As businesses pursue digital initiatives, I&O execs must assist their line-of-business colleagues with addressing software, security, data, and business analytics integration complexity associated with deploying these IoT solutions. Digital opportunities to use IoT include:
Building connected products. Product manufacturers are creating smart, connected products to differentiate their offerings and generate new revenue streams as well as ecosystems for other partners to participate in and create their own value.
Transforming operational processes. Businesses across many vertical markets are using IoT-enabled use cases to transform supply chain processes, enhance inventory management and operational processes, and track and monitor asset performance
We recently attended VMworld 2016 Europe in Barcelona. The event, which attracted about 10,000 visitors, has established itself as an important destination for anyone with an interest in virtualization-related topics. In many respects, the event was over-shadowed by the VMware-AWS partnership. However, the event also provided us with several additional impressions. We felt that there were several encouraging signs pointing to how VMware is progressing as a business within Dell Technologies, in particular, VMware is:
Developing its ecosystem of partners. The event was a good example how large VMware’s ecosystem has grown over the years. Most major systems integrators, IT firms, software houses, and telcos were present. In discussions with management, it was obvious that VMware fully understands the need to partner with a wide range of providers to address the business requirements that enterprise customers have. We expect VMware to further strengthen its ecosystem activities.
The rise of mobile networks, improved wireless tech, and rapid sensor innovation over the past 10 years has enabled companies to use internet-connected sensors and actuators to improve business operations and transform products. The ever-increasing number of connected devices is opening up new business models and new opportunities for both tech vendors and end users; as a result, IoT is becoming an essential cornerstone of the business technology agenda. Enterprise architecture professionals must define a holistic IoT software architecture to navigate through the complex technology landscape.
I’ve recently published tworeports focusing on how to architect the IoT software stack. These reports analyze the heat maps and trends around IoT adoption in China and introduce Forrester’s IoT technology stack reference architecture. They also show EA pros how to achieve strategic business outcomes and unleash the power of digital business by analyzing the IoT practices of visionary Chinese firms. Some of the key takeaways:
Successful IoT initiatives yield substantial business value. Outstanding IoT initiatives achieves strategic outcomes, such as competitive differentiation, customer experience enhancement, and asset performance optimization. Chinese companies have successfully launched IoT initiatives to establish their digital business in various industries, including energy, automotive, logistics, and manufacturing.
“IoT is not a feasible concept without a solution that allows for the direct interaction between machines and devices. Blockchain is a technology that can help to unlock this piece of the puzzle.”
Matthew Spoke, CEO, Nuco
Blockchain technology and the IoT both are currently catching the imagination of many interested stakeholders — for good reasons. For IoT to come into its own in the long run, devices sooner or later will have to communicate directly between each other. More than that, they must also be able to initiate further action without waiting for external instructions.
Blockchain can potentially add many benefits to IoT scenarios. Both — IoT and blockchain — are based on decentralized, distributed approaches; in combination, they potentially offer huge benefits from operational efficiencies to revenue generation. While these benefits will not emerge overnight, business and technology leaders need to acquaint themselves now with the possibilities as well as the challenges of blockchain technology in the IoT context, because:
Conceptually, blockchain technology is a good match for IoT scenarios. IoT applications are by definition distributed and call for devices to interact directly with each other rather than via existing centralized models.
Blockchain has the potential for improved IoT features, cost-efficiency, and compliance. Blockchain is not an end in itself, but forms the basis for applications, including potentially smart contracts, which support specific IoT processes.
Merritt Maxim and I just published our research on the IoT Attack Surface. This report gives a realistic, but not sensationalized, view of how enterprises need to think about IoT. Three factors motivated our research for this topic - attacks on IoT will transcend the digital-physical divide, the sheer scale of IoT will challenge security teams, and IoT devices collect massive amounts of data.
The following methodology allowed us to hone in on concrete enterprise scenarios:
We went for offense first. We started by interviewing prominent security researchers that spend their days thinking about how to attack IoT devices and systems. Our outside in approach allowed us to develop a threat model for intrusions, as well as identify weak points in the defenses of IoT makers, users, and operators.
We explored the ramifications of an attack. We wanted to understand what an attacker would - or could - do when successful. We also wanted to understand the amount of friction that existed for whatever came next - credential harvesting, persistence, or disrupting operations.
We examined existing security practices to understand what works, and what doesn't when defending IoT devices. This step highlighted that while IoT is different, defending IoT looks similar to other security problems S&R pros have dealt with. You can bring security lessons forward and apply them to IoT without having to learn them all over again.
Nokia’s services division recently hosted an analyst event where it elaborated on the interlinkage between network services and network infrastructure. Of course, network services matter to businesses and telcos because they help technology managers to better manage infrastructure complexity and to modernize network infrastructure with the goal of making networks faster and more reliable. However, there are more fundamental implications:
Network services add value to products and open new business areas. Customers want features and services that are relevant to them in the immediate context of their needs and desires. As more products become connected, network services will play a critical role in developing and enhancing such features. Moreover, network services play a central role in driving augmented and virtual-reality solutions in outdoor conditions, such as those already used in manufacturing by Caterpillar or in construction by BAM Group.
I recently attended an event at which Bosch and SAP announced a major partnership to more closely align their respective cloud and software expertise around the industrial internet of things. This partnership underlines the fact that SAP and Bosch are prepared to significantly transform their respective business models to generate new value for their customers. The SAP and Bosch partnership focuses on two main items:
SAP will add SAP Hana database to Bosch IoT Cloud. Bosch customers will be able to access SAP Hana in the Bosch IoT Cloud with the goal of processing large quantities of data in near-real time. This makes it easier for Bosch’s customers to run analytics of IoT sensor data in the SAP Hana environment.
Bosch will make its IoT microservices available to SAP on SAP Hana Cloud Platform. This move will facilitate the safe connection of different devices and components, including vehicles, manufacturing machinery, and smart tools, with open platforms. Customers will benefit from a broad range of emerging services to support their business processes.
However, at $2.4 billion, the Fleetmatics deal is much bigger than most telcos have been willing to contemplate to date, underlining Verizon's commitment to the IoT space. But this deal won’t transform Verizon’s enterprise revenue composition overnight. While it will help improve Verizon's position in terms of IoT revenues, Fleetmatics had revenues of $285 million in 2015 – compared to Verizon’s $132 billion.
The price it is prepared to pay for Fleetmatics shows that Verizon expects to see impressive long-term benefits from the deal. Forrester expects that Verizon will ultimately extend Fleetmatics’ business model beyond global fleet and mobile workforce management solutions to more general tracking and tracing solutions for nonpowered objects like skips, agricultural equipment, machinery, and other connected assets.
Verizon has its work cut out: The acquisition is the easy part. But successful integration will be much harder, as this deal is about supporting customers with their business processes rather than just selling them new products.
Open source big data technologies like Hadoop have done much to begin the transformation of analytics. We're moving from expensive and specialist analytics teams towards an environment in which processes, workflows, and decision-making throughout an organisation can - in theory at least - become usefully data-driven. Established providers of analytics, BI and data warehouse technologies liberally sprinkle Hadoop, Spark and other cool project names throughout their products, delivering real advantages and real cost-savings, as well as grabbing some of the Hadoop glow for themselves. Startups, often closely associated with shepherding one of the newer open source projects, also compete for mindshare and custom.
And the opportunity is big. Hortonworks, for example, has described the global big data market as a $50 billion opportunity. But that pales into insignificance next to what Hortonworks (again) describes as a $1.7 trillion opportunity. Other companies and analysts have their own numbers, which do differ, but the step-change is clear and significant. Hadoop, and the vendors gravitating to that community, mostly address 'data at rest'; data that has already been collected from some process or interaction or query. The bigger opportunity relates to 'data in motion,' and to the internet of things that will be responsible for generating so much of this.
Computing at the edge of the mobile network will frame your IoT-enabled customer experiences in the age of the customer. As products and services based on the internet of things (IoT) continue to thrive, so does the reliance on the underlying network infrastructures to drive business success. Most IoT assets will be connected via mobile infrastructure, and cloud services are central to many IoT initiatives to deliver real-time and context-based services.
However, data transmission costs and the latency limitations of mobile connectivity pose challenges to many of these IoT installations that rely on cloud computing. Mobile edge computing (MEC) is an important technology that enables businesses to deliver real-time and context-based mobile moments to users of IoT solutions, while managing the cost base for mobile infrastructure.
Cloud and IoT solutions are increasingly intertwined and improve IoT experiences. IoT solutions gain functionality through cloud services, which in turn open access to third-party expertise and up-to-date information.
Mobile connectivity can create challenges for cloud-enabled IoT environments. Latency affects user experiences, so poor mobile connectivity can limit cloud computing deployments in the IoT context.
MEC provides real-time network and context information, including location. MEC gives application developers and business leaders access to cloud computing capabilities and a cloud service environment that’s closer to their actual users.