In the fourth of a nine-part series drawing on the Logicalis Global CIO study, Lucas Pinz explains why preparation is key for businesses that want to benefit from the Internet of Things – a widening sea of networked devices that can deliver smarter services by sensing aspects of the real world, like temperature, lighting, the presence and absence of people and objects.
Today’s world pulses to the rhythm of eight billion connected devices. By 2031, this figure is forecast to grow to over 200 billion devices – 25 times more than the number of people on the earth. Clearly, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here, but are CIOs prepared?
This isn’t a glib question - preparation is everything. As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And this is no niche opportunity. Per our survey, 59% of CIOs expect the Internet of Things to affect them in just two years time – meaning they have a fair bit to do to prepare their firms for what some industry commentators describe as the biggest opportunity in a lifetime. (Notably, a mere 11% of CIOs do not think IoT will impact their business). All this begs the question - what do CIOs need to do to help create a fertile environment for innovation? Four years ago in 2012, we made several suggestions about preparing for IoT. In case you missed that, or didn’t get around to it, here’s what you need to do now to catch up.
Get your house in order
First and foremost, check your infrastructure. Question whether your architecture is up to the job.
So, if you’re an automotive company, you could be thinking about connected vehicles and the infrastructure you’ll require. If you’re a retail company, you’ll need to consider your roadmap towards sensor-enabled merchandising, and if you’re a manufacturer you may need to put some measures in place to make predictive maintenance a reality.
Secure your appliances
Secondly, consider your security vulnerabilities. IoT is not without its risks. With more devices and data collection at the edge, the opportunities for hacks have exploded. Last year a Jeep Cherokee was hacked during a digital crash test. Tomorrow, someone’s connected heating system could be tampered with - an issue we discussed back in January.
Finally, you’ll need to figure out whether you have access to the right skills. And don’t think one person will be sufficient. IoT will be a key strategic differentiator – and the rewards for getting it right will be huge. A Chief IoT Officer would be a perfectly proportionate response.
Essentially, CIOs across the board will need to assess their three Ps: platforms, people and processes. This thinking should involve a healthy dose of planning and doing: more experimentation, more innovation and a continuous delivery model.