The term Internet of Things (IoT) became firmly entrenched in our vernacular in 2014. Technology advancements brought us closer to the promise of billions of connected devices throwing off knowledge with tremendous commercial value and quite possibly the ability to solve some of mankind’s most urgent problems.
The advances have been immense, but the IoT is still in its infancy. The IoT’s great potential is matched by great challenges to widespread implementation, consumer acceptance, and security. As far as we have come, much remains to be done to make reality match our collective vision.
Data Informed asked several experts to weigh in with their predictions for what IoT developments await us in 2015.
Don DeLoach, president and CEO of Infobright and a member of the Data Informed Board of Advisers, sees scrutiny around security and standards increasing in 2015, with the goal of making the IoT less susceptible to data breaches.
“Currently, there is no wholesale solution that exists to address the security concerns facing the IoT,” he said. “We have seen ample evidence of (hackers) taking over smart TVs or highjacking smart refrigerators – in which there is a legitimate cause for concern if security does not become a priority for the players involved in the IoT landscape. The marketplace in 2015 will become ripe for any organization offering security solutions to make the IoT less hackable.
“The bigger, macroscopic issues will also start to be more fully embraced since global adoption of the Internet of Things will only happen when there is agreement on broad adoption standards in technology,” he added. “2015 will be the year when someone, whether an industry group or private company, steps up to establish the standards that will be accepted worldwide to ensure the proper technology is carried out to deliver on what the IoT promises. Contemplations of everything from naming conventions and definitions like the ONS (Object Naming Service, derived from DNS), to the utilization of IPv6, to the exploitation of a variety of standards as they settle in will have significant implications on how IoT devices are utilized, secured, and how the overall supporting infrastructure evolves.”
Joe Caserta, president and CEO of Caserta Concepts, agreed that security and standardization will be focus points in 2015.
“There are technology challenges ahead that include how best to manage diverse devices, integrating and safely applying the volumes of data generated, addressing issues such as privacy, and navigating the rapid change and evolution of devices and delivery systems. Great strides in standardization, integration, and security of these new datasets will be made (in 2015) as well.”
DeLoach also sees lingering questions around governance being addressed in the coming year.
“The issues surrounding governance have been one of the toughest to address,” he said. “Who owns the data? Who administers the data? Who determines how data standards are set? Answers to these questions will become a lot clearer in 2015, especially on an international scale. There will be pressure to force some kind of consensus, but it’s not quite clear yet who will take the charge. A likely candidate to emerge as a leader in introducing international governance is The World Trade Organization, but other players, such as private companies and other industry groups, will certainly add their names into the mix this coming year.”
Caserta predicts that, in the coming year, the IoT will have the greatest consumer benefit in the healthcare industry.
“With big data and analytics feeding off the IoT, I predict nowhere will the ‘data-fueled’ consumer see greater benefit than in the healthcare industry. The analysis of data, from the near ubiquity of Electronic Medical Records and information flowing in from electronic medical devices and mobile health monitors, will enhance the diagnostic power of professionals in the medical community and give patients a larger and more active role as well. Tailored strategies for curing the sick and encouraging and maintaining health are gaining ground every day with the medical community, technology sector, and consumers.
“The IoT and connected devices means shared information and shared responsibilities not only between patient, medical provider, and insurance payer, but also between large and small medical technology innovation companies,” he added.” The larger companies, already established in the medical community, will maintain their credible market presence and name recognition. Smaller, younger, tech-forward companies have cloud computing and analytics expertise that will share the stage and be pursued for partnerships. The result will be personalized technology solutions that give consumers digital control and the medical community the resources needed to deliver quality care.”
As the Internet of Things continues to develop, the amount of data it produces will grow exponentially, presenting a challenge to organizations looking to collect, store, and analyze these mountains of new data.
“In the early days of the Internet of Things, data collection will be vast, staggeringly more so than IT shops are used to dealing with,” said Jake Freivald, vice president for corporate marketing at Information Builders. “We already see people collecting far more data than they know what to do with, then “hadumping” all sorts of data into Hadoop clusters without knowing how the data is going to be used. They are treating data the way I treat the junk that ends up in my garage.”
Freivald said he sees what he calls “big documentation” growing up alongside the IoT.
“Ultimately, data has to be used in order for it to have value,” he said. “And the use of data isn’t going to be constrained by technology per se, but by the curation process for all of the data – structured, unstructured, semi-structured, big, small, individual records, big batches, you name it. Where we once placed value in the people who understood the data model, in 2015 we’ll start to place value in the people who know where the different pieces of data live. And that knowledge can’t just live in a person’s head, so big documentation is around the corner.”
Bill Jacobs, vice president of product marketing at Revolution Analytics, echoed Freivald’s view that organizations will begin to mine value from vast data stores in 2015.
“In 2014, corporations were focused on building data landfills,” he said. “And in 2015, we will see significant insights harvested from those landfills.”
Ram Pothula, founder and CEO of Dragonfly Data Factory, sees the applications for wearable devices and handhelds expanding in 2015.
“The popularity of handheld and wearable devices rose in 2014 due to the miniaturization of technology,” he said. “In 2015, wearables will move away from their current narrow focus on consumer health and fitness applications into enterprise-friendly devices, representing a significant shift. Using wearables, leading companies will offer their customers and employees a new level of experience, fostering greater customer loyalty and improved business productivity toward monetization.”
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