Enterprise Services Blog IoT: Who Needs It? Why Should I Care?

IoT: Who Needs It? Why Should I Care?

  • March 19, 2015

By Marc Wilkinson

IoT: Who needs it? Why should I care?

There’s no denying it. The Internet of Things was a huge headline at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. Interacting with industry experts, attendees, and customers at this event solidified my thoughts – IoT will be big, but people continue to struggle to define “at what”.

Industry analysts continue to say IoT is going to be big. But there are some key considerations we need to make as we plan for the massive amounts of devices, data, and connections. These forceful changes really hit home with three concepts that came through loud and clear at Mobile World Congress.

IoT has arrived and it is massive

First, let’s change our frame of reference to appreciate the size of the potential IoT brings. We tend to think of IoT as being sensors plugged into devices and networks, rather we should expand the possibilities that anything and everything can be connected. George Yianni, Philips Lighting, put forward a very compelling case that IoT is ALREADY BIG, when you consider there are already 50-60 billion artificial lights in the world, which are increasingly becoming connected, this equates to seven light points for every human on the planet! This dwarfs Gartner’s estimate of over 50 billion connected devices by 2020. To put this into context, Philips Lighting sold 14 billion light bulbs in 2014, while there are 1.28 billion mobile phones sold.

Wilkinson IoT 3.gif Wilkinson IoT 1.jpg

(MWC2015 – The Business of IoT discussion sessions, “Lighting Has Changed…”, by George Yianni, Philips Lighting)

As Philips Lighting explored a vision of an intelligent building, they worked through gaining an understanding of where people were physically in the building to adjust temperatures, lighting, services, and other utilities. All that is predicated on the concept that artificial light is able to be a data point. These connected light bulbs become a critical data source that helps humans live and thrive under artificial light. We are all under the umbrella of things that could be a source of data.

Get data under control

Second, the emphasis is now on how to consume data and use it to make life or business decisions. Use the data to influence innovation in your business. The challenge herein is that connected sensors have the potential to give you more data than you can handle. This can lead to difficulty making sense of it all. The HP Machine allows for faster analysis of massive amounts of data, therefore information is readily analyzed and decisions are made. What happens when you’re bogged down by unnecessary data?

IoT still feels very young and immature and can make you feel like you are pushing cooked spaghetti across a table. It’s no surprise, the IoT opens the door to far more data. However we tend to not know what to do with all that data. It is critical to solve the analysis and insight problem to make sense of the information we are collecting in order to use it in meaningful ways.

Measurable benefits to meet your business needs

IoT has great appeal, but most of the world is not able to appreciate or understand why they should care. In part this is because of the (epic) failure of the smart meter when it was first introduced – people still think of the smart meter when they think of IoT. Utility companies pushed smart meters in an effort to presumably produce more accurate billing. The only benefit that truly resulted, however, was the company didn’t have to send anyone out to read your meter. This is well and good, but it doesn’t translate to a true benefit to the customer. This change generated mistrust and skepticism amongst customers leaving them thinking “What’s in it for me?”

Another example is a contactless ticket used for passenger ticketing on the subway system. In moving to an electronic ticket every passenger becomes a data point – not only routing information but also speed. Passengers are no longer just a ticket. Now, when passengers ride the subway, they are entities with a specific identification and the system can understand patterns, which presents valuable insight into data offering opportunities to make important business decisions – both for the subway system, such as determining how to manage its network, identifying new opportunities around advertising, and managing its facilities.

When Apple introduced the BEACON technology there was a lot of skepticism, yet in reality it was subtle to the user, and they perceived value in the form of location based information or offers.  Users were ok with being “tracked” because of the perceived value.

In reality, the examples people cite continue to be pretty focused or boring. Use cases need to be right and relevant rather than simply push the key technology play. You are likely already impacted by connected devices in your everyday life. Companies are looking for measurable business benefits and customers are looking for a more equitable value proposition.

Without compelling use cases, the IoT is just a huge source noise in a Big Data lake. The combination of connected devices, collection of data, and use cases bring about interesting prospects for enterprises and governments to better manage their business and serve their customers and citizens.

Internet of Things is here. Are you still waiting to make your plan?

The Internet of Things is already here. It’s already a big and ever-expanding force across all industries. Don’t wait for smart meters, sensors, fobs, or other connected devices offering data collection. Learn how to gather data available now and use it to advance your enterprise. How are you maximizing your business decisions using IoT? What use cases and devices are you incorporating into your enterprise environment?


About the Author
Marc Wilkinson, Chief Technologist and Mobility, Workplace & Network Service Global Practice Lead, Hewlett Packard Company. Marc Wilkinson is the business leader for the combined portfolios delivering traditional managed workplace services and enterprise mobility services in HP Enterprise Services (ES). In this role, Marc provides the overall business leadership and strategy for all services across the Enterprise Mobility Management, Managed Workplace services and enabling technologies. His team manages the strategy, portfolio management, and service design and engineering. Additionally, Marc is part of the ES Office of the Chief Technology Officer, where he leads the emerging technologies group that focuses on introducing innovation from the Applied Innovation team, HP Labs, or other organizations into the ES portfolio of services and capabilities.