How intelligent and useful IoT enterprise products really are?
As Internet of Things (IoT) continues its run as one of the most popular technology buzzwords of the year (alongside with VR and MR), the discussion has turned from what it is to more crucial one: how to drive value from it and how to make it work at the enterprise scale.
By leveraging the Internet of Things, enterprises are presented with a wide range of opportunities that can result in significant benefits and as Gartner estimates, by 2020 the world will see 25 billion Internet-connected things. As a result, IoT will produce close to $2 trillion of economic benefit globally.
IoT solutions for home or individuals often present immense benefits at completely sufficient security and complexity level, but situation changes at the enterprise scale.
What is Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is the concept of a world in which most living and non-living objects will have tracking sensors and monitors that transmit data through wireless. According to this idea, eventually anything that you can dream of being connected to the Internet will be, with an end goal of performing more automated, efficient tasks. Although many IoT startups claim their products to be AI-powered and revolutionary, IoT technologies and business models that utilise IoT are still pretty much immature.
Despite this immaturity, there are already successful examples of existing and planned uses across a wide range of industries. However, risk-averse, change loathing enterprises need to get smarter with planning and preparations for IoT implementation, or risk being left behind by their faster-moving competitors.
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The way that the IoT is leveraged by enterprises varies substantially from industry to industry. It is essential for enterprises to understand how the IoT can enable transformation of their business and industry through automation and cost optimisation. A Gartner survey done earlier this year of business and IT executives noted manufacturing and retail are two sectors with particularly high expectations of the IoT, but low knowledge about its complexity. Leveraging IoT in vertical industries will definitely revolutionise the traditional way of things are done in Information Age.
Utilities, industrial sectors, connected transportation, healthcare (IoT & MedTech), banking (IoT for FinTech and Blockchain) and consumers are other verticals at the forefront of IoT investment. However, the biggest challenge remains in collecting, analysing and restricting data to manageable levels. Manufacturers building sensors for their products will have to program them to limit what those sensors send, just to make things manageable.
Sensors in cars, for example, are constantly culling information. But they should only alter the manufacturer with that data if it shows an anomaly or has gathered enough information to identify a trend.
Security and Identity Issues Being Major IoT Roadblocks
At Amuse, we consult various clients on the best IoT emerging solutions and help them to source, test and implement such solutions at the enterprise architecture level.
What we noticed e.g, companies like the idea of tracking devices but current Bluetooth technology drawbacks, such as devices interfering with each other in the small distance/areas, cross out implementing them on a large, complex scale. Currently, lots of hope is put in delivering Bluetooth 5 technology.
Managing identities and access is critical to the success of the IoT.
However, traditional techniques cannot provide the scale or manage the complexity that the IoT requires from the enterprise. At the heart of security solutions is the concept of identity and data protection. Identities are then used to define relationships between a thing and a human, a thing and another thing, a thing and an application/service, and so on. There is a huge issue here around data security and who owns the data.
During my recent call with a IT head of a leading UK retail company (accessories for women), the main concern of my caller was identity data protection and implications related to IoT solutions based on face recognition and other sensitive data.
The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), designed to protect consumer privacy and data usage, is due to come into force in 2018. UK referendum’s results bring additional uncertainty over the UK’s implementation of this regulation, which only proves that companies should press ahead with preparation for change and implementation suitable solutions.
New technologies emerged allowing to provide nearly same value data as controversial face recognition / tracking devices, however, aggregating such data in a non-obtrusive, safer way.
Lessons to be learned
Business and technology leaders must reconsider how traditional approaches to cybersecurity, identity data and access management work in an environment involving vast numbers of connected devices, also those personal ones often carrying less secure architecture. When devices and services are so abundant, in so many different forms, and beyond the scope of any single organisation, careful analysis and testing of emerging solutions need to be conveyed. While security may be a roadblock, the lack of a full landscape of available solutions is a major impediment resulting in enterprise reluctance towards IoT. The business justifications for such fear almost certainly exist, but they can be overcome with carefully articulated and planned out transformation strategy.