Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
5/27/2014
11:36 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
Commentary
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Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture

The IoT vision still doesn't have a clear architecture from which to build meaningful business applications, an MIT professor says.

8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

A variety of factors are holding companies back from embracing the Internet of Things. Though Gartner predicts there will be 26 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2020, concerns about data ownership, questionable data quality, inadequate network coverage, and integration with business applications are among the IoT roadblocks.

The biggest IoT challenge, according to Professor Sanjay Sarma of MIT, is the lack of an overarching architecture to pull together myriad streams of IoT information into a flexible and responsive ecosystem of applications.

Sarma was among the participants on an IoT panel at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium on May 21 in Cambridge, Mass. He voiced concern about what he sees as a wide array of IoT point solutions designed to accomplish very specific tasks -- irrigate crops, turn the lights on in your home -- without an architecture to connect all that data in a meaningful way.

"Without connecting the dots, you'll have a disastrous, brittle system," Sarma said. "We don't have a clear architecture of where the world will go."

[Cisco says it's "all in" on the Internet of Everything -- but what does that mean? Read Cisco IoE: When Will Its Time Come?]

Using a consumer example -- the concept of the connected home -- Sarma elaborated on the challenges. "Let's say you want to change the experience when you walk into your home. The lights will come on, music will play, temperature will be set. Maybe Google Maps informs the house that you're near, and then a series of actions have to happen to anticipate your arrival." It all seems great, but what if it's not you walking into the house, but your spouse, who dislikes bright lighting, hates your music, and wants it to be cooler? Your spouse now has to change everything, making life more difficult than before.

Another panelist, Chris Kuntz, senior director of business development with ThingWorx, related that home scenario to business. "People understand it's not just about connecting your product, connecting your smart thing, collecting that data," Kuntz said. "It's about how do you connect it with a business process to effect some sort of change."

During the IoT session, panelist Dieter Haban, CIO of Daimler Trucks North America, described how the company has placed sensors in all its trucks sold in North America for the past two years. The goal, Haban said, is to maximize uptime for the vehicles and their drivers.

The sensors send information to Daimler Trucks' call center, where a customer service team notifies the relevant trucking company about a pending maintenance problem

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Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio
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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
11/1/2014 | 2:54:34 AM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@StaceyE but this days everyone trying to create perfect bottom line... trying to save anyway possible, while overlooking everything else... sad reality... I spoke with one of my friends retail mang. - this days you have just too many returns on high end electronics due to sloppy QA.... as Co. still expect customers act as beta testers...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2014 | 4:33:17 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@ batye

That is a good rule for just about everything in life. If you don't have a contingency plan when things go wrong then you are up a creek with no paddle.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2014 | 12:28:40 AM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@StaceyE, it only right way to keep optimistic and hope for the best... while preparing for the worst...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2014 | 12:26:59 AM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
thank you, same here... but I do hope with technology standards we gonna see faster process... but time will tell...
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 2:11:38 PM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture

@batye    You are right, it seems like it takes far too long to come to agreement within the industry on standards.  I wish the process went faster, but I understand the reasons for the delays. 

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 2:08:07 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard

@StaceyE    I knew we had that in common ...me too !  : ) 

StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 2:03:44 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@ Technocrati

Haha. I find myself being cynical about situations or people quite often. I often have to remind myself to be optimistic, even if its hard to do.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 2:01:16 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
Yes, first we have to change ourselves. But as they say, one person can change the world...one good deed at a time. Meaning that, you may not be able to change the whole world...but you can change the world for someone or even for yourself.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/9/2014 | 11:28:12 PM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
@Technocrati - technology changing and it seem at very rapid rate, and sometimes standards get created after the fact... How I see it...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/9/2014 | 11:23:01 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@StaceyE, I could not agree more, but it up to us to change ourself... it like self-improvment one day at a time :) life is to short...
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