Why You Need to Focus on IoT Device Management4 Minute Read

 In IoT

The cloud is most definitely one of the most transformational technology architectures of the past several years as companies have utilized it to digitally transform their organizations and services.  The cloud brings with it near limitless scalability and agility as well as unrivaled levels of redundancy.  Those who recognized the value of migrating their resources and assets to the cloud have enjoyed the dividends of this new approach to delivering workloads.  However, there is another facet of the cloud that most companies are just beginning to utilize, that in itself could be equally transformational – the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Coming Wave of Devices
Estimates are that there will be 28 billion connected devices in the world by 2020.  Other estimates are as high as 50 billion.  Yes, some of these devices will be cameras, thermostats and appliances hosted by consumers in their homes, but a large share will be hosted by businesses and organizations.  In fact, the average company will have 10 times as many devices as employees by the coming decade.  This compared to just 3.5 just a few years ago.  This of course translates into a forthcoming wave of IoT capitalization investment.  Global spending for 2016 amounted to somewhere around $737 billion, and, according to IDC, will reach $1.3 trillion by 2020.

The Benefits
Analytics is what gives data value.  When data is combined with analytics, it creates actionable intelligence that drives innovation.  Up until recently, companies have only centered upon structured data.  The goal of analytics is to liberate ALL data. By properly integrating IoT devices with analytics, companies can gain hidden insights in data that was once unobtainable or too costly to process.  With structured data, management asks the questions.  With IoT analytics, the data begins dictating the questions.

Businesses today are contending with ever-shortening product development cycles, diminishing price margins and the possible proliferation of industry disruptors at any time.   It is these and other challenges that are stimulating the voracious craving for information today in order for companies to to deliver and act upon “what they know” as quickly as possible.  For instance, GE estimates that a 1% improvement in productivity across its own global manufacturing base translates to $500 million in annual savings.  They further project that a 1% improvement in industrial productivity could add as much as $1 trillion to worldwide GDP each year for the coming decade.

Perhaps the greatest example of the way in which IoT is revolutionizing processes today is the healthcare industry.   Not only is IoT inspiring new applications, tools and workflows into the healthcare enterprise, but the use of IoT outside of hospitals and the doctor’s office for remote patient monitoring is improving the level of care for patients.  Benefits include:

  • Higher patient engagement – IoT makes it easier for patients to play an active role in their treatments
  • Educating patients – Patients can now use apps and software to access their own health data and witness their progress firsthand.
  • Reduced costs – Remote monitoring translates into reduced doctors’ visits and these greater efficiencies that IoT injects into workflows creates cost savings
  • Reduced errors –  The error rate considerably drops when data is collected and transmitted automatically via automated workflows rather than manual collection reporting

Which is why there is so much interest in IoT. The process of embedding nearly any object with a sensor to compute data and then transferring that information through a network without human intervention to a data center where it can be analyzed in real time holds unprecedented value.

The Challenges of IoT
The deployment of so many devices into our organizations can quickly translate into chaos without a well thought out embedded management system.  When you manage your devices, you are also managing the relationship you have with your customers.  An IoT device is no different from any enterprise computing smart device.  It needs a client to integrate with software orchestration.  If you are thinking about an IoT implementation, you first need to think about device management.

And then there is the issue of security.  IoT devices were not conceived necessarily with security in mind, and hackers have been taking full advantage of that fact for years now.  IoT botnets are regularly used in DDOs attacks, email spamming and credential stuffing attacks.  What’s more, the reality is that IoT is an extension of your network and not some isolated independent silo.  Without the proper security implementations, it becomes the weak link entry point into your enterprise.  Fortunately, there are companies today such as ForeScout that allow you to see and control all of your IoT devices.

The potential ROI on IoT investment is enormous, but the path to creating that value can be a challenging road for those unfamiliar with the hurdles of IoT integration.  Your datacenter required intricate planning, and so does your IoT infrastructure.

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