In 2014, the Internet of Things (IoT) moved centre stage, becoming a driving force of the tech industry - just as mobile application development was starting to flourish in organisations across the world.
And not just in terms of hype. While devices like Google Nest might dominate column inches, it is in the enterprise that connected devices are rapidly being deployed. Gartner forecasts that this year industries such as manufacturing, utilities and transportation will see 736 million connected devices in use.
By 2020, this number is expected to grow to 1.7 billion - organisations will be adopting and integrating the IoT into their businesses at an unprecedented pace. While mobile created an initial shift in how organisations operate and transform their processes, the IoT will embed this digital transformation even more deeply. However, many of the lessons learned from enterprise mobility may be well taken into consideration when organisations start to implement embedded devices and develop applications to take advantage of them.
To date, enterprise mobility solutions have focused on smartphones and tablets. These smart devices will continue to dominate, but many organisations will begin to plan and experiment with more sensor-enabled and wearable connected devices.
This further blurring between our physical and digital worlds will continue to play a major role in both the consumer and enterprise spaces. Indeed over time, it will be interesting to see how IoT, mobile and cloud intersect, and how organisations will continue to adapt to a world that is increasingly connected, data-driven and user-centric.
It's about the data, not the device. It's easy to be enamoured with the capabilities of smart devices, sensor-enabled "things" and wearables but the real challenge lies in managing the data that will be created and consumed by the device. After all, sensors are nothing new. It's the fact that these sensors are increasingly smart and data-enabled that is driving the IoT.
Back-end integration becomes increasingly important to securely and efficiently manage the massive data workloads generated by the increasing number of connected devices. Designing for scalability and re-usability of back-end connections is no stranger to mobile projects. For IoT these become imperative.
Security should not be an obstacle but remains one of the top concerns and should be as mobile and IoT projects expand. As in the case of mobile, security goes beyond the device to include authentication, encryption, and data access, but also needs to be considered across the complete technology stack that support the mobile and IoT software application development cycles.
Speed will be as critical in the IoT world as it is in mobile. This means adopting agile methods and ingraining them in the corporate culture, not just in the IT organisation, but also across lines of business. We have seen business units take a greater role in mobile innovation, helping to shape successful mobile projects and work with IT to make these a reality. As mobile was and is a driver for business innovation and transformation, we expect IoT to accelerate this even further. Agile approaches and greater collaboration across the business and IT will continue to gain traction.
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