What started as a short phrase that did not have much of an impact in the world of information technology has morphed into an IT acronym that is an integral part of most computer networks.
We are talking about the Internet of Things (IoT).
Despite the rise of the IoT, many organizations fail to implement the best practices. In fact, a 2017 study conducted by Cisco in 2017 stated that nearly 75 percent of all IoT projects fail to get off the ground. As with any large, complex project, implementing an IoT strategy involves getting every key player in your organization on board from the start of a project.
The goal of incorporating an IoT approach for your organization is to solve complicated business problems and possibly drive IT innovations. Unlike other software initiatives, an IoT approach for your organization requires IT resources to deploy over several business units and operational teams. Even if your organization has obtained considerable success completing complex operational projects, incorporating an IoT approach into solving one or more business problems can be overwhelming for the entire IT team.
Let’s see what CIOs need to know about the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize the many benefits delivered by a strategy that is no longer considered just an IT trend.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things describes an intricate network of physical objects (hence, the word “things”) that embed within sensors, software programs, and other types of technologies to connect with other physical objects. The connections established by IoT physical objects encourage the sharing of data over the Internet. IoT physical objects range from a standard household appliance to a highly sophisticated industrial machine. With more than 10 billion IoT devices connected in 2020, the number of IoT physical objects is expected to more than double to 22 billion by 2025.
What Are the Types of Technologies That Make the IoT Possible?
Computer scientist Kevin Ashton came up with the phrase Internet of Things in 1999 while working at Proctor & Gamble, Ashton proposed attaching Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips on consumer goods to monitor their progress as they moved through the supply chain. Although the IoT has been around for more than 20 years, several recent technological advancements have made the technology much easier for organizations of all sizes to adapt.
Access to low-cost, low-power sensor technology is an integral part of creating a compelling IoT strategy. Leveraging numerous network protocols allows your IT team to connect sensors to devices located in the cloud. The rapid increase in the number of cloud platforms has helped both businesses gain access to the infrastructure they need to scale up performance while at the same time not having to devote more managerial resources to overseeing an IoT project.
Perhaps the greatest technological advancements that have moved the IoT into the IT mainstream are machine learning tools and conversational artificial intelligence.
What Steps Should IT CIOs Take to Implement a Successful IoT Strategy?
Since the Internet of Things has emerged as a relatively common type of technology, your organization should take a few steps to separate your organization from the competition operating in your business niche.
1) Define Business Goals
Long before you launch the first IoT initiative, hold a meeting between all of the leaders of your organization to define short and long-term business goals. You should clearly describe the outcomes expected when you develop an IoT strategy. Instead of creating an IoT strategy for forming a business plan, you first create a business plan and then leverage the many positive features offered by IoT technology
2) Identify Your Organization’s Hardware
Another planning step that you need to perform before you even think about adopting IoT technology for your organization involves taking inventory of every piece of hardware, such as the sensors and devices that transfer data and information. By understanding what consists of your current hardware inventory, the IT department can present an accurate order for purchasing the additional hardware required to make an IoT strategy a success.
3) Integrate Gateways and Edge Computing Devices to Connect with the Network
You can purchase the correct number and the highest quality of devices and sensors, and still fall short of achieving your organization’s IoT goal if you do not integrate gateways and edge computing devices. Edge computing represents a form of network architecture that helps increase the speed of data processing, while also decreasing bandwidth and increasing the rate of response times.
4) Create Data and Device Connectivity Formats
Every device that constitutes the “things” of an Internet of Things must be able to communicate and connect constantly with each other. This means your IT team should establish protocols and communication channels that encourage devices to interact. Creating data and device connectivity formats allows your organization to determine how each device transmits data.
5) Secure the IoT Platform
Your IT team should encrypt and compress every set of data before sending it to the cloud for processing. Since you can expect to generate a tremendous amount of data in real time, your IT team must develop and implement governance models to restrict access to certain devices. Your IT team also needs to prevent hacking by external sources.