The Internet of Things: A Four-Lens Perspective

To succeed, your IoT strategy must focus not just on the technology, but also on the users and the business case.
By Frank Zachmann
Jan 16, 2017

The Internet of Things has been a buzzword in the technology community for years. The phrase has become something of a catch-all for any and all new technologies that leverage connectivity to either streamline or improve a wide range of functions in our day-to-day lives. Until now, the conversation surrounding the IoT has largely positioned these technologies in the future tense. However, as interconnected devices are starting to proliferate, the IoT is becoming much more of a present reality.

The number of IoT connections globally is set to balloon from roughly 6 billion today to more than 27 billion in 2025. This projection indicates that many different stakeholders will be involved in developing this technology throughout the next decade. Those looking to claim their share of the potentially massive and lucrative market require a holistic view of all the components that make IoT introduction and integration successful. To do this, they need to view their IoT strategy through four lenses:

• The market: From the very beginning, there needs to be a proven market for the IoT device before the additional lenses can fall into step.

• The machine: The IoT device needs to work from a technology platform. This platform involves the application that controls data flow, as well as the interconnections between the device, the user and the data center in which this information will be delivered, processed and analyzed.

• The human: The user who will engage with the IoT technology also needs to be considered. This entails having a strong understanding of who the user is, while also keeping his or her data security top-of-mind at all times.

• The product: In order to truly deliver value, the device needs to be designed so that it's fully integrated with the user and the underlying platform.

By marrying these lenses, companies can have a comprehensive view into the IoT that can help inform their strategy. The issue, however, is that many businesses lack the capacity or resources to bring these four lenses together, and they face overarching challenges in establishing strategy, digitization, security and the network.

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