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IoT considerations for CIOs

Azmi Jafarey | May 5, 2015
Gartner has predicted that by 2020 the Internet of Things will grow to 26 billion objects.

Even without reference to IoT, SanDisk, as an example, is predicting a 14-fold increase in enterprise data to be managed by 2020. IoT multiplies this challenge.

For companies looking to make an impact In the IT world, there are clear and open frontiers to a wide array of both simple and complex sensors to detect and correct device failures for IoT, or better still prevent them. There are obvious needs for large volumes of sensor data to get to the right place securely for analysis and optimizing of objectives.

Accompanying this are concerns about privacy, security and theft, especially since many of the 'things' entering a business may be from multiple unknown consumer sources. (If you thought BYOD was tough on CIOs, wait until your employee's shirt wants to adjust the thermostat!).

At a more mundane level, as machines communicate with software, today's concerns about user experience will be replaced with concerns about efficiency and effectiveness of the back-end. New licensing models are also likely to evolve -- clusters of machine interactions differ significantly from users interacting with software. The cloud will play a big part in machine interactions, particularly for transmission, storage and analysis, since local read/transmit or read/act/transmit will be the most common states.

We have highlighted heterogeneity as pervasive, at least at the start of the Internet of Things. This does not mean that "seamless integration" will not be expected of the CIO! Personal, home and work environments will be expected to connect in rich ways without interruption. APIs and extensions from the sensor manufacturers, communications standards and protocols will all help. But the work ahead is fairly formidable.

With all of the above, how does the role of the CIO and IT change? I have a fundamental belief that I will re-state here: "If you treat IT as a commodity that is what you will get. If you treat it as the creative edge of your business, you have a weapon like no other."

Nowhere will this be truer than in how different companies approach IoT. The laggards will view IoT as an infrastructure issue: Get things talking, collect data, send it off for data warehousing and analysis. The leading IT departments will embrace IoT as a green-field for partnership with the business to explore how new business models and predictive customer knowledge can evolve.


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