Trendspotting gets you small talk at the coffee machine; investments and hard work get you results. So when it comes to the Internet of Things, forget about the number of devices that may or may not be connected to the internet in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see. Rather focus on how you’re going to use the technology in your data strategy. Which factors influence the success of your IoT project? How technical will things get? And why does it say “Internet of Everything” in the title? I’ll tell you here.
IoT versus IoE
We all know IoT stands for the Internet of Things, a technology that connects everyday devices and sensors to the internet, so companies can analyze the incoming data and use it to improve their services and delight customers. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a relatively unknown term, though, and sounds even more exciting than IoT. The truth is, IoE describes the same concept as IoT, but just in a broader sense. Apart from things, IoE also includes matters that go beyond the physical space, such as online services (Google) and users themselves. Or, as Luke Simmons puts it, the Internet of Things is the train tracks and connections, whereas the Internet of Everything is that plus everything that is needed to enable rail transit (trains, ticket systems, travelers, weather conditions).
Factor 1. Battery life
Now that we’ve established IoT and IoE revolve around the same cool and promising concept, it’s time to move on to the implementation part. In IoE projects, success factor one is always battery life. There’s no use in connecting the world around us if every single element has to be charged over and over. Imagine you deployed millions of sensors alongside the highway that needed charging every month! You’d have to spend many hours on the sensors that you deployed to make your job easier. Fortunately, new technologies have increased battery life with many hours. Look into them and test your sensors beforehand. Better safe than sorry.
Factor 2. Usefulness
IoE sounds fancy and, in most industries, it doesn’t get any more sci-fi than this. But how will it help you and your customers? I can’t stress enough that an Internet of Everything project has to make an actual difference for your business. If the data you gather doesn’t save out on time, money and resources or doesn’t provide the end-user with the wow-effect (which is a perfectly acceptable reason to deploy them!) I don’t see why you should even bother. Think about what you’re trying to reach and find a meaningful link with your business.
Factor 3. Security
IoE sensors gather data from outside your company walls. That’s their whole point. But what if this data is sensitive, making people want to break into your database and publish it online to make you look bad? Poor security of IoE sensors is a major issue as it’s often overlooked by businesses that are just getting started with the technology. This is because the security of sensors is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Add to this that more and more sensors are bought online, most of which are cheap and far from secure. The sad thing is, bad security only hurts when it’s already too late. When something happens, you risk irreversible reputation damage, claims and maybe even bankruptcy. In this story, caution is a good thing.
Factor 4. Middleware
Let’s say your IoE strategy is set out, your sensors have awesome batteries and there’s no way people with bad intentions gain access to your data. The next question you should ask yourself is how you’ll make sense of all the information your sensors will gather for you. This is where you need APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). They act as revolving doors that make sense of everything that comes in through the sensors, so it can be analyzed, managed and automated. APIs need to be managed, though, meaning you need to integrate an API management tool in your enterprise architecture. We can write ten books about how to do this, but sometimes it’s simpler to get people on board that will take care of the project for you. When your own IT department lacks the skills or capacity needed for an API implementation project, I therefore suggest you get an external party on board.
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What are your thoughts on the viability of the Internet of Everything? Let me know by leaving a comment