From IDC to Gartner, there is a lot of talk right now about the Internet of Things (IoT) but we wanted to know what this really means for Enterprise IT organizations. So we decided to ask Scott Hilton, Dyn EVP of Product, six questions on the topic.
1. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most popular buzz phrases in tech right now. But how can a CIO actually make it part of their IT strategy?
Each industry and vertical has its own way of leveraging IoT with its own value, integration, and complexity. CIOs must evaluate the trends within their industries and adjacencies to determine the role IoT will play in the near and mid-term. No matter what the use case is for IoT within an organization, the CIO must anticipate some critical infrastructure challenges it will create. These will include:
- A massive increase in data flowing from the IoT network
- Increased network complexity due to an exponentially larger endpoint installed base
- A more mission-critical/business-critical role of the network core and network infrastructure
- Unique security and privacy issues with 1000s to millions of new entry points into the company network.
For perspective, 30 billion IoT devices will be connected to public and private networks in the next six years, according to IDC. This trend will drive increased spending in technologies such as intelligent systems, analytic tools, network connectivity and vertical-specific application growth.
2. What components will actually make up an IoT implementation within an enterprise and how expensive would it be?
Again the actual implementation of IoT varies widely by industry and application. Over time these variations will start to be standardized and consolidated but at this time each solution is specialized. In general, IoT requires investment in:
- New devices or retro fit of devices to support always on connectivity (Mobile LTE/3G, WiFi, ZigBEE…)
- New network discovery, asset management, security, and connectivity
- Network infrastructure to support millions of more connections and traffic
- Data-as-a-Service investment to store, aggregate & cleanse high volume business critical data at a scale not seen by some industries before
- Data analysis and computational infrastructure to provide real-time and near-real time analysis, analytics, machine learning and integration with operational systems.
In many cases, CIOs should look to Cloud and XaaS solutions to accelerate and de-risk elements of their IoT infrastructure.
3. A recent Gartner survey revealed many CIOs do not feel prepared for these changes nor are they confident that they have the staff to handle them. How much of a concern is this and how can it be overcome?
This is a real concern – the business drivers for embracing IoT will be overwhelming and most IT staffs are not in a position to take this on. This is why it is critical to plan early and look to the emerging Cloud and XaaS solutions to take some of the expertise and operational burdens of creating an IoT infrastructure. Internal IT teams should focus on the business requirements, leverage points for this data within the business and the integration into internal systems and where possible outsource the device, network and Data-as-a-Service elements.
4. The Internet of Things will have a major impact on some verticals while barely impacting others. How do you see this vertical break down?
IoT has broad application over many industries. Some will embrace and implement faster than others. Broadly, industries that have highly distributed infrastructure to support their business will be the first to get value – Logistics, Supply Chain, Utilities, Healthcare, Retail. While consumer products are getting all of the press right now – (Fit-bit, NEST…) the truly transformative nature of IoT is in “digitizing” all industries by providing real-time data and analytics to lower costs, increase efficient use of infrastructure and deliver personalized on-demand services.
According to IDC, Consumer Products will be the largest vertical in terms of IoT spend by 2020. The other vertical comprising IoT spend include: Manufacturing (24%), Public Sector (23%), Services (15%) and Infrastructure (9%), and Financial Services (3%).
5. Are some companies speeding into IoT deployment without proper consideration of security?
Security will be a major concern as we create all of the additional sources for compromise, privacy leakage and entry points into business-critical systems. In addition, if IoT enables remote control of devices this becomes even more critical (think of a remote health-care monitor or building control system). According to IDC, security and/or privacy concerns ranked as the number one hindrance to IoT deployments among IT decision-makers worldwide. However a range of other perceived challenges are also out there. Other IoT challenges cited include: costs (both capex and opex); the ability to measure ROI; fear of complexity; and lack of a holistic solution for IoT.
6. What does 2014 hold for the Internet of Things?
Continued maturity of some of the core technologies and protocols. Industry specific solutions will start to emerge that provide Cloud based support for IoT. The consumer hype will continue to hold the headlines but industry case studies will start to emerge that show the real value to enterprises.
We should not forget that IoT represents the maturation, scaling and standardization of trends that have been happening for decades. Think RFID, Smart-meters, Logistics tracking systems, Security and Surveillance… With the advent of common standards, new devices and Cloud Services the IoT revolution is starting to be achievable across many industries and size of companies.