The Next Frontiers for IoT

By Caroline Jacquet posted 09-10-2019 00:02

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With the launch late last year of 64 tiny satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the Internet of Things (IoT) is now in full orbit. Several of these spacecrafts are designed for IoT communications, highlighting the way ahead for those who design, manage and analyze connected devices.
IoT is quickly becoming the foundation of the digital economy. Whether it’s space exploration, incredibly smart cities or an industrial revolution, IoT is shaping our digital future, and I predict the coming months and years will have three prominent beacons that will mark the destinations that lie ahead. IoT will focus on scaling out to new heights while startups will play a significant role, and Artificial Intelligence will be the star of the business advantage.

Scale out as the edge expands
IoT is certainly mature enough that Chief Technology Officers are past pilot proof of concept programs and are looking to establish success through scaling out to the enterprise. IoT has reached a “tipping point” as a series of small changes have become significant enough to cause a rapid, dramatic shift in the digital transformation market. In this case, businesses realize the benefit of digitally linking products and services, which is real-time data, and are eager to leverage that knowledge on a large enterprise scale as a digital advantage against the competition.
Achieving a large IoT scale out to a line of business starts first with planning. For CTOs, the focus is on creating IoT strategies that support scaling out in numbers and capabilities. But with scale, comes complexity, managing millions of devices and sensors to ensure an interrupted flow of business-critical data is essential. Strategies may include a decade-long roadmap, but key to success in the digital journey is establishing a working, organizational end-to-end IoT framework. Who will provide managed IoT platform services? It’s best to plan ownership ahead of time with end-point management, L1/L2 edge support, platform management, and most notably, joining forces with a large system integrator.

AI at the edge to operationalize real-time data
Artificial Intelligence has impacted the digital ecosystem in numerous ways and there is even higher demand for data analytic tools and Artificial Intelligence to operationalize real-time IoT data, creating valuable business outcomes.
Of course, higher demand is the ultimate proof point that something is successful. Working with Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, I saw firsthand how IoT sensors paired with AI software can significantly integrate data in real-time. By adding IoT sensors and cameras to coolers, the data received allowed the company to streamline stocking, identify failing coolers, improve asset optimization, predict on-shelf inventory and increase sales. The program was such a success, the company connected more than 400,000 coolers this year, which is 100,000 more than planned.
Advanced AI software enables real-time data analysis for IoT devices, helping businesses to extract meaningful insights and predict the most profitable outcomes. Yet, providing powerful analytics and machine learning inference capabilities where they are needed, whilst ensuring that all data remains safe and secure, raises new challenges. In environments where fast response times are critical - such as manufacturing 4.0, autonomous vehicles, healthcare and retail or airport security –data needs to be processed and analyzed at the edge in real-time, making autonomous and intelligent edge servers essential.

IoT startups join system integrator frameworks
Even though IoT will scale out in larger numbers, this doesn’t mean small players aren’t in the game. In fact, the opposite conclusion can be drawn. Small players are the key to addressing scale. Increasingly I am seeing small niche players with AI and data-driven strategies partnering with large integrators, and as a result, being be acquired.
Startups play a significant role in IoT in the sense that large integrators are seeking small vertical, use case driven players that fit their portfolio and aid an end-to-end IoT framework. In addition, those that address specific IoT challenges, with advanced AI algorithms or blockchain for security for example, and those that offer turnkey solutions will gain attention from global service integrators.
There are so many startups on the bleeding IoT edge, and while startups have always been focused on being bought out by large integrators, now the other side of the table is equally interested.

Connecting inner space
While IoT is now probing outer space with the launch from SpaceX, there’s still plenty of inner space to explore. The Internet of Things market is evolving rapidly, and the technology will only become smarter. Learning algorithms through AI are in high demand for IoT, projects moving past initial pilot phase to scale out will increase, and startups will continue to play a significant role in that growth.
Overall, it’s clear that whether IoT’s next innovation impacts machines or Mars, we’re in a new, exciting wave of exploration.
Atos and Hitachi Vantara share an ambition to help their customers to deliver data-driven and business-focused outcomes – and the whole of these two industry leaders’ joint offerings are far greater than the sum of their parts. Hitachi Vantara’s focus on delivering a DataOps advantage – putting the right data in the hands of the right people at the right time, is entirely aligned to Atos’s mission of becoming a trusted partner for its customers’ Digital Journeys. This wealth of experience makes the partnership uniquely equipped to align technology to specific industry needs, thereby able to deliver on the digital transformation ambitions of their customers.

This is a sponsored blog for Josh Fiorenza, Vice President, Head of North America Operations IoT, Atos
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