According to Accenture, The Industrial Internet of Things has the potential to add more than $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030. In addition, IoT solutions are also set to revolutionise a wide range of other sectors too, from transportation and urban planning to retail and healthcare.
However, in order to fully realise IoT’s extraordinary potential, executive leadership teams need to first address a number of technical and talent management issues.
The right IT standards
Many IoT devices, particularly in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), need to be interoperable, directly communicating with each other in a process known as machine-to-machine communication (or M2M).
However, in order for IoT devices to be truly interoperable they need to be developed using standardised network protocols and communication protocols.
Similarly, many IoT devices offer greater value when the data they generate can be aggregated with data from other sources to provide fuller, more actionable insights, but the data from disparate datasets can usually only be aggregated if there is some kind of standardisation in how that data is stored and analysed.
The issue is that, although the Internet of Things is growing at an extraordinary rate, in many ways the technology is still in its infancy, meaning there remains a host of competing protocols with different developers favouring different solutions. In order for organisations to realise the full potential of the Internet of Things, the network protocols, communication protocols and data aggregation protocols for IoT solutions need to be standardised.
The right skill sets
Deploying and managing IoT devices in a commercial or industrial setting currently requires a specific set of technical skills, but as we pointed out in a recent article almost 60% of executives believe their workforce lacks the necessary expertise in using the digital interfaces and digitised processes that are a cornerstone of the Internet of Things, while 48% believe their staff don’t yet have the required skills to understand and analyse IoT data and a further 48% feel their current workforce lacks the necessary understanding of AI and machine learning.
Part of the problem is a global talent shortage in the technology sector in general, as well as in the Internet of Things field more specifically. To address this issue many organisations will need to look internally, taking people with transferable technical skills, such as programming, electrical engineering, computer networking and analytics, and moving them across to grow their IoT teams.
More long term, though, a key strategy executives can use to address the IoT skills shortage is to ensure their organisation’s Internet of Things technologies are designed and deployed in such a way that any employee can manage, monitor and use them, regardless of their professional background or personal skillset.
The right data management capabilities
When deploying Internet of Things technologies in a commercial or industrial setting organisations are likely to find themselves on the receiving end of an avalanche of data.
Of course, that is precisely the point, because that IoT data has the potential to help organisations reduce costs and increase revenues, but in order to realise this potential they need to enhance their data management capabilities.
Without a tool to aggregate disparate, unstructured datasets and analyse them to identify key trends and patterns the flood of data generated by an organisation’s IoT devices would represent little more than ‘dark data’ – information that organisations pay to collect and store, but fail to use for analytical purposes.
In fact, according to a report published by Gartner last year, approximately 25% of organisations that attempt to use IoT data will abandon their efforts before deployment ever occurs because their data management capabilies aren’t suited to the Internet of Things.
Relational databases, such as SQL, are one of the most commonly used data management solutions today, but they are less suitable for the Internet of Things because relational databases require structured data while IoT datasets are inherently unstructured.
The key to realising the full potential of the Internet of Things, then, is deploying a non-relational database such as NoSQL – and then combining that database with a dedicated big data analytics solution that can be used to transform the ‘dark data’ into valuable commercial insights.
The right leadership team
If your organisation is at the forefront of your industry then you will already be in the process of exploring how the right leadership team can help you realise the full potential of the Internet of Things. That’s where we come in.
Miramar Executive Search Consultants have an extensive understanding of the digital transformation process and how the right leaders can help organisations embrace technological innovations. Our consultants and researchers reach globally to source the best executives for your organisation. Contact Miramar today – we have offices in the UK, the USA and Asia.