Innovation

Internet of Things World Forum: Pushing adoption of IoT business models

The Internet of Things (IoT) was the focus of the IoT World Forum in Chicago this week, where security and job creation were among the discussion topics.

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Cisco announced enhanced IoT security features at IoTWF in Chicago this week.
Image: Teena Hammond/TechRepublic

Accelerating the adoption of IoT business models is the theme of this year's Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF). The event has grown since last year's inaugural event in Barcelona, Spain, with 800 attendees last year, compared to approximately 1,500 at this year's event in Chicago from October 14-16.

Industry leaders attending the event focused on ways to advance the technology, industry ecosystem, talent and education needed to take the industry to wide-scale deployment.

Fog computing

Cisco executives at IoTWF discussed the use of fog computing, which is Cisco's new platform that operates as the cloud, but close to the ground, as the name implies, keeping data local and out of the cloud and faster to access in situations where seconds count, such as in manufacturing facilities.

"Fog computing enables a new breed of applications and services, and allows a fruitful interplay between the cloud and the fog, particularly when it comes to data management and analytics," explained Kip Compton, Cisco vice president for IoT systems and software.

Use cases for fog technology include situations when there is too much data to back up to the cloud. Compton gave an example of customers on an oil rig. "There's a lot of data coming off the oil rig, but a lot of limited connectivity to the cloud. They can use the fog to process the data and send only the most unusual or remarkable events back to the cloud," he said.

Another use case is when latency is an issue, such as in manufacturing. When data is sent to the cloud and back, it can take multiple seconds of latency roundtrip. These extra seconds can matter in some situations, and by keeping the data local, in the fog, there are no latency issues, Compton said.

IOx, security and IT job roles

Cisco's IOx platform was also discussed. When the new platform was announced earlier this year, it was only available on two platforms. Now it's available on 16 platforms, Compton said.

Security was another topic, since it is critical to IoT. Cisco announced at the forum that it is enhancing its video surveillance platform and building new analytics applications.

Job roles in the future were another feature of the forum. Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager for Cisco, said that there are 2.4 million people currently certified in networking, and they need to be reskilled for the new IoT environment. "We need to get those people that are used to these other networks, non-IP based - now educated in the world of the Internet. It's going to change every job in IT."

One of the top jobs will be cyber security analysts. "No one is going to connect up all these different things in an IP network without securing it very securely. Cyber security analyst will be one of the biggest growth roles of our industry that we've seen in a very long time. We need one million people in this area alone," Beliveau-Dunn said.

The role of the CIO will change as well. "In the past the CIO was responsible for building everything. Now in the world of IoT ... we're now talking about being the orchestrator of outcomes. Taking the wealth of IT solutions and bring them together in new and compelling ways to build a better outcome," Beliveau-Dunn said.

Cisco announced at IoTWF that it has created an industry talent consortium to work with partners in education and the enterprise to identify the skills needed and to work together to train professionals in these skills.

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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