The Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to provide massive business opportunities and equally significant data headaches.

The bigger the IoT gets, the bigger the potential problems. But no one really knows how many devices will ultimately be connected, so no one can predict with confidence the real scope of the problem.

To find out more, turned to Bart Schouw, Director of IBO Solutions (Intelligent Business Operations) for Germany-based Software AG, which just released a list of eight insights on the IoT.

How Big?

So how big is the IoT destined to be? That's debatable, he said, especially because IoT devices doesn’t necessarily mean data points. One device could produce several streams of information from several sensors.

“You can buy a smart car, for example, which is technically a single device. However, in that car there are going to be a number of different chips harvesting different kinds of information,” he said.

If we count all the data points on each device, the IoT likely explode wider than predicted. "The idea that a single device will be single data point is a bit simplified. You will see some devices consisting of many sensors producing much more data,” he said.

So expect big numbers: bigger perhaps even than the 20 billion to 30 billion companies like Gartner and Cisco have predicated.

So Good or Bad?

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is an opportunity that is rapidly making its way into every industry, but it also poses a real time threat if companies are not prepared, “Schouw said.

While information can stream into the enterprise at ever-increasing rates, it is only as useful as the insights that can be gained — and only if those insights are in real time.

“If you thought big data was a challenge, wait till you start trying to deal with this. It’s basically big data on steroids. Not only will it be bigger, but the variety will be much bigger as will the number of things that can actually talk to you,” he said.

Already, he warns, there's a need for greater regulation and security.

“The Internet of Things is a revolution. There will be serious threats to those who are not prepared and profitable opportunities for those who are issues such as security and governance will need to be addressed as IoT begins to impact more and more of our daily lives,” he said.

And Now, The Top 8 Things

  1. Don’t Gamble: All things that haven’t been verified need to be treated as Untrustworthy Things. Keep them under close surveillance and monitor their behavior. The traditional method of on-boarding "Things" using explicit authorization is insufficient as IoT proliferates.     
  2. Tap Analytics: The real value of the IoT is in the data sensors provide, so connecting with the IoT is pointless without analytics. Analytics will evolve both in the cloud and on the “outer edge”— either on the IoT itself or on a gateway nearby.
  3. Hello, Virtual Assistant: The IoT will enable consumers to adopt a “virtual assistant,” which will act in a semi-autonomous manner in the home — monitoring sensor-enabled Things to replenish light bulbs, order prescription medicines or buy groceries online.
  4. Pay-As-You-Go:  The Internet of Things will accelerate the pay-as-you-go business model, where products will have something “smart” embedded within them to tell manufacturers how and when you use it – and to enable them to collect money for usage.
  5. Brush Up on Math: People with mathematical skills will be actively recruited by IoT providers and workers with mathematical skills will be in high demand.
  6. Expect More Regulation: As the IoT gets bigger, regulators will learn that security leaks can happen anywhere. This will force regulators to evolve compliance and governance to provide a legal framework for IoT.
  7. Smarter Cities: There will be a convergence of IoT and smart cities with municipal governments enacting new regulations to ensure adequate risk management.
  8. Data Doomsday:  Organizations need to recognize they need robust, advanced solutions on specialized digital business platforms or they will drown in data.

IoT and Software AG

About 95 percent of companies expect to experience benefits due to the emergence of IoT in the next two years. But a majority (65 percent) find that analyzing big data in real time is very difficult and nearly 75 percent are struggling to get proper analytics from their current data flow.

“The problem is that the devices or sensors are not intelligent and can’t decide what data to send and or not. Instead it will keep streaming data [into the enterprise]. The challenge is to figure out what data is providing value, “he said.

IoT is already established in the manufacturing sector. That means it has strong roots in Germany, where manufacturing is an important economic activity. 

The result, he added, is that the IoT has the full attention of the top management and Software AG is investing heavily in IoT-related technologies and companies.

“We think that by taking this forward, the IoT is giving us an interesting edge and strategic advantage. We’re not there yet. We continue to invest and add new things, and enriching it and making it better. Our vision is maturing as well. We are understanding better what we need and what customers expect from an IoT platform,” he said. 

Simpler Media Group, 2015