The Growing Up of IoT

Collaboration between IT and OT results in a quantum leap for digital transformation.

Three decades after the rise of the Internet of People, the world is getting connected by the Internet of Things, which is of a totally different order, because of its potential.

For some people, the endless possibilities of IoT are frightening. Will there be jobs if machines take over their daily tasks? IoT devices are a largely unregulated new technology. What about the impact on our social lives? Legal concerns? Ethical questions? What if computers can make themselves smarter and reduce the importance of human intervention to nothing?

Progress optimists such as Bill Gates, Bob Iger and – closer to home – Jo Caudron and Geert Noels, believe IoT can be the solution for some major world problems. They are convinced that IoT will lead to positive effects, such as the decrease of human health risk, combating waste, increasing access to education in remote underserved communities.

The IoT is changing the way we work and collaborate. The digital transformation is also called the fourth industrial revolution. Organisations that can take advantage of the unique capabilities delivered by IoT devices, will soon see even more features, functionalities and productivity from their IoT connected ecosystems.

There are very interesting examples that show the value of IoT, in the most various verticals. In the Netherlands for example, Watercloud – a modern collaboration platform that helps hydrologists to rise the challenge with climate change and increasing drought – is a masterly example of the collaboration between IT and OT.
‘Things’ like smart meters, facial recognition and enterprise focused wearables (biometric security) show that cloud solutions for IoT devices are on the rise. Data science is becoming a mature field.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet… New technologies as 5G will accelerate digital transformation and the evolution of artificial intelligence. All with the same goal: the increase of efficiency and productivity. In particular for business critical IoT devices, 5G will unlock massive possibilities for various use cases. But… the cost is correspondingly. For many organisations, there will be no option during the next few years to replace their network to be 5G ready. There will be early adopters (maybe transportation or logistics?) but most industrial organisations will have to continue with their existing infrastructure for several years, among which some equipment that is even older than the emergence of the internet. This exposes formerly isolated systems to threats inherent to the internet. The equipment itself can be very diverse and more or less intelligent. From an operational point of view, there is a need for a universal ‘control system’ that collects data from all types of devices and brings it together.

The future will be one where people and machines will work with each other. And so will the traditional internet and the internet of things.

So, two points that organisations have to be aware of:
First and foremost: interconnectivity is key. It is the reason for existance of IoT.
Secondly: every ‘thing’ is a potential risk and needs to be protected. The damage of an attack on an IoT network can be so much bigger than on a traditional network.

Thank God for those companies who are looking for a companion, that both connectivity and security are embedded in the DNA of Netleaf.

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