IoT Evolution & Strategy Summit for CEOs – a Q&A with Carl Ford

We’ve been fans of IoT Evolution (M2M Evolution in its original formation) and have been to every show. Unlike other IoT shows (and there are new ones every day), Carl and his team truly understand deep into the technology, as well as the business cases for IoT.

As its name implies, the event is evolving. IoT Evolution is refining its focus more on the Enterprise and the impact of IoT on Businesses. Carl and I have also created a IoT Evolution Strategy Summit for CEOs. CEOs of all businesses are now having to decide where in their organization IoT implementation fits – and it’s definitely not always IT. In addition to that, we want CEOs to be able to plan for the impact IoT will have on jobs, now and far into the future. The world economy will change – for the better

Stay tuned for more information on this ½ day event (Or feel free to reach out to either of us). 

- Laura B.   

Why focus on the Enterprise? 

We face a problem I call the Pareto Paradox. The 80/20 rule applies to IoT in the following way.  We are going to see 80% of the devices created for consumer applications. Meanwhile 80% of the value of IoT will be found in Enterprise deployments.  

However, the consumer and millennial consumption of IoT is going to be a key driver in the adoption and adaptation of IoT in the workplace. As we approach the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone we need to acknowledge its impact on business and how it helped to accelerate cloud as a service solutions with the mobile first principals. 

Will the show focus on specific verticals within IoT? 

Besides IoT being a market of products, IoT is a market of solutions and services. There are as many IoT solutions as there are vertical markets and the terminology they use is based on the markets they support. 

  • Inventory management as a broad topic spans from AirBnB to ZipCars.
  • Supply Chain spans from agriculture cold chain to worldwide supply chain distributions.
    • Field operations can include automatic meter reading in smart cities to drone surveillance of Oil and Gas pipelines. 

    The terminology associated with IoT is broader than the classification. The diversity of solutions is further obscured by the ease of implementation. For operations, IoT can be a direct application and quick fix, while for IT, the sheer volume of information makes for ever-increasing feature creep as executives demand better intelligence in real time. And that assumes that operations and IT are in communication. 

    Where does IoT fit within the Enterprise? 

    A friend with a history of sheparding new technology in the Enterprise points out that it’s hard to think of IoT as a place for a champion within the corporation. You can deploy the technology within a project, but it’s hard to imagine that IoT becomes a Line of Business in its own right.

    While his point is valid, we have seen the term IoT grow in the Enterprise. Our search tools, which had no results two years ago, have now found over 200 people with IoT in their title.

    Now to be clear, we have a lot of education to do to the Enterprise. To date, we have given out more than twenty business impact awards in our history and none of the customers who implemented IoT started by asking for IoT. 

    How do you see IoT impacting business, now and in the future? 

    Connected Living is making it so that expectation is high that our surroundings are interactive with us and that we can impact change in real time with insight from our assets. Whether we are managing the machines that produce goods, the inventory of the goods, or the services that support our business and customers, the expectation is that we can gather information and improve our business intelligence. And in fact, the information and patterns will be so recognizable that the machines can learn to react appropriately. 

    A key aspect of Connect Living is how machines impact the adoption of human interaction.  You see as younger generations join the workforce their personal habits make innovation more mainstream.  So, by the time millennials hit thirty-something, the expectation is that IoT solutions like augmented reality will be part of corporate training and real-time dashboards will be part of the day-to-day workflow. 

    How these changes come into the Enterprise will not happen in a flash cut, but in a series of improvements featuring bottoms up and tops down implementations. 

    How will it influence operations? 

    The perspective of Operational IoT will feature practical improvements in alarming, monitoring and maintenance, where sensors can be used to impact production and field deployments.  In addition, machinery is being updated with new features including the use of remote support systems to help monitor and optimize these tools. 

    How can IoT and IT effectively work together? 

    For IT, the IoT puts the emphasis on information. IoT’s real-time data collection is a giant contributor to why everyone is talking about Big Data, but the value is in the understanding of how to manage the data and not just in gathering the daily flow of data streams or collecting the information in data lakes of storage. Evaluating and executing is the key to successful analytics.  However, there are some cultural hurdles to overcome since often the data seems counter intuitive and requires IT to work with operations to show the relevance of the data. 

    What do you see as the biggest benefit to the IoT? 

    The biggest benefit to IoT may not be in the lifestyle changes we receive from connected living, but the changes in Enterprise operations, management and workflow by utilizing IoT. 

    What’s your goal for IoT Evolution 2017? 

    Our goal for 2017 is to make IoT Evolution the place where IoT’s impact on business is identified, taught and highlighted, so that all aspects of IoT become referenced and lead to best practices. 

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