by Subramanian Iyer, August 2014
Apart from the consumer industry, manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare are the industries that are expected to be most impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT). Organizations in these industries will need to reexamine their entire business models, realign their partner strategies, and rework their processes to continue being competitive in the new, IoT-enabled world.
The benefits of IoT include improvements in operating efficiencies, product safety, location tracking, and time to market as well as potential cost reductions in resource usage. In order to leverage the benefits of IoT, organizations need to understand which areas the deployment of IoT is impacting and how they will be impacted, and prepare accordingly.
The emergence of IoT requires people to adapt to changing data visualization. Connected devices will provide relevant users an unparalleled view of detailed data. Businesses will be able to predict requirements through the supply chain, and access to equipment efficiency data will mean lesser breakdowns and predictable outputs.
Action item: Upskill people so they can view, track, and analyze issues across multiple channels including their desktops, mobiles, tablets, and consoles.
In order to leverage the benefits of IoT, organizations need to understand which areas the deployment of IoT is impacting and how they will be impacted, and prepare accordingly.
IoT will enable process optimizations like never before. As information flow becomes faster, decisions will be made more quickly, increasing the overall market responsiveness to situations. Environmental conditions will decide production lines in factories and queues for specialized machines in hospitals, streamlining processes to a significant extent.
Action item: Ensure processes and methodologies are constantly upgraded to enable faster decision-making as data and analyses come in faster than ever before.
Availability of analytical information and data visualization on mobile devices means that enterprise-level optimization activities will be possible from remote locations, allowing for entire supply chains to be made visible point-in-time. Cloud-based solutions will allow for data to be converted into usable information instantaneously, accelerating the agility of organizations.
Action Item: Ensure the enterprise is equipped with modern technology that can send the right information to the right people, wherever they are.
The amount of information generated through sensors, cameras, actuators, and other equipment on the factory floor will far surpass all the data that is currently being sourced, stored, and analyzed. The devices themselves will need to be on converged, IP-based, secure networks, feeding data to each other as well as to a central repository for real-time and batch analytics.
Action item: Ensure that the deployment platform is built on open standards as the number and types of devices connecting to a company’s systems increase exponentially.
IoT heralds a major change in the manner that information flows. This necessitates a significant change in IT architecture. Business innovation platforms that allow for seamless and secure data flows across multiple components will gain prominence even as devices continue becoming intelligent. Networks will need to become more robust and open standards for device connectivity will be a must, even as networking becomes more cost-effective through efficiency in energy consumption and pervasiveness of low-cost wireless points.
Action item: Deployment architectures must cater to significantly scalable deployments of platforms at a much higher degree of cost effectiveness. Investment in network bandwidth will need to increase as will interoperability between devices and networks. Service oriented architecture-based platforms will become the norm as organizations allow for an ever-expanding portfolio of devices connecting into their systems.
In a world in which everything from corporate servers to baby monitors is hacked, security for interconnected devices is paramount. There will need to be a significant overhaul of security policies across devices that connect on a common IP network. The security itself will need to be immutable, establishing a trusted baseline while the device connects and transmits data through its lifecycle. Devices will have these security protocols built in as they are manufactured and shipped—enabling a “software on silicon” approach across the board.
Subramanian Iyer is senior director, Industry and Customer Strategy at Oracle.
Action item: Ensure that security policies are comprehensive and flexible to accommodate the new types and numbers of devices that will transmit and receive information. Implement regular external audits of the IT environment even as you progress toward a converged security environment.
The evolution of IoT will have significant impact on big data and analytics. As the amount of data stored increases, there will also be an increasing requirement for streaming data analytics. Vertical industry application for analytics will require not just data analysts, but experts with significant domain expertise. There will be an increased reliance on the cloud as subscription models such as Data as a Service become increasingly important.
Action item: Review and update the organizational chart to accommodate data scientists and analysts who can map data models with business requirements. Ensure that highly integrated or engineered environments of compute and storage are in place to provide the right architecture for consumption and analysis of data.
IT departments will need to provide and support a robust foundation upon which IoT will be based. Sensors, data storage, big data analytics, and converged networks will play a very important role as organizations re-architect to prepare for IoT. Security policies will be one of the most important areas that will need to be overhauled, as the current set of IT policies primarily cover data center and LAN/ WAN equipment only. As the world of IoT becomes a reality, it is becoming evident that even as IoT promises significant benefits for companies, it will involve major changes in the way they operate and do business.