Internet of Things Needs a Reality Check on Benefits, Privacy

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2015-11-22 Print this article Print
IoT Reality Check

That's an important point. Companies should consider what part of their existing business can be turned into a service from the use of connected devices and build from there.

A Business Plan That Brings Benefits for Everyone

In typical Silicon Valley wishful thinking, anything that makes a tech executive's life easier must naturally be something that everyone will want. Uber is terrific but it is not for everyone, nor are sensors in your athletic shirt or AI services that manage your calendar for you. These are conveniences for a minority of the world and they do not create value on the scale that is being predicted.

Application Platforms Trump Devices

Considering that there are already a lot of devices and sensors installed on machinery around the world, the best place to be is at the software layer between those devices and the cloud. CloudOne, a fast-growing startup based in Indianapolis, has found a niche developing those layers for companies, such as diesel engine maker Cummins.

Like a lot of manufactured goods, sensors exist to collect data but cannot be accessed until they are brought in for service. CloudOne built interfaces and message-queuing software that routes data into analytics platforms at Cummins, and the devices themselves don’t have to be replaced to produce useful data.

Privacy, Connectivity Standards Should Be a Top Priority

"IoT is all about connectivity," said James King of IT security company Oberthur Technologies. "But connectivity is also the biggest vulnerability that could bring it all to its knees." Truer words were never spoken. We have seen what is capable from hackers who can access devices like cars and door locks, even if it's just to show what they are capable of.

The privacy and security solution, however, starts at the standards level and there are plenty of groups out there working on standards. But these standards shouldn't be used merely for marketing the concept of IoT, but instead should be used to really lock down devices, data and personal privacy.

In 10 years, my prediction is that no one will need to discuss the "Internet of things." Everything will merely become part of the fabric of consumer and enterprise computing—if things are done right.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.



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