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5/27/2014
11:36 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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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.

on a specific vehicle. The operator can then notify the driver to visit a repair center.

The next step for Daimler Trucks is predictive, Haban said, letting trucking companies and drivers know well in advance when a problem is pending, so that they can schedule an appointment with a repair center. The center can anticipate the vehicle's arrival and expedite the repair by making sure the right parts and experts are on hand.

Getting to that point is no mean feat for any company. For starters, the IoT will add so much programmability to devices that keeping software current will become a never-ending task, according to an article in a sister publication, Dr. Dobb's.

Organizations that have not adopted modern programming practices of short sprints, continuous integration, and continuous delivery are going to find this new reality to be very painful. It will require companies to make changes agilely, test results immediately, and deploy updates quickly. With the rate of change that the new continuous development requires, this will be the only way forward.

At the MIT event, ThingWorkz's Kuntz predicted that 5 million to 10 million IoT-related applications will be built in the next five to seven years. "That's, frankly, my worry."

Haban agreed. "It's costly. You want to do the right things. You don't want to have an isolated solution. You want to think about what are the next set of dots I need to connect. Do it fast, do it cheap, make it a quick win, and be open. Don't [make] a dead-end solution."

So what's going to bring all this IoT data together and make it play nice with business systems?

Microsoft has taken some initial steps toward an IoT ecosystem with the limited public viewing last month of its Azure Intelligent Systems Service. In an April 18 analyst note, Gartner said it thinks "Azure ISS is the most integrated enterprise partner offering for heterogeneous IoT environments announced to date, but we caution that this is not a fully tested or realized product."

On May 21, BlackBerry announced Project Ion, which is built on its QNX cloud, positioning it as an IoT ecosystem.

According to Sarma, "The future lies in what I call a cloud of things. You take every [connected] object and create an avatar of it in the cloud, and the avatars talk to each other, kind of like Second Life. If I get a new phone, it gets its own avatar, and I pair it to my other avatars. I'm not saying it's the best architecture out there, but it creates a metaphor that we can manipulate. It gives us something to work on."

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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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Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/5/2014 | 4:18:47 AM
Re: Design is very important
Susan, I believe Apple is into something with the Home Kit! People do not want another diffiuclt device to learn and manage.

We are at crossroads with a new wave of connected devices being offered and no easy way to control them. My Samsung Smart TV is a nightmare to operate, so I don't have it connected to the network.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:45:55 PM
Re: It also needs to fit with processes and Enterprise Architecture
@Pieterv682: What you're basically saying is that it's not just HOW we gather all this information, but WHAT we do with it that is really going to be the driver for IoT...and in that sense it's a technology that's also in search of a business model or, if you'll forgive the old-school phrase, a "killer app." Or, in this case, a killer ecosystem of apps might be more appropos.

in regards to your comment here: The architecture needs to be extended not just to the IoT devices, but to how it fits into the enterprise and its processes

I have a few questions for you and for all the folks in the community who are partitipating in this conversation:

--what do you see as the greatest obstacle to extending IoT data into the enterpriese & enterprise processes?

--what is the business model that would make investing in IoT worthwhile?

--Who in the organization needs to have a seat at the table in planning out how to design for IoT?

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:41:05 PM
Re: Security
@Jastro: I see security & architecture going hand-in-hand, really, Without standards it will be difficult to resolve the many security concerns raised by IoT. You're right to sound the alarm on the security issues--how any of this could ever be airtight is beyond my ability to imagine. We can't even keep our information secure and safe now. The thought that my neighbor's teenager might hack my water faucet and prank me with an unexpected shower is less concerning to me than the use of IoT in SCADA design, leading to potential vulneratilbites in the power grid and water systems for entire regions or countries.

Makes me want to grab my tinfoil hat and head to the bunkers.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:37:31 PM
Re: Design is very important
@mdmconsult: There's a lot of good work being done around Bluetooth & also next-gen WiFi. You raise a good question: What does the IoT network look like? We've got Bluetooth, WiFi and Cellular m2m devices out there already--which serves our needs, or will we always require some combination of all three (or something completely new?).

And--where will all this wireless bandwitch come from to bring IoT to every home and office and car?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:33:55 PM
Re: Design is very important
@batye: what do you hope the internet of things will do to make your home life easier?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:33:11 PM
Re: Design is very important
@Pablo: Good dispatch you have there from the Barcelona Digital Global Congress. How many products or applications have we seen fall by the wayside over the years because of poor user interface. Paul Walborsky is right on the money with that one. I am not even sure I can envision what type of user interface I would want to see for, say, my "home of the future."

How do you think the interface should look/feel/operate? Should it be tablet-controlled? Touch/heat senesitive? Voice activated?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 7:28:55 PM
Re: The IoST (Internet of Shared Things)
@SusanF: I want this scenario you have outlined to be available to me now:

You program only one thing: The device that wakes you up, or, in my case, the time when you want to start your day. When that device goes off it tells your coffee or tea maker to start. There is a kitchen AI making your beakfast, your shower starts so when you step into it it's all nice and warm, etc. So, your day flows beautifully and you can spend your time doing what no one -yet- can do for your: Your brain work, your creations, your research, your writing.

While that sounds like it would make my life so much more manageable, i really do worry about security and privacy. Let's face it, we can't even manage to keep our personal data from being compromised now (Target hack, thank you very much!). I wonder, though, if the sheer volume of informatio about us and our lives in the IoT will become so much that it actually makes the hackers' jobs too difficult.

I know that sounds rather silly, but think about it this way: When you're walking home  late at night, the coventional wisdom is that you are safer in a group than by yourself. LIkewise, perhaps, IoT will unleash such a tidal wave of information that it will become every more difficult for hackers and criminals to isolate the data that really matters to them...

Surely, it won't be my taste in music that they are after.

:)
Pieterv682
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Pieterv682,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/2/2014 | 8:14:13 PM
It also needs to fit with processes and Enterprise Architecture

I have to agree with Chris Kuntz, of ThingWorx who related the home scenario to business. "People understand it's not just about connecting your product, connecting your smart thing, collecting that data. It's about how do you connect it with a business process to effect some sort of change."

We understand the security challenges with IoT and the lack of standards. As IoT adoption increases standards with be developed and implemented. It is the natural evolution of technology adoption processes.

What is equally important is to consider how IoT fits in the Enterprise Architecture and as Chris mentions "how do you connect it with a business process to effect some sort of change". There is a lot of hype around smart devices and big data, but the real value will be realized when it is wired into the operational processes of a business. Adoption (and funding) of IoT will be accelerated when organizations can "listen" for key business events from sensors, "decide" if an intervention is required and "act" in a timely and appropriate manner to these key business events.

This requires that IoT becomes part of the Enterprise Architecture that considers the data from these devices, the other systems that it interacts with and the processes that manages the interventions and actions from the information that we gather from these devices.

Our experience with mature Fortune 10 companies who use smart devices in M2M and Operational Technology (OT) scenarios show that standards will emerge but considering how to create operational benefits from these devices and big data requires some Enterprise Architecture thinking as well.

IoT will also require some thought to manage the operational process applications that deliver the benefit from the devices, and not just applications that manage the devices itself. As Chris said, it is estimated that it will require around 5 to 10 million applications to support the billions of devices to deliver business value. The architecture needs to be extended not just to the IoT devices, but to how it fits into the enterprise and its processes.

batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 8:03:18 PM
Re: Security
interesting observation/point... I trust you are right ...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 7:58:19 PM
Re: Design is very important
I think we gonna see new shift of technology as internet of things get developed more and more...
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