If you can ignore the PR white noise plaguing the ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon and instead focus in on what the technology is and how to use it, you’ll have an easier time appreciating the fundamental principles that underpin it. Once you understand these first principles, determining exactly how IoT can help your business is a much more straightforward process. So, what are the first principles?
- When planning your IoT solution, begin with the end in mind. Do not build off older systems, but consider it a green field opportunity. Be creative and construct an innovative IoT vision.
- IoT is in part about having a more granular view of a situation, an operation, a process, or a piece of equipment, once it has been instrumented, interconnected, and had intelligence applied to it.
- Standards are still evolving, so protocols for IoT remain in flux. It is important to consider the protocols you adopt.
- IoT is natively an IPv6 technology, so if you have not started using IPv6, now is the time to begin.
- Open architecture and standards-based networks should be a part of your approach.
- Networks should be vendor-agnostic.
- All IoT wireless technologies, regardless of vendor, are classified as ‘constrained networks’, meaning they cannot handle much in the way of data rates. 10-30 kbps should be considered average.
- Intelligence needs to be pushed outward towards the edge of the network. Not all data needs to go to the centre or to the cloud. A good percentage of data will live only on the network fabric.
- Security and federated protection points – firewalls, intrusion detection and protection systems, AAA systems – all need to use an architecture that is a hybrid blend of centralized and distributed operating in concert.
- Privacy is required by legislation, so it must be respected too.
As IoT evolves, more principles will join this list. The scenario is highly dynamic and demands an agile approach. The ability to see into your systems at a highly granular level will be extremely beneficial for lowering costs, improving quality and speeding up processes. The key adage to consider pertaining to IoT is: “Situational awareness drives better and faster decision-making”. It’s this ultra-granularity that derives the greatest value for your enterprise.
Join me on December 6 for an interactive webcast, on which I’ll animate each one of these foundational first principles with industry examples from healthcare, manufacturing, smart cities and more.