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.

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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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...
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 6:03:29 PM
Security
>> 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.

If we can't figure out how to make security air tight, then perhaps architecture isn't our biggest issue. Unless we are prepared for people to break into our networked kitchen faucets and mess with the water.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 2:45:31 AM
Re: Design is very important
yes, with internet of things we gonna see this technology develops more and more... coming to our homes for everyday use...
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2014 | 11:22:17 AM
Design is very important
Susan,

Paul Walborsky, CEO of Gigaom, gave a keynote speech this morning in the Barcelona Digital Global Congress. He was mainly talking about IoT and sensors and one of the things I remember most about his talk is when he said that Google paid that much money for Nest because of their design.

I do agree with that assesment. While the lack of clear standards is one the important barriers for the mass adoption of IoT, a clear and simple design is important for people's adoption.

The same way that people like some products, such as the iPhone, because it is powerful but also easy to use, we need the same concept on wearables and other home devices.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2014 | 3:51:53 AM
Re: The IoST (Internet of Shared Things)
SusanN, :D  

I was precisely thinking of The Jetsons when reading your article. :) 

" ... the system of systems that runs our lives will automatically know our tastes and desires based on analysis of various data about us." 

Well, I don't consider myself lazy, but as the available time when I am awake is so limited and I can't sleep less than what I sleep I have to prioritize how to use my time. This means that programming things is rarely a top priority. Maybe it should be? :/ 

So, for this reason, having a system of systems running my life and programming everything for me sounds like heaven. :D Think of this: 

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. :)

Of course, all this brings us to see the importance of ethical and efficent data collection, good use and analysis of that data, and its useful applications in both consumer and enterprise worlds.

As for the best drummer discussion, probably the one who is right is the one who thinks Ringo Star was. :D 

"I'm disappointed we're not farther along than we already are on the consumer front--I remember hearing about all these great ideas at the Consumer Electronics Show many many moons ago ... " 

Indeed. I am disappointed, too. I want to experience all the wonderful technology we are discussing in my life time.

Oops. Sorry for the long comment. This article was really inspiring and I love all the discussing around the IoT. :) 

I do hope that near(ish) future is soon enough. 

-Susan 

 

 
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