The Internet of Things has the potential to unlock unparalleled levels of insight and knowledge not previously available, according to the CEO of the Knowledge Economy Institute (KEi), Mike Briers.

But he said that the industry needed to collaborate better, in part because the inherent complexity of IoT solutions means that attempting to fly solo is not an option.

“In the Internet of Things world, you only have to look at the technology stack in terms of whether it’s sensors, the communication network, the data platform, the analytics, the user experience, or security and privacy to realise that it’s very difficult for one organisation to get their head around all of it,” he said.

"What we’re starting to see is firms with expertise in those different areas work out how to effectively collaborate in order to deliver something to the end user.”

Briers said that the essence of IoT is to create a system to measure ‘things’ to support a decision at the end of the data-gathering and analysis process, “effectively rendering things - that are otherwise invisible to us – visible.”

“IoT is a game-changer, and quite distinctive from the broader area of big data,” he said.

The power of IoT-derived data

Briers believes “the value of [IoT] data increases with its circulation”, and his work with the KEi involves finding ways for companies and researchers – who have traditionally been protective of their data – to make it available to others for the benefit of everybody.

Briers described two schools of thought on the notion of IoT data collection and distribution.

Firstly, the idea of “measure it and they will come", which he said is currently being demonstrated through internet connectivity being embedded into new products.

Briers cites Bosch as an example of this approach. It is embedding connectivity capability under the assumption that someone will find a use for it on any given device they manufacture.

Briers’ second IoT data theory centres around “measuring what really matters.”

“This is sometimes missing from Internet of Things conversations, where you can start with a problem and then you can measure the attributes and the environments you need to help solve that problem,” he explained.

As an extension of this, Briers added that the notion of co-creation - where the end users themselves describe the issues they face which then contributes to the development and creation of an IoT solution – enables companies “to focus on end user problems and work their way back.”