The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Is the IoT going to be under the control of the CIO?

Internet of things.png

As we shift from the internet of people (moving beyond the smartphone era) to the Internet of Things (IoT) some of our assumptions for the IT organization and its value may no longer be valid. According to IDC, the IoT will become so prevalent that by 2020 that more than 212 billion devices around the world will be connected. That’s the equivalent of 27 devices per person on earth.

 

There are a few drivers for this increase in adoption. Those are advances in:

  • Sensing capabilities – allowing broader and deeper understanding
  • Power management and consumption – enabling devices that are smaller, last longer and are more autonomous
  • Networking – permitting machine to machine and greater process collaboration

There are actually predictable changes. The three exponential laws that enable the shift in value are:

This shift is already happening in the consumer space, but the question remains “What will the CIO’s role be,” when it happens in industry? Many CIOs spend all their time focused on systems of record, those systems that track all the transactions of a business. IoT implementations are in a different domain all together.

 

The primary consumers of these implementations may be different as well. These are the sources of the abundance of data I’ve mentioned earlier. The IT organization should have the skills to understand what the implications of:

  • Transporting all that data and the interconnection required
  • Storing the information for later use
  • Analyzing the data to actually generate value
  • Automating the response so that people don’t become overwhelmed – systems of action

But the big question for most will be if they willing to invest now so they can have the influence and impact when it is needed. It’s not a foregone conclusion.

Will the Internet of Things lead to passive oversharing?

 

security compromize.pngLast week there was a twitterChat by CIO magazine and the Enterprise CIO forum on ‘the Internet of Things and the effect on the CIO’. During this discussion someone asked “Are there security issues (particularly for the consumer)?” Everyone can probably agree that there are significant concerns that everyone needs to be aware as they strap on more and more devices.

 

One of these concerns relates to a story from a few years back. Then, there was quite a bit of discussion about Super Cookies. This techniques uniquely identified computers by their software versions, installed software… the kind of thing that can be gathered via JavaScript. Nothing had to be stored on the computer itself, like a normal cookie.

 

A similar technique can be applied to uniquely identify a consumer. What devices are they carrying…? Essentially, tracking people by what emissions they are emanating or consuming. Like the Super Cookie, this technique can track and record user behavior across multiple sites. Devices like cell phones are always transmitting "here I am" infromation. BlueTooth and WiFi can also be set to respond to external emissions.

 

Once you can track individual’s movement and interests, you can use that to predict future behavior and act upon it – much like what was demonstrated in the site pleaserobme.com. This site used individual’s social site usage to understand when they were away from home -- except in this case it is passive oversharing by our IoT devices that is the concern. Right now people view this as just a retail experience enabler so they are not freaking out.

 

But this passive surveillance is one area that will likely be scrutinized very closely in the coming years. Those who create devices need to be very aware of what is shared and utilize as much of the security capabilities that are available to keep passive sharing to a minimum.

 

It is not just about recognizing people who come into a retail area. For those who own devices, we need to be aware of what they emit, when and what controls are available to limit them. If it is possible to drive down a street and know which houses are occupied and which are not just by their IoT emissions, there are definitely people who will take advantage.

 

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy

working.pngThere is a tweet chat tomorrow that I’ll try to sit in on at Noon Central titled: Should CIOs care about the Internet of Things? Use #CIOchat, to see the interaction.

 

I have the Future of Service Innovation Conference next week where I’ll be giving the closing remarks on a Service Futures Call to Action.

 

We have HPs global technical conference in early April and an NSF sponsored services research session in Washington DC coming up the 2nd week of April.

 

It is clear that there is a great deal of focus on the changing world of Services and IT. Hopefully that will give me some more things to think and post about here.

 

And of course, I still have my real job to do too – when you’re a mobile worker you just get it done wherever you can.

Better questions???

 

question and analytics.GIFI keep seeing articles stating the need for CIOs to think strategically if they want to be thought of as strategic by the business. To me this means there is a need to focus on better questions to meet the business needs, not just better answers.

 

A focus on answers (almost by definition) means that someone came up with the question and you’re just reacting. With the kinds of strategic techniques available fueled by the abundance of information available, we should be able to look at the opportunities in new ways, coming up with new perspectives and possibilities.

 

What new questions do you have? Who do you think can answer them??

 

Will all business people need to be data scientists?

data scientist.jpgI heard a co-worker say the other day that at the rate we’re going, all business people will need to be data scientists. They were making a bit of an overstatement, but it is true that the manipulation of data to generate value is becoming more important. In talking with a number of CIOs it was interesting to note that there was quite a bit of effort and concern in this space.

 

A while back I saw a post on why data without a soul is meaningless – No Star Trek Next Generation fans, I am not talking about that Data. That post had some thought provoking views on the role of data.

 

At the Compete through Service Symposium last week, at the panel I was part of, someone asked about the importance of data vs. environment the data came from in the decision making process. They were pointing to the fact that people don’t make decisions based upon data in isolation, they make decisions based on the context the data describes.

 

Will CIOs need to have special skills or enable their teams in certain ways to make that context universally more positive? In talking with a number of CIOs in Dallas this week, it seemed that they all view there are a few ways that the CIO role needs to shift based upon these changes:

 

  1. CIOs need to have core skills in that context alignment. Stop talking about technology and focus more on business value improvement

  2. 3rd party management is key, since rarely are organizations going it alone any more

  3. Experiment – there is no one right answer so try to use the data available in new and different ways

     

They may not all need to become data scientists, but the CIO has a significant role to play in sorting out how and what the business will need to take advantage of the abundance of data available.

Tags: CIO| Context
Labels: CIO| Context
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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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