This month for Tech Download, we spoke with Marty Parrest, Service Delivery Manager at FoxNet, about big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). Marty provides an expert perspective on the ways that small- to medium-sized enterprises can harness the power of IoT, as well as some fascinating insights on both the promises and challenges of IoT.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things refers to objects that are connected to the Internet. Wireless printers, smart watches, and remotely controllable thermostats are just a few examples of objects that belong to the Internet of Things. Although much of the developing IoT technology is cutting edge and relies on cloud computing to gather data, IoT as a concept has existed for many years. As Marty explains, most objects with sensors (such as video surveillance cameras) fall into the category of IoT, and more businesses are already using the technology than you might realize. However, the range and type of objects that are now part of the IoT network is increasing rapidly, and the media attention that IoT is receiving has many businesses wondering how they can make it work for them.
Marty explained that many of our beliefs about technology, privacy, and IoT come from popular culture, and one of the services that FoxNet can provide for clients is helping them cut through the noise to determine which new technologies can actually provide a high return on investment. Whenever a business implements a new technology or tech capabilities, it’s crucial to determine what problem they’re attempting to solve. If the technology being implemented can’t solve a salient problem or challenge for the company, it may not be the right choice. Marty explained that in many cases, incorporating IoT into a business’s daily activities often presents high investment costs. Given these high costs, companies adopting IoT of any kind should consider the usefulness of the technology in the long-term, in addition to assessing what problems the technology will solve immediately.
IoT as an EcoSystem
Ultimately, it’s helpful to think of the Internet of Things as an ecosystem. If each business treats its technology as proprietary (that is, if businesses and cities are reluctant to share the data they collect from their IoT and refuse to share it with other organizations), this only holds progress back. Imagine if your self-driving car worked in Kitchener, but stopped working in Cambridge or Guelph because there was no consensus between cities about the kind of IoT technology used.
“Too often, people treat data as synonymous with intelligence. In reality, data is only meaningful and valuable for what it can teach us, and it needs to be compared to other data” – Marty Parrest, FoxNet Service Delivery Manager
Marty explains that many businesses and cities are unwilling to share data they’ve gathered through IoT with other organizations, even though a more collaborative attitude towards the development of an IoT ecosystem would greatly enhance the process. In order for IoT to truly blossom as an ecosystem that seamlessly connects a network of smart objects together, the paradigm surrounding data needs to change. “Too often, people treat data as synonymous with intelligence,” Marty says. “In reality, data is only meaningful and valuable for what it can teach us, and for that to happen, it needs to be compared to other data.”
As William Dupley, IoT Strategist at FoxNet, describes it, smart IoT strategies are less about technology, and more about defining the business reasons for implementing IoT. The number one reason that IoT projects fail is when an organization views it purely as a technology, and not as an enablement solution to solve a business problem or opportunity.
At FoxNet, we’re ready to help you determine which business problems you want to solve, and we can help you find a solution, whether it’s IoT, hybrid cloud, or something else entirely. Contact us today to get started!