By Steve Hilton, MachNation
At the end of an industry event, we at MachNation like to reflect on some of the insights generated by event participants. In this environment of weekly IoT/M2M events it is not easy finding unique nuggets of wisdom, but occasionally we do. Let's discuss a few insights from discussions and presentations on 6 May at Axeda Connexion 2014.
- "Integration is the killer app for IoT," according to Bill Zujewski, CMO of Axeda. This seemingly innocuous idea is packed with importance. While some are often looking for a single application or device that will create disproportionate business value in the IoT ecosytem, they are misguided. The real value of these IoT solutions rests in the integration of device data with back-end business applications in the re-definition of business processes. These integrations can have profound implications on enterprise costs, innovation and new services development.
- Minimizing vulnerability to the "bad guys" is critically important in IoT. Security isn't just the responsibility of the CSO, as we have learned recently from the firing of Target's CEO in response to a massive security breach of customer data. Numerous speakers brought-up the topic of IoT security and its importance. Since many IoT solutions have been deployed by operations technology (OT) staff without too much involvement from the CSO's organization, it becomes even more important to consider the end-to-end security implications of IoT solutions from device, OS, application, connectivity and application integration perspectives. The importance of OT in the IoT decision-making process is one of MachNation's hot topics for 2014. Bringing in some of the well-founded practices from traditional security auditing is one way to drive standard security practices in the deployment of new IoT solutions.
- Responsiveness to data creates competitive differentiation and business value. Peter Utzschneider from Oracle highlighted this issue clearly in his keynote address. Enterprises must use IoT data to increase responsiveness across organizations. This responsiveness can be seen in departments as varied as logistics, customer care, field services, maintenance, sales and marketing. Speed, agility and fact-based decision-making create enterprises that outperform their peers.
- Intelligence in end-point devices is needed. This point was raised several times during the event. Whether that intelligence needs to sit on the device or on the network is arguable. However, I believe it is true that we need more intelligence logically closer to end-point devices. More intelligence closer to the network edge allows for better, faster, more reliable and more distributed decision-making. It gives us more ability to impact, change, modify and re-direct things/people at the edge of the network. These changes alter the user experience at the edge. In some cases (for example, monitoring an oil pump along a supply line), altering the user experience at the network edge is less important. However, there are other cases (for example, a connected vending machine) where altering the user experience at the network edge is tremendously valuable.