IoT Revolution: Is The Enterprise Ready? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // IT Strategy
Commentary
3/27/2015
08:05 AM
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
50%
50%

IoT Revolution: Is The Enterprise Ready?

In the connected future, the Internet of Things is expected to play a huge role in everyday life. Are enterprises ready to handle IoT, and what does it mean for security?

11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing
11 IoT Programming Languages Worth Knowing
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

There is little doubt the Internet of Things revolution is coming, and it will fundamentally change the way people interact with different devices. Still, for the last several years, most of the focus has been on the consumer market, with questions raised about the feasibility of low-level IoT devices such as Google's Nest smart thermostat and other basic housewares.

Where does this leave enterprises, especially when it comes to issues such as security, and what to do with all the data that IoT sensors can collect? After all, if there are privacy and security concerns about what a smart TV or thermostat can collect in a suburban home, what happens when IoT goes industrial, and critical systems are connected to the Internet and uploading terabytes of data into the cloud?

These issues regarding how business will respond to IoT were center stage at this month's Mobile World Congress. Although mainly a consumer show focused on mobile, MWC 2015 provided some critical insights into how enterprises should approach IoT, and what it means for IT departments and the CIOs tasked with overseeing this technology.

However, let's first start with popcorn.

At the MWC show, Niall Murphy, founder and CEO of Evrythng, an IoT cloud platform that connects consumer products to the Web and manages real-time data to drive applications, talked about how the 3.5 trillion products that are manufactured every year are becoming more and more digital. When it comes to IoT specifically, he estimates that there will be about one trillion of these connected products by 2020.

In his view, Murphy believes that businesses should not only focus on how things get connected, but also on how things become connectable.

"Smart does not mean that something is connected -- or if something is connected, it doesn't mean it is smart. Something becomes smart when it is connectable," he explained.

Niall Murphy demonstrates how a connected popcorn machine works during his presentation at MWC in Barcelona.

(Image: Susan Fourtane)

Niall Murphy demonstrates how a connected popcorn machine works during his presentation at MWC in Barcelona.

(Image: Susan Fourtané)

As a way of illustrating this point, he used a popcorn demonstration. With help from the audience, he showed how a Web-based system can pop popcorn -- thus during an old-fashioned, unconnected activity into a new, IoT-based function.

Cloud And Security Matter

Within the sphere of IoT, Murphy emphasized the importance of the cloud with this new ecosystem, and how the technology is needed to operate and manage these trillion or so connected products. In addition, the product themselves become data-collection nodes, and these products are now nodes in a giant, global network.

There is a consumer approach with business implications, as well as a fundamental business transformation.

After his presentation, he took part in panel discussion on how different objects and different languages connected through the IoT are going to change businesses over the course of the next five years, as a vast array of products become connected by different methods.

Murphy was joined by several executives working with IoT, including David Friedman, CEO of Ayla Networks; David del Val Latorre, who oversees research and development at Telefonica; and Thomas Svensson, a senior vice president at ThingWorx.

What are these executives thinking about when it comes to IoT? One word: Security.

Murphy addressed the concern by saying that the enterprises are now in the role of almost representing the types of services IoT provides. In turn, they are responsible for protecting the security of the consumer.

[Read about the IoT driving the future of cars.]

"Product manufacturing brands have the pressure to assess the security of the product," Murphy said. However, a lot of this depends on what data these devices capture and the relationship with the consumer. The paradox appears when trying to deliver a customized experience.

IoT's Message In A Bottle

In addition, IoT-connectable products radically change the relationship between consumers, products, and brands. Take alcoholic beverages for example.

Murphy presented an NFC-enabled, smart tag for whiskey bottles that grew out of a partnership between Evrythng and Thinfilm.

The NFC tag makes it possible to track the bottles. With the help of a smartphone, the manufacturer can see whether the bottle's seal has been broken. This helps keep tabs on the stock control -- a futuristic type of anti-counterfeiting measure. According to Thinfilm, its smart labels are impossible to copy or modify. These smart labels use OpenSense, a new wireless technology for enhanced IoT product security.

Think about that the next time you walk down the aisle of your favorite liquor store or step up to the bar after a long day at the office. The question then becomes one of whether the same technology be used to measure whether people are actually drinking the whisky? Is it times to change the way the drinks are distilled? If a person likes this particular brand, would they also enjoy a different type of alcohol made by the same company?

As products become connectable, the enterprise needs to be ready for the connected revolution. There's a lot of promise here, as well as some warning signs.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

Susan Fourtané is a Science & Technology journalist, writer, and philosopher with a life-long interest in science and technology -- and all things interesting. She has been a technology journalist for nearly 10 years writing and reporting for global print and online ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/31/2015 | 5:44:18 PM
Re: The "i" in IoT
Terry, But you need them to be on the network in order to be able to be connected. In what applications you think it's not necessary for the things to be connected? And then they wouldn't be part of the IoT classification. Sensors is a different story. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/31/2015 | 5:39:57 PM
Re: The "i" in IoT
nasimson, an interessting caase about what? -Susan
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 1:05:51 AM
Re: The "i" in IoT
@Terry: IMHO the people who decide to put the data on internet are themselves not the best persons to determine its best use. It will take somebody else to come up with a interesting case that would surprise us all.
TerryB
50%
50%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2015 | 1:18:24 PM
The "i" in IoT
I think was is getting overlooked here in this discussion is whether the "internet" part is really necessary in many applications. In manufacturing, PLC has been using sensor input to assist in operating/maintaining machines since the 70's. Cars have been sending diagnostic input from parts via sensors to it's onboard computer for a decade or more. Heck, even a speedometer on the earliest cars is a primitive form of that concept.

The question is how many processes will really be improved by making each machine piece addressable and having it dump data on an network connection to the internet itself? No question there are some who will gain enormous efficiency from this. But take example of the oil pressure someone mentioned in post. Is there really more value to be gained by putting that on internet versus talking to onboard computer and showing on your dashboard?

The old saying "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should" certainly applies to this IoT space.
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 7:32:08 AM
Re: IoT Revolution: Is The Enterprise Ready?
zerox, the link makes more sense when you can see and participate in the demo, as it happened during Murphy's presentation. The memebers of the audience had to open the Webpage and click on the button. When an x number were reached the popcorn machine would be activated and we could see how it worked. You could smell the popcorn all over the room. :) -Susan
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 7:05:58 AM
Re: The Future
Gary, Of course they will consult iwith your smartphone. But, for any of your devices to make decisions and function they first need your approval, just as you set everything in your smartphone, customizing it to do want you want it to do. Without clear settings your phone doesn't do anything. So this is the same. :) -Susan
Gary_EL
50%
50%
Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 7:27:05 PM
Re: The Future
Only if my popcorn machine and television consulted with my calendar, and, as a committee, they determined that I had a guest coming who'd be peeved if the popcorn wasn't ready on arrival. Otherwise, I'd like to reserve the right to make the decision by myself, on an ad hoc basis ☺
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/29/2015 | 6:00:46 PM
Re: The Future
Gary, yes, the data collected and information sent to manufacturers and enterprises is much more useful for them to improve their products and offer new and better services plus customization than how useful the same information can be for anyone else. About privacy, wouldn't you trade letting your popcorn machine and television manufacturers know when your phone is scheduling an evening movie in exchange of convenience like having your popcorn ready by the time the movie starts without you having to worry about that? -Susan
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/29/2015 | 5:50:25 PM
Re: The Future
yalanand, you say you see potential iin the IoT space, but at the smae time you are skeptical. What exactly makes you be skeptical? And why the contradiction? Judging for what I have seen at MWC and spoken with executives from companies working on IoT I wouldn't say the interest in the IoT has decresed. On the contrary. It's advancing pretty fast. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/29/2015 | 5:45:22 PM
Re: Security
yalanand, are you involved with drone delivery or IoT? New business models and new security solutions will be needed since it's not possible any longer to apply old business models to new technogies involving radical changes. Otherwise, it wouldn't be real advancement. Susan
<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Commentary
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll