Dave Friedman
May 30 · 4 min read

Is IoT Causing You Anxiety?

The Internet of Things (IoT) movement has come of age, now generally recognized as a strategic necessity for companies looking to transform their business operations to realize efficiency gains and revenue growth.

In fact, according to research from Statista as quoted in Forbes, 90% of senior executives in technology, media, and telecommunications industries — and more than 80% of senior executives across all industries — report that as of 2018, IoT was critical to some or all of their lines of business. This is a remarkable level of adoption, underscoring the disruptive force of the internet as it extends into things and spaces.

Still, despite its massive potential, IoT is not without challenges. Like other complex technology paradigms, IoT involves a tangled web of standards, protocols, clouds, chips, devices, and applications. To many decision-makers — including technical ones such as CIOs and line-of-business ones such as general managers or product engineering heads — adopting IoT can be a source of anxiety due to issues that include interoperability, change management, tech expertise, cost of ownership, and security, among others.

A recent blog post on the Enterprise Management 360 website explored barriers to enterprise adoption of IoT, even while reporting that 86% of companies plan to increase their IoT spending in 2019. Adoption barriers they cited included cost, timing, limited internal expertise, integration across teams, and quality of data (source: Cisco survey); IoT projects taking twice as long as initially planned (source: Gartner); security issues (source: Digicert study); and fears that the “exponential complexity of IoT could damage a company’s performance” (source: Dynatrace report).

A survey by the Futuriom research and analysis community found that the top challenges that companies face when attempting to scale IoT operations include dealing with legacy devices and software; the need for highly specialized and custom solutions; managing which departments will be responsible for IoT-related sensors, gateways, networking equipment, analytics, hardware and software, etc.; overall project management; and fundamental IoT connectivity and security challenges.

We believe that all these challenges can be addressed by using the right IoT platform — one designed from the ground up to deal with these thorny issues. Here’s what an ideal platform looks like:

· Future proofed against technology changes so that a decision-maker need not be concerned whether Zigbee will prevail in the long term or whether NB-IoT or CAT-M1 will be the favored standard in cellular IoT. The platform should be architecturally able to support any future standard or protocol that emerges, without major customization.

· Designed for interoperability so that it seamlessly supports a device from vendor A connecting to an asset from vendor B. This requirement is common already in the connected home space, where service providers might need to integrate a smart lock with a smart light and a smart thermostat with voice controls to enable particular use cases.

· Highly portable/flexible to deliver the promise of interconnecting any device to any application on any cloud. On the device side, the ability to support any chip/module combination for secure connectivity is critical, as is the ability to run on any major public cloud or hybrid cloud infrastructure without creating lock-in.

· Lowest in cost of ownership because it requires the least amount of custom coding to support edge management, device twinning, and data orchestration for analysis. Using pre-built, pre-integrated components, an ideal IoT platform will rely on configuration and automation, rather than customization, to extend and scale.

· A low-risk factor in IoT project success, an aspect that typically relates to duration of implementation or time to value. The ability to rapidly deploy, implement, launch, and unlock data value dramatically faster than the alternatives minimizes the project risk.

· Accompanied by domain excellence embodied in a team boasting hundreds of person-years of proven expertise in consulting, analyzing, implementing, and advising on all aspects of IoT across industries, use cases, and geographies. It takes people, process, and technology to succeed in any enterprise endeavor, and this is no different for IoT.

Choosing an IoT platform that has the above-mentioned attributes can mean the difference between anxiety and confidence. Many manufacturing and services organizations that made the choice to go with the right platform are thriving in their IoT transformation efforts and are realizing a variety of benefits including truck-roll reduction, improved asset utilization, operating expense reduction, new business models, and enhanced revenue streams.

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Dave Friedman

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Chairman and founder, Ayla Networks