For years, I have been written about the promise and perils of the Internet of Things (IoT). In many of my articles I described how the IoT could help transform society and kickstart the next industrial revolution. However, I think after talking these summer days with people outside this "industry" that most of them are lost with the IoT. We still cannot define in a unique and clear way what IoT is and much less explain how thanks to IoT it will change our lives, without using the example of the connected refrigerator.
At the beginning of 2015, I wondered if we would be able to build the Internet of Things. Taking a look at the most recent IoT Landscape I continue seeing how the fragmentation of the market, the lack of standards and the challenge of security continue damaging the growth of IoT. The evolution that not the revolution of IoT, has been slower than I expected and desired. Today not only Telcos admit IoT is failing to meet expectations.
Why are we lost in IoT? Let´s see some arguments.
Lost in IoT connectivity
With so many IoT connectivity options on the market, choosing the right one for your project can be complicated. It scares me to think that billions of devices will be connected in a few years to decentralized IoT networks and with no interconnectivity between them, unless we use millions of edge nodes that transfer messages among devices connected in multiple networks. If it is already difficult to justify the ROI of a use case considering a single type of connectivity, it is almost impossible to justify that these devices can communicate with other devices on different IoT subnets.
In case we consider the doubt small, we add the issue of end-to-end security and the need in some use cases networking in meshes with no single point of failure. Here comes new IoT technologies such as Blockchain to help or to confuse.
It seems that it is easy to get lost among so much connectivity technology. Isn’t true?
Lost among hundreds of IoT Platforms
At least we already intuit some of the platforms that will survive among the +700 that some analysts have identified. I have only been able to analyze with more or less depth about 100. Surely my methodology of Superheroes and Supervillanos will advance the end of most of them.
It is no longer just one IoT Platform, stupid! Although they want to make it easy for us, companies like AWS, Microsoft or Google add concepts such as Serverless, Data Lakes, AI, Edge Computing, DLT and all the artillery of Cloud services to the core features of the IoT platform. I get lost in its architecture and I feel that if I get too close to one of these black holes, they will end up absorbing me.
Glad to know that “Verizon retools ThingSpace IoT platform to focus on connectivity” and system integrators are they are abandoning their in house development to embrace leaders vendors’ products.
The IoT analysts are also not helping much with its reports. IoT Platform vendors are disputing relevant positions in their graphs but we are lost when do not see any vendor in the leader quadrant of Gartner and most of them are Niche Players.
Lost between the Edge and the Clouds
In “Do not let the fog hide the clouds in the Internet of Things” , I warned about the degree of complexity that Fog / Edge Computing added to the already complex solutions in the IoT Clouds. Now nothing seems to be of great value if we do not include Edge Computing in our IoT solutions. And there our confusion arises again.
The Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums is consolidating but we keep losing in acronyms. Industrial Internet companies felt relief with the news “ – The Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC™) and the OpenFog Consortium® (OpenFog) unite to combine the two largest and most influential international consortia in Industrial IoT, fog and edge computing. While The Open Group Open Process Automation™ Forum (OPAF) is defining the next generation edge computing standards for industrial operators.
Lost in the Proof of Concept (PoC)
Businesses are spending $745 billion worldwide on IoT hardware and software in 2019 alone. Yet, three out of every four IoT implementations are failing.
Microsoft launched a new research report — IoT Signals — intended to quantify enterprise internet of things (IoT) adoption around the world. The survey of over 3,000 IT team leaders and executives provides a detailed look at the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar segment’s greatest challenges and benefits, as well as related trends. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that 30% of respondents say their IoT projects failed in the proof-of-concept stage, often because the implementation became too expensive or the bottom-line benefits were unclear.
There are technical reasons for example the use of Rasberry Pi or Arduino boards in the PoC and realise that you need other more expensive hardware for the project.
There are economic reasons when you try to escalate your PoC to real implementations and then the ROI doesn’t look as well as in the pilot.
There are organization reasons when leaders are failing to go all in. If you can’t get the CEO on board, then the probability to finish in the PoC is almost 100%.
If you are lost in the PoC, these tips can help you implementing IIOT.
- Solve a problem worth solving
- Keep it quick and simple
- Manage the Human Factor
Lost in select the right IoT Ecosystems
In Harbor Research article “ Has Anyone Seen A Real Internet of Things Ecosystem?” ,dated November 2013, the analyst firm wrote that no really significant ecosystem or network of collaborators had emerged in the IoT arena in spite there was early and very interesting efforts being made by several players. This article does not need changes.
Since I wrote “The value of partnership in Industrial Internet of Things”, I have heard, read and repeated hundreds of times how important it is to belong to an IoT ecosystem and how difficult it is to choose the one that suits you best.
All or at least most of those who read my articles know that there is no company in the world, no matter how great it is, it can do everything in IoT. Creating an IoT ecosystem either horizontal (technology) or vertical (industry) requires a lot of talent managers able to maintain win-win transactions over the time. And according to the results, it seems to me that it is becoming very complicated.
I am working in an article in which I will analyse 4 examples of IoT ecosystems that represent a big portion of the value chain in the multiple IoT markets: IoT Hardware Ecosystem, IoT telco Operator, IoT Cloud Platform Vendor and IoT System Integrators. Hope this article could help you, if you are lost with IoT ecosystems.
Remember, you are not the only one lost in IoT
When it comes to achieving a return on their investment from IoT, businesses really need rethink how they are deploying it so that they can manage remotely and secure their assets, use the sensors and devices data to make better real time decisions and be able to monetise it. However, for both to happen, and for IoT project to not end up in the purgatory, businesses need independent and expert advice at several levels to find the right people to lead the project and the right technology and partners to make implementation successful.
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