine multiple IoT form factors.

As just one example, healthcare organizations may be able to transform the administration of prescription medicine by combining microscopic sensors in pills to monitor dosage and usage, with a combination of location and other sensors to track patient routines that may affect if and when patients take their medicine. They may then use that data in conjunction with remote diagnostic data to automatically tune and adjust prescription timetables and even dosage over time.

The Intellyx Take

One of the reasons I am so optimistic about IoT’s transformative potential is because of the nearly endless ways in which organizations may eventually be able to apply this class of technology to change long-standing operating models and business processes.

It has the potential to transform everything from how consumers purchase items, to driving exponential efficiency deep within enterprise business processes — and everything in between.

The most significant barrier to unleashing this transformative power, however, will not be technological — the most significant barrier will be the inability for the enterprise to reimagine the way things work.

While the current-state roll-your-own nature of the technology presents a long list of technical challenges to any enterprise ready to go down the IoT road, the greatest challenges organizations will face will be to overcome their own cultural inertia.

Ironically, the most insidious risk to IoT may be its own short-term success. Slapping RFID tags on everything you produce, improving employee efficiency, and preemptively repairing equipment, will likely deliver a substantial return on investment – not to mention bragging rights at the next executive retreat.

But if that is all an organization does with its IoT efforts, if it fails to see IoT’s potential to transform nearly every facet of how the enterprise works, it will have missed one of the greatest opportunities of our modern era.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Bureau of Land Management Alaska.

More Stories By Charles Araujo

Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He is a regular contributor to CIO.com and has been quoted or published in Time, InformationWeek, CIO Insight, NetworkWorld Computerworld, USA Today, and Forbes.

Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...