Anticipate and embrace the changes the Internet of things will bring or it will do more harm than good.
The concept of the Internet of things (IoT) dates back to the early '80s when the first appliance, a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University, was connected to the Internet to check its inventory to determine how many drinks were available. But IoT wouldn't become practical until IPv6's huge increase in IP address space allowed us to assign an IP address to every "thing."
While much opportunity and innovation will result from IoT, there's a dark side that should be addressed early on in the adoption cycle.
The dark side: privacy and security The increase in the number of smart nodes brought on by IoT, as well as the amount of data the nodes will generate, will only increase concerns around data privacy, data sovereignty, and data security. Additional challenges will include understanding how devices will effectively and securely transmit and store these huge amounts of data. New messaging protocols like MQTT (messaging queuing telemetry transport) will become available to transmit the data securely.
If it's online, it's vulnerable. With IoT, we're entering an age where hackers can not only break into government agencies and corporations and routinely perform identify theft, but also target connected houses and cars. It's one thing when your PC or phone acts up, but what do you do when you can't turn on your lights, open your door, or turn on the heat?
Security for IoT has been a concern since the arrival of RFID technology so addressing security early on in the implementation stage will be key to safe and practical IoT adoption. When the US State Department first distributed US passports with RFID tags, passport data could be read from 30 feet away using equipment available on eBay for $250. This required changes to secure the RIFD tags. But security and data privacy risks associated with IoT will still remain. If everything is connected to the Internet, in theory anyone can see what's going on anytime they want? What if your connected car is detected at the golf course on a day you called in sick to work?
While some may argue that smartphones have already taken us there, at least you can turn your phone off. Contextual data, like location tracking, can fundamentally undermine privacy if not managed correctly. To do that requires a combination of policy and technology.
Really, really big data If you thought you had big data prior to IoT, you ain't seen nothing yet. The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity, and structure of IoT data, will create challenges in storing, processing and analyzing the data. For enterprises to get the bountiful insights into customer activity that IoT promises, all the data needs to be stored and analyzed somewhere.
Companies should consider using one of the database as a service (DBaaS) offerings to facilitate data ingestion and management. The quicker enterprises can start analyzing their data the more business value they can derive.
Technology is great if you know how to use it Does anyone worry that a world where everything has a sensor connected to the Internet may be a world that's too complex for its own good? If we couldn't figure out how to operate our VCR or wireless router, how can we figure out how to debug error messages when our cars, refrigerators, and sneakers are wired to the Internet? Is it possible we are on the path to create a world where many of the things we have won't work and a majority of the population won't know how to fix them?
The reality is that the pace of innovation will continue to accelerate, bringing both complexities but also offering efficiencies and benefits that previous
Frank Palermo is the head of the Global Technical Solutions Group for IT consulting and services company Virtusa. The group is responsible for creating an overall go-to-market strategy for clients in technology areas such as business process management (BPM), enterprise ... View Full Bio
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 7, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program!