Gartner fellow and vice president Kristian Steenstrup sees IoT as a transformational and differential part of modern digital businesses.
However, he believes that thorough consideration is required before undertaking a project to deploy IoT.
Speaking at Gartner’s Symposium 2015 on the Gold Coast, Steenstrup outlined ten considerations he believed prospective IoT adopters should take into account prior to deployment.
- Change to your business and industry will occur. “Don’t think because you’re in a traditional or highly regulated industry that things won’t change,” he said.
- IoT is not just another IT tool. “It’s a very different type of technology. A lot of the things happening in the IoT space are being used to control physical entities, leading to real-time interactive control systems,” he said.
Steenstrup added that IoT is closer to an engineering principle than to an IT principle, so engineers should be involved early in the project to assist with the physical aspects of the deployment.
- Know the difference between Operational Technology (OT) and IoT. “OT systems are designed for stability, longevity, reliability, safety, and the payback happens over many years,” he explained.
“Many IoT devices are consumer-grade, disposable, lower-cost, fashion-led.
“Think about the difference between consumer-grade, with its lower cost but shorter lifespan, versus what you might actually need in an industrial-grade environment.”
- Data volumes will increase. Sufficient planning is required to ensure the right level of infrastructure is implemented to support the increase, according to Steenstrup.
- Be aware of security and privacy concerns. “Understand who would want to break in and why, and how you recover from it, because ultimately, everybody has some degree of vulnerability,” he said.
“Think of security as a big picture. IoT, physical, and IT security will all have relationships to each other.”
- Be aware of over- or under-engineering your IoT solution. “You may run into problems in keeping your solution sustainable and cost-efficient,” he said.
“This stuff gets very expensive very quickly if you over-engineer it, and conversely becomes extremely vulnerable – to the point of danger – if you under-engineer it.”
- Define your scope and stick to it. “Understand what you are trying to achieve and the allocated budget and stick to that,” Steenstrup said.
“If you’re expecting to have future developments, look at future-proofing your project by building an architecture and infrastructure that can support extensions to it.”
- Most industrial software is not built to IT software standards. “A lot of that software is not architected in a way that an IT person would do it,” he said.
“If you build an IoT project based on poor legacy software, its fundamental flaws are carried forward into new products.”
- Understand ‘why’ you’re implementing IoT. Steenstrup wants CIOs to ask themselves, “Are we doing this for data access, agility, to reduce risks or costs?”
“IoT can be used to optimise, drive usage monitoring, remote control, extending information exchange and enhance customer experience. Think of these when you’re planning you’re planning your IoT project.
“Don’t just do something because it’s cool.”
- Replace project ‘ownership’ with ‘accountability’ and ‘responsibility’. “You can get alignment of standards and methods if you get people thinking about accountability and responsibility, rather than ownership,” he said.
Peter Gutierrez travelled to Gartner Symposium 2015 as a guest of Gartner.