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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Top IoT Trends and Predictions for Organizations in 2016

December 2, 2015 No Comments

Internet of Everything 300x217 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Top IoT Trends and Predictions for Organizations in 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) was one of the most widely talked about technology phenomena of 2015, touching every industry, business and consumer. As networked connections become more and more sophisticated, IoT will become more relevant and valuable than ever before.With 2016 on the horizon, there will be a seismic shift in how organizations embrace the power of technology— solutions and applications will be implemented on a large scale by companies looking to get ahead of the competition to touch every aspect of our daily lives.

In this interview, Mike Martin, CTO, nfrastructure, speaks with IT Briefcase about what he believes will be the top IoT trends and predictions for organizations of all sizes and their IT teams for the coming year.

  • Q: In the world of security, what will be the impact of Internet of Things in 2016?

A. 2016 will be an interesting year for IoT in the world of security as organizations make the transition between protyping/testing and into production. As organizations embrace IoT and start creating IoT applications, devices, prototypes, etc., security will become a major focus and critical component of a successful deployment. Not only do the endpoints and applications need to be secured from unauthorized access and changes, but the data streams need to be secured to prevent snooping and unauthorized data modification. The real challenge comes with the fact of limited resources on the “things” that gather the data or control the end systems. Creating secure protocols and methods to exchange data and control these systems will be the next big challenge the security industry needs to address in order to enable IoT deployments. Another challenge that will need to be addressed is security auditing – systems need to be designed to scan and verify devices are configured properly and have not been tampered with after the initial deployment.

  • Q: Given the latest security breaches, what is your advice for companies looking to implement an IoT strategy for connected devices in 2016?

A. Organizations need to start thinking about security in the initial stages of IoT deployments to ensure successful production deployments. The following are high-level questions that every organization going down this path should consider:

- Device integrity – Did the device boot the right software, and has it been modified in any way? While the device runs, have there been any unauthorized modifications to its underlying operating system?

- Device Access – How do I manage the device, and who has access. What can each user type do on the device? How do I separate roles?

- Device authentication and authorization – how do I know this device is mine, and can I trust the data? How do I deal with data that may be out of range/bounds? How do I ensure the device continues to be trusted after the initial verification?

- Firewall/IDS/protocol security – How to I ensure network level compliance? What ports are available on the device, and who can connect to them? Is the data encrypted in transit? How do I detect anomalous behavior?

- Updates/upgrades – How do I update my devices and systems and minimize both effort and disruption required to do so?

Additionally, utilizing a ready-made IoT platform (for example AWS IoT, ThingWorx, or 2lemetry) can help take the complexity out of designing and building the components yourself. Each organization needs to examine the capabilities of the platforms security offerings, and choose the one that meets their needs. The IoT industry and technologies are so new that organizations need to dedicate resources to focus on security, and be ready to upgrade/change security strategies quickly in order to stay ahead of attackers. Lastly, organizations need to put security ownership on every component in the system – it’s no longer practical to put all components behind firewalls or IDS and hope they inspect and prevent every attack like a traditional network design. Each component needs to be able to stand alone from a security perspective.

  • Q: Besides security, are there any other industry trends that you are seeing for the Internet of Things for the coming year?

A. In 2016, mobile will continue to be the center point of the Internet of Things in the consumer space as well as the enterprise. This will be augmented by an uptick in wearable devices (think Apple Watch and Android Wear) with a reliance on mobile devices for core functionality. Mobile devices will also serve as the hub for most end user interactivity with IoT devices with one’s smartphone being the aggregation point for everything from home automation devices to medical sensors and wearables. Retail also continues to be a hot industry for the Internet of Things. We live in an on-demand culture and retailers will need to make it easy for their customers to purchase goods and services simply and easily. The future is connected stores that make the shopping experience personal and simple. The Internet of Things makes this possible, but a solid IT infrastructure is imperative and essential to compete in the competitive retail landscape.

  • Q: For organizations looking to implement their own IoT programs for 2016, what are your recommendations for getting started?

A. I found success in breaking IoT development into three major stages.

- The first is experimentation. All projects should start with an idea that could provide a meaningful impact on the business. A great place to start is by investigating IoT concepts with potential to either improve the customer experience or generate new data that supports new, valuable business insights. Identify some ideas and create rapid prototypes that will help validate the concept’s potential or allow you to turn the page quickly.

- The second stage is operationalization. That’s where it makes sense to get the existing IT team involved because you want to be sure that the project will have things like security nailed and how they’re going to manage these solutions once they’re deployed.

- Once you have a fantastic concept that is ready for production deployment, the third stage is focused on getting that solution deployed throughout the enterprise as quickly as possible to accelerate and maximize the resulting value. This stage requires the ability to effectively and reliably manage lots of people, in lots of places, working with lots of things. Given the many moving pieces in this stage, outside assistance can be incredibly valuable to extend your team’s reach and throughput and ensure a successful deployment.

Mike Martin Headshot 200x300 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Top IoT Trends and Predictions for Organizations in 2016

As Chief Technology Officer, Mike Martin leads nfrastructure’s technology services organization. Mike brings fifteen years of industry experience to his role at nfrastructure, with deep experience leading complex enterprise technology initiatives, building high performing teams and optimizing IT resources to improve company performance. Prior to joining nfrastructure, Mike held a variety of senior technology leadership roles including directing a nationwide Business Intelligence consulting practice and leading product development for NY State’s $7.5B wholesale electricity e-commerce marketplace. Mike received an M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

 

APPLICATION INTEGRATION, DATA and ANALYTICS , Fresh Ink, Inside the Briefcase, SOCIAL BUSINESS

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