In 2005, I went with my family to the beach and my oldest sons started surfing; naturally the youngest longed to be a surfer as well.
So I bought him a Skiddyboard, he took it to the shoreline and set himself in a surfing position. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Daddy I am standing in surfing position, so that when the wave comes I will be surfing…”
For a long time the Internet of Things was in a similar position; ready for the wave but the tide was still out. It had been drummed up to hype stage by analysts, who predicted a huge market for so long that many believed it was going to be stranded at low tide forever.
The good news, though, for anyone who was nervous that IoT would never take off, is that it has finally caught a wave. This is true in one market in particular, manufacturing, and other industries are following suit. In the upcoming weeks I will be dedicating some of my blogs to highlight where I see the market going, hopefully giving you some insight into your future desired goals.
There is no doubt that in the upcoming year most companies will focus on getting a grip on the technical aspects of IoT. The means figuring out which sensors should be integrated into the devices of your business and how this should be done. Strangely enough, there will be less attention to the “why” and more on the "how," as many companies still see it as a technical gig rather than a business necessity. Therefore the attention will be on device integration and management, with a lot of focus on security, and an urgency to store the data somewhere (even though there may be no clue why they need the data, but that it might be important – “lets build a datalake!”)
The need for compute power will be great and, as it will be hard to predict, sametime budgets will be restricted. This means that most companies will look for cloud-based, pay-as-you-connect-your-device models.
Going forward, however, companies will stumble over a few boundaries that will determine the future of IoT. Some will be obvious, like storage – most companies will underestimate their storage needs. For example, I spoke to a steel manufacturer last year who scoped its storage needs for all its IoT projects on 1 Petabyte of database space. Sounds impressive, right? But the company quickly came to the realization that it was completely inadequate, as its very first PoC completely consumed that space.
Others are less obvious but can be deduced, for one I expect (as some others do) that the role of cloud will diminish for IoT for several reasons. Connectivity into the cloud will become a bottleneck for several reasons: reliability (can you trust connectivity) and a massive influx of data are two of them.
Once companies understand the “how” to do it, they will start to focus on the “why” to do it. The business reasons will become more prevalent, use cases like predictive maintenance and new business models will be chased. As such we will see a shift in attention from pure device integration and management to the intelligence part of the equation.
Next time I will dive deeper in some of the topics brought up here. But be assured, if you are an early adopter of IoT and you worry that it is already over, it is decidedly not. Go and get into position for the future; IoT might just be the wave you want to surf!