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Are You Ready for the Internet of Things?
By Chris Carroll
The “Internet of Things” can be loosely defined as the move from isolated devices to Internet-enabled platforms that can communicate with each other and the cloud. IoT is a major worldwide trend that will impact CIOs over time; do you need to prepare for it?
According to Intel’s Inside IoT blog, ABI Research believes that 30 billion IoT devices will be sold by 2020, and Cisco thinks that more than 50 billion devices will be connected by then. That comes to over seven devices for every person the U.N. forecasts to be alive at that time. Intel predicts that there will be 3.8 billion IoT devices on the market by next year.
While we typically think of high-visibility consumer IoT devices like the Nest Thermostat that was just acquired by Google and the Philips Hue LED lighting system that transmit status information to the cloud for remote monitoring and control by PCs and mobile devices, IoT devices are just now beginning to be deployed in the enterprise, such as in healthcare, manufacturing, and retail environments.
Enterprise IoT deployments tend to start small, but the tremendous potential gains can lead to rapid deployments. Because each connected device requires around-the-clock network connectivity, IoT has the potential to place unplanned burdens on bandwidth and management systems. According to the Information Week article, Internet of Things May Strangle Enterprise Bandwidth, “In the coming decade, the IoT will cause the bandwidth gap to balloon out of control. Enterprises will see enormous amounts of traffic coming from a massive number of sources.”
CIOs will also face unplanned capital costs when pressured both to deploy IoT devices to replace existing platforms as well as intelligent gateways to connect legacy devices to the Internet. The cost of analytics to synthesize the Big Data that will be newly available from the plethora of Internet-connected devices will skyrocket, and staffing requirements will shift as CIOs need business analysts who can not only analyze the data from the IoT devices but also conduct the necessary research to help the CIO design a strategic path for IoT adoption that aligns with the business goals of the organization.
Are you ready for IoT, or do you even need to be ready for intelligent devices deployed throughout the enterprise at a massive rate over the next few years? Is IoT a pipedream or a game changer? A few years from now, will CIOs look back at IoT as an opportunity overlooked or underestimated—like mobile computing was for many—or as an opportunity successfully planned for to gain a competitive edge for the business?
Chris Carroll is a freelance technology writer with over 30 years editorial experience. See more information about his background, including samples of his work and references, at www.chriscarroll.com.