The Internet of Things represents big opportunities businesses need to make the most of, according to Red Hat.
The company says the growing ecosystem of web-connected devices and platforms has the potential to effect major changes in many industries.
Analyst firm Gartner forecasts 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30% from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.
In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day. This will likely include smart sensors for predictive maintenance, RFID tags in retail to manage inventory, and intelligent gateways for real-time analysis and decision making at the edge of the network.
“The rate at which organisations of all sizes and from all industries are finding ways to make the IoT work for their business is astonishing,” explains Colin McCabe, director, consulting and training, Red Hat.
“Even if it is something as simple as creating a new smartphone app or inserting a monitoring platform into an existing business system, companies can tap into the potential this amazing ecosystem of devices offers,” he says.
McCabe says there are several points organisations need to consider before kicking off their IoT journey:
Involve the right team(s)
IoT planning should be a cross-enterprise endeavour involving the IT department, various business divisions, and all security operations teams.
Look for the greatest value
Define specific business objectives that can drive the greatest overall benefit, such as improved operational efficiencies or better customer experience.
Start small, aim big
Start with smaller projects that demonstrate value and create a solid business case before beginning larger-scale deployments.
An IoT infrastructure can increase an organisation’s potential attack surface, thanks to the connectivity between devices and business systems. Companies should make sure security planning needs are met before an IoT initiative is put into play.
How will the IoT initiative work in a cloud environment? This is important, as it is the cloud that will often provide the scalable platform through which those connected devices will be managed and operated, and provide a cost-effective solution for the volume of data they generate.
How will IoT devices be upgraded or repaired? How will the data be managed effectively and ethically? Develop a clear strategy for managing the IoT within the organisation.
Analyse the data
Businesses need to implement a platform that can analyse the data from the IoT devices they have tapped into, and act on that data at the right time.