The Internet of your things
|Issued by: CIO Council of South Africa|
[Johannesburg, 23 February 2016]
Machine-to-machine technologies have been in existence for a number of years, but the melding together of cheaper, low-power sensors, improved connectivity and the capabilities enabled by the cloud has elevated the possibilities significantly.
By giving previously inanimate objects a voice, connecting them together and feeding those inputs into a computerised brain, the Internet of things (IOT) is fast becoming more than a science-fiction pipe-dream. This merger of technologies is creating a business platform for new revenue streams, as well as enhancing cost savings, increasing operational efficiencies, and improving decision-making, says the CIO Council of South Africa.
However, while the technology topology is within grasp and business benefits are numerous, the reality of its adoption seems a little different. Few organisations are, as yet, unlocking the real value of IOT. And for South Africa, with its strong history of engineering prowess and ingenuity, and numerous businesses founded on machine-to-machine technology this seems like a wasted opportunity for local organisations to really stake a claim. IOT is not far from our collective reach, so why are the real-life examples so hard to come by?
Undeniably, it's a daunting new world for the CIO, who's already trying to grapple with balancing the demands of business and technology – keeping the lights on while implementing exciting innovations. And the nexus of IT forces are coming thick and fast, leaving little breathing room. Now, on top of that, the CIO also needs to deal with the plethora of new requirements from operational technology being added into an already-complex enterprise architecture. For IOT success, the CIO and their team will need to engage with the operational parts of the business to walk them through the possibilities and potential IOT offers.
Moving to an IOT world needn't be scary or overwhelming in complexity though. It's not a rip-and-replace scenario; you can start by building on your existing infrastructure, using familiar devices and services in new ways, and incorporating the right technology to ultimately help you use data to create insights and make more informed business decisions.
Who knows? With the right thinking and application, adding sensors and connectivity to a fleet of vehicles today, could evolve to incorporating a group of robots into the workforce of tomorrow.
The key, of course, is that the journey has to begin sometime, and with IOT technology ready now is as good a time as any. In this issue of Transformer, we look at taking what was, just a few short years ago, the work of science fiction and incorporating those technologies into business strategy for competitive advantage. Specifically in these pages, we look at the realities and considerations of implementing the Internet of things, and the implications of some of the related technology evolutions, such as machine learning and robotics.