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The Internet of Things is increasingly becoming a global concern, driving the need for IT leaders to address issues like risk management, interoperability, and worldwide collaboration.
"As the need for a global IoT continues, we are fine-tuning our global capabilities and the relationships that will support it," said Chris Penrose, president of AT&T's Internet of Things organization. "[But] as IoT solutions beg for more efficient connectivity, companies are calling on their leadership to help navigate roadblocks like legal restrictions and cultural nuances. The stakes are too big, the investment too high and the security risks too grave to cobble together IoT solutions. CEOs will have to carry this vision and push companies to adapt and create change."
For the thousands of CIOs and CEOs who are, indeed, cobbling together their IoT due to budget constraints, this is food for thought.
On a country level, there are also new challenges that weren't at issue even 12 months ago—such as historically "world leading" countries like the United States now opting to move to more isolationist policies.
Understanding the urgency of world action and of countries and companies being able to collaborate globally, the Internet of Things Consortium references IDC figures that the worldwide IoT market spend will grow to $1.3 trillion in 2019, with an installed base of 30 billion IoT endpoints by 2020. Both are major reasons why the IoT Consortium is bringing together companies from every corner of the globe that are looking to partner and shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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Just what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
It started as a high tech strategy of the German government and was called Manufacturing 4.0. Manufacturing 4.0 acknowledges four stages of manufacturing: mechanization, production, computers and automation, and cyber physical systems that use the Internet of Things and the cloud. This last stage is where companies deploying IoT are focused.
However, while research shows that 67% of organizations are planning to use IoT in 2017, just1.5% of executives at large companies say they have a clear vision of what IoT will do for them—even though implementation is well underway.
It's easy to see the risk inherent in these findings. Senior executives and their IT managers can ill afford to spend millions of dollars on IoT without having a vision of where they are going.
What are some steps that senior executives and IT managers can take to better strategize their IoT?
Get past the pilot stage of IoT that many organizations seem to be stuck in. Even if you are just trialing IoT technology, you should already know the next step you will take if the trial works. For instance, if you are trialing sensors to track goods flows through your warehouse, your next step might be to place sensors on goods and on trucks so you can track transport. Your end goal might be 360-degree visibility of all goods in your supply chain from point of origin to point of shipment.
Adopt IoT technologies that can interoperate with each other. There are still incompatibilities between IoT products from different vendors. Find vendors that participate in standards groups that promote device interoperability.
Keep your focus on security. Botnets like Mirai will continue to attack IoT. Your security should be regularly updated so you have the best possible protection.
Define your risk management strategy as you plan and implement your IoT. Is IoT written into your disaster recovery and business continuation plan? Have you spoken with your insurer about liability protections for IoT? If there is a global IoT outage, do you have manual procedures in place so you can continue to operate?
Finally, think globally. IoT is a global force. If you are in manufacturing, you could see machines on shop floors half a world away from each other communicating and collaborating on product manufacture. Cloud-based communications will link them and will monitor for security intrusions. In this continuum, tech companies will think globally—and so should their customers.