First, my caveat – I’m not a techie. I understand how business can use technology, but I’ve never really been that interested in bits and bytes and gigahertz. So, what follows is my personal reflection on my foray into the arena of IoT from the recent Cisco IoT World Forum, where over 2 days, we heard from some inspirational industry leaders, futurists, and geeks. All views are strictly my own, and whilst I am vouch for my honesty and intent, I can’t necessarily vouch for it's accuracy. Some of this might be basic for you, some of it might be new – but hopefully, there’s some useful examples and stats which might help you in your journey.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to :-

  • Lay out the landscape for the monumental rise in IoT, and some of the pitfalls early adopters have discovered
  • Discuss the role smart networks will play in bringing it together
  • Introduce “blockchain for the skeptical”
  • Reflect on the need for security embedded throughout the design rather than as a pre-deployment afterthought
  • Look at the role of people in this revolution, and especially the talent shortage
  • Identify the need for a new ethical and moral framework to guide us
  • Bring you some useful real world examples

So here goes…


“72% of CEOs believe that the next 3 years will be more significant for their business models than the previous 50 years” (Forbes Insights, 2016 Global CEO Outlook). This is being fuelled by a combination of seismic events coming together, including automation, advanced analytics, mobility, and the internet of things. We stand at a pivotal point where the possibilities are limitless, and we can only start to imagine how our world will look like in 10 years time.

IoT is already making itself felt in areas such as transportation, healthcare and automotive, as well as in our personal technology choices such as smart homes and wearable tech. However, it’s about to go mainstream, and impact on most areas of our public and commercial lives.

Looking at the VC investment as a lead indicator, over the past 5 years, $7bn has been invested in industrial IoT companies. Indeed Gartner have found that today, 15% of companies have 3 or more IoT programmes running; by 2020, this will be 75% - at this stage, there will be 1m new connected devices added every hour.

However, these early initiatives are proving harder than expected - only 26% of IoT initiatives have successfully completed, with 15% failing completely, and the remainder either still running or being deferred. There are 3 main issues, which have resulted in time and budget overruns, which in turn have undermined determination to broaden their scope:-

  • Quality of data - fragmented, partial, non-conformed, inconsistent hierarchies (including time)
  • Internal expertise – largest challenge for many is the lack of talent with the right skills
  • IoT integration – with so many different devices from different sources, the need for interoperability is critical, as are smarter networks which can automate much of the integration

The advice from the forum was that the biggest single thing that organisations could do to improve their chance of success was to absolutely be rigorous in defining what problem they were seeking to resolve, the true benefit of addressing this, ensuring alignment from CEO downwards to this goal, and especially bringing the business and IT together in a single team to help realise it. External partners such as everis have a key role to play – helping to bring rigour to the definition phase, bringing the right technology components and vendors, and helping to build the internal expertise required.