Today’s tech environment is multidimensional and continues to grow exponentially. The cause, the IoT (Internet of things). Primarily, one of the few definitive (and uncontroversial) descriptors about the IoT is that it’s growing and will continue to do so. Humans crave connection hence, we all love our internet-enabled devices.
So everything’s perfect, right? Wrong. There are several issues to be wrestled with.
Sizing the IoT
Studies suggest that the number of devices and sensors that form the IoT will be 42 billion by 2025, capturing data from how we work and live. Elsewhere. Other experts report that we’ll never really know how many devices are part of the IoT and estimates 85 million devices forming the current network. It’s problematic that there’s really no way of knowing how big the IoT is.
One of the many, many lessons we learned during the pandemic was the value of being connected while mobile, in the office, or WFH. Before we leap into IoT, CIOs need to ascertain how it will impact their business strategy and what potential issues we should be on the outlook for.
Market and Technology Maturity
Not every turned-on device will deliver positive outcomes because digitization isn’t just plug-and-play–at least not yet. You’ve got hardware vendors, software vendors, and app vendors, and all of these vendors need to play well together in order for your enterprise IoT to work. Plus there will probably be some degree of custom integration. And in any enterprise, there’s a mix of both old and new hardware. Plus the enterprise has both old and current versions of software and apps. And sometimes you can’t update because you’ll break an integration. To start all over with shiny, new gadgets, software and apps would be a huge upfront investment! This had led to many early adopters to IoT having negative experiences. This is a fairly common reason IoT fails.
IoT requires a savvy team with a deep bench of experience. Taking the data from a device and transforming it into actionable information takes experience that most organizations don’t have. This flexibility can be expensive to build and maintain. While a scanner and a bar code as part of a receiving and inventory management process can communicate data easily enough using a mobile app (like Laserfiche) the data from the app must be uploaded into business software and managed there. All of which require a systems integrator. (By the way, we can do this with LF and it’s pretty cool.)
Also for data to be useful for decision making it needs to aggregate and be analyzed. Organizations can use traditional analytics or machine learning. To do this some sort of dashboard will be required from a front-end developer.
Complexity–More than Expected
The IoT turned out to be more complex than experts estimated. There are so many options for connectivity, but instead of being happy about options, we are overwhelmed. Hence organizations need to choose one and limit their device and tech selections or go the painful route of having several. IoT requires a rich and adaptive, yet secure infrastructure so IT is often forced to revamp systems and make additional investments–and not everyone is up for investing in multilayered security.
While there are many, many, many types of interconnected devices, there are few interoperability standards–outside the healthcare industry. There are, however, principles, such as FAIR. FAIR suggests that digital output is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. These are also excellent practices for determining your metadata conventions in Laserfiche. Enterprises are particularly affected because one of the best methods to lower risk is to not rely on one vendor. Also, multivendor systems tend to be more robust. Some argue that mapping IT systems with operational systems is difficult. This can be the case unless you standardize metadata and security.
There are other issues to migrating completely to IoT such as security and scalability. Here at CPS, we have some pretty interesting solutions to IoT problems like the receiving and inventory management system I mentioned above. If you’d like to discuss some of your options for IoT or want to learn more about Laserfiche, please contact us.