Gartner expects 6.4 billion "things" will be connected to the Internet in 2016, up 30% from 2015. Although sensors aren't new, they're being built into more types of devices because they are considerably smaller and cheaper than they once were. More organizations, regardless of industry segment, will embrace IoT devices to lower operating costs, increase revenue, or provide more relevant customer experiences. The road to success comes with pitfalls, however, some of which can be avoided or minimized with little effort or cost.
[Learn more about the Internet of Things (IOT). Read 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks.]
The obvious problem is the sheer volume of data. Cramming every piece of sensor data into an existing data warehouse or a cloud environment probably isn't practical, or even wise.
"The different approaches to data management have revolved around building enterprise data models and integrating data from different places and then making them look the same. That was expensive and cumbersome, but it was doable," said PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner Oliver Halter, in an interview. "No matter how much money you throw at it, traditional data management, from a process point of view, doesn't work anymore because you get new data sources and new types of data all the time that you have to integrate very rapidly."
Moreover, many organizations have no idea what they would do with IoT data if they had it. If the potential business value can't be defined, there's little that can be gained from adopting even the coolest IoT innovations.
"Before you think about software or technology, what's the business problem you're trying to solve? If you're an executive at one of the companies we work with, you're losing 2% of revenue to fraud or sensor malfunction. And 2% of your revenue may mean $100 million," said Houman Behzadi, senior vice president of products at enterprise application software provider C3 Energy, in an interview. "If you want to be successful, you have to solve a business problem like fraud."
Here are a few of the ways the IoT can impact companies' IT infrastructures and data strategies, and the bottom line.