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Internet of Things… coming to your business soon (if it’s not already there)!

Posted By Robert Stroud, 17 November 2015

As most technologists are already aware, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is here and it’s here in force.  Not only are we seeing smart sensors and devices used for wide-scale applications like logistics, municipal applications (e.g., smart parking, traffic and air quality) and numerous other use cases, but we’re also seeing consumer applications as well: things like intelligent household appliances, automobiles, smoke detectors and thermostats.  There are even some more “fanciful” applications like a smart fork that monitors your eating habits to alert you when you’re eating too quickly.


These advances have received – and are likely to continue to receive - quite a bit of industry attention. IoT is literally everywhere: analysts are covering it, it’s in the daily headlines of the trade media, people are discussing it near-continuously in peer networking and industry conference events, and entrepreneurs are right now building businesses around it. 


It’s huge.  But there’s an elephant in the room: how to support the IoT!


Support is not covered with anywhere near the regulations that surround the other aspects of IoT.  That said, when you scratch the surface, it is as important to enterprises as the usability and functionality considerations that are getting all the attention.


Support (and security) considerations not only have far-reaching implications for IoT now, but, as these devices and usage scenarios continue to proliferate, they’re likely to become even more important.  As enterprises see more and more network-connected devices come into the technology ecosystem – these two overlooked elements are paramount to ensuring that organizations stay productive and protected in the IoT world. 


Why is there a rapid expansion of embedded computing and networking elements now more so than in the past? IoT isn’t new. In fact, the concept was discussed as far back as 1982 when a soft drink machine was integrated into the internet.[1]


Consider a hospital for example: the diagnostic equipment (like MRI machines and other imaging devices) are IP-connected – as are biomedical tools like patient monitors, lab equipment, medicine dispensers and most of the rest of the clinical environment. In manufacturing or energy, it’s industrial control systems. In retail, it’s points of sale.  All throughout the corporate world, there are purpose-built “utility” devices that have embedded computing and network capability. 


What’s different now is scale! In the past, adding these networking and computing elements to a device was comparatively expensive and difficult to engineer (for example due to size and power considerations). From a cost perspective alone, integration of these capabilities could raise the purchase price of the device enough to make that integration impractical. What’s happening now? Costs are coming down and quickly!


So what are the opportunities and implications for your organizations and your role as a service manager? To find out, you will need to join my session at the ITSMF UK conference.  In my session at #ITSM15, I will not only introduce you to the IoT; in this session we will embark on a journey, not of your imagination but rather of the realities for your organisation and more importantly your role.


Are you ready? Is your organization ready? Join me at the ITSMF UK Conference on Monday November 23 at 2:15pm – the details are here - where we will embark on our mutual journey to the IoT!


PS If you cannot attend the session or can and would like to undertake a pre-session review,  take a look at the ISACA guidance and research into nine key questions to ask to improve IoT risk management. This includes questions about support considerations, responsibility for monitoring, risk management, etc.




Robert E. Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, (@RobertEStroud) is the immediate past international president of ISACA and serves as the Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, Infrastructure & Operations




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