While I talked about demand side heating up for IoT in my previous blog, the supply side has seen steady investments over the last decade for both enterprise and consumer markets. Cisco and IBM were early adopters of IoT and have been working on their respective initiatives “Internet of Everything” and “Smarter Planet” since the late 2000s. The rise of consumer wearables and smart objects such as Pebble, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Fitbit, Nest (bought by Google), Amazon Echo, HTC Vive have rubbed off on the enterprise space. A range of companies have entered the market in the last five years to create a business IoT stack as well—developing MEMS chips and IoT devices, providing infrastructure, and building platforms and applications.
Despite this market activity, there are three main challenges that must be addressed as IoT moves from hype to reality-
- Security--According to Forrester’s 2016 IoT Predictions survey, 34 percent of decision makers are concerned about security issues in IoT. A recent study released by Hewlett Packard showed that 70 percent of IoT devices contain serious vulnerabilities. Recent hacks on baby monitors, driverless cars and home thermostats are just the beginning.
- Interoperability--One of the main value propositions of IoT is the network effect—the value of the network increases from the various nodes that attach to it, and the new insight derived from the entire network will be more valuable than the insight from siloed nodes. Today, however, the IoT is still disparate and disorganized. The fragmentation is at various levels—MEMS makers, original equipment manufacturers, connectivity frameworks, communication protocol standards and platforms to support application developments. Moreover, there is a dire need to migrate billions of existing devices and legacy software applications and connect them to the network. McKinsey estimates that of the potential economic value of IoT at stake, interoperability is required for 40 percent on average and for nearly 60 percent in some settings. Unless widespread migration is achieved, the full potential of IoT will be lost. One solution is to develop a shared gateway to connect, secure and manage remotely all the digital and legacy systems. Large players and industry bodies need to work together to build a common platform with standards to support a global IoT ecosystem. Discussions are ongoing; the sooner that generic, open and widely available standards are adopted as technical building blocks for IoT devices and services, the better it will be for innovation in IoT applications and the corresponding economic opportunities.
- Real-time analytics--Gartner sees the bottleneck in processing the vast amount of data from connected devices and delivering real-time analysis of multiple data streams as key reasons for slow IoT adoption. Existing analytics platforms tend to use parallel architectures to process very high-rate data streams to perform tasks such as real-time analytics and pattern identification. Traditionally, the industry has responded to the problem with more hardware to cope with high data throughput and real-time data processing. However, the key is to break free from the procedural programming. Building software to scale out multiple CPU cores is one solution. Bet365, an online betting site, uses Erlang, a language originally developed by Ericsson, to handle the vast amounts of betting transactions concurrently. The platform allows multiple and lighter concurrent systems to be processed across multiple CPU cores simultaneously. This improves the utilization of hardware while enhancing the limits of the existing processing capabilities.
Can you think of any other challenge that stops IoT to move from hype to reality? Please share.
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