Impact of IoT for CIOs
In part one of the Impact of IoT for CIOs, I addressed why CIOs should be more concerned about the on-coming Internet of Things then they are currently as indicated by our survey, What’s Keeping Higher Education CIOs Up At Night. The blog described how new devices will be joining your network at alarming rates, suggesting that you should be defensively preparing your IT infrastructure, and offered a planning checklist. This installment digs into IoT security, training and new business opportunities.
Policy, IP, and Legal Preparedness
As the momentum behind the Internet of Things builds, your IT staff needs to prepare for a deluge of devices coming onto your network, including wearables, physical plant HVAC meters and gauges, smart lights, security devices, and new BYOD products. You will need a clear policy regarding what is allowed on the network in terms of both devices and data, extending from the policy you have now for BYOD employee and student devices. Care needs to be taken to prevent new sources of streaming video and data from overwhelming the network. Just as some campuses restrict Wi-Fi access to gaming consoles and bandwidth-consuming apps like Netflix, special provisions or restrictions may be appropriate for streaming IoT devices.
It is important to understand who owns the data that originates at the IoT devices and travels across your network. Product vendors assert a varying level of ownership over the software, the data and even the product you may believe you have purchased. As a harbinger of data, software, and product ownership trends, John Deere asserts that “the vehicle owner receives an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle”, but may not actually own the vehicle.
Gartner points out another example that deals with digital environmental control systems in office buildings. Is the data created by these systems owned by the HVAC system manufacturer, the real estate company that owns the office building, the tenants who lease space, or do individual workers whose presence is monitored to optimize the lighting, heating and cooling systems have rights to it?
- Protecting IoT user and data privacy. This Forrester report includes an IoT data protection checklist for CIOs. This FTC report suggests the need for new cloud data privacy regulations.
- Preserving your patent rights for new combinations and mash-ups of IoT devices on your network.
- Understanding how IoT data may be used. For example, can it be used to help set health insurance rates or make hiring decisions?
- Complying with licensing restrictions involving how you configure IoT devices and apps.
- Adapting to emerging laws and regulations. For example, European Union: General Data Protection Regulation
Internet of Things Security
Because the Internet of Things puts so much data on the network, it can make your technology, systems, and processes visible. Data flows that previously were buried inside black boxes, now flow to and from the cloud. Here are new security challenges as described in Internet of Things a Potential Security Disaster.
- Data or commands flowing across the network could reveal confidential information about the operation of the infrastructure to anyone listening in.
- Vulnerable control processes could be disrupted by injected false measurements, causing them to react inappropriately or dangerously, even masking physical attacks.
- Spurious events could be triggered by false outside commands, resulting in physical resources like water, oil, or electricity being sent to unplanned destinations.
People and Training
Within your IT department, you’ll want to prepare your staff as you would for any new technology deployment, by making sure there is a solid understanding of the terminology, types of apps, and SLAs that will be required.
Online training is becoming available for bringing people up to speed on the critical concepts of the Internet of Things. Here are some examples:
New IoT-Related Business Opportunities
All the new types of data, information, applications, processes, capabilities, and insight that become readily available with the Internet of Things create innovative new revenue and business opportunities. IT leaders positioned at the forefront of technology have the responsibility to raise the awareness of these opportunities to the decision makers in the enterprise and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. As your own expertise grows, reach out to mentor product line executives. Provide them with an Internet of Things support hotline.
Here are just some of the types of new business capabilities and possibilities enabled by the Internet of Things.
- Products that inform the customer when their usable life is nearing the end. Products that automatically place reorders based on the cumulative number of uses, or that propose a special offer on a reorder at the end of the product’s life.
- New pricing and payment models with charges based on actual usage.
- Products with new detailed levels of built-in remote diagnostics.
- New cloud-based remotely-controlled products and services, such as process control or home monitoring.
- New styles of online teaching that make use of remote experiment control, wearables, extensive video, and telepresence robots.
Now give it a try!
While this topic is fresh in your mind, set up a pilot Internet of Things project. Start with a small project, but one that touches all the bases of: sensors, controllers, security, data analysis, and reporting. Here are some very simple ideas:
- Install several Canaries around the office to monitor, track, and report on traffic data (people) flows.
- Put IoT sensors on the doors. Wi-Fi based wireless door locks can pose challenges when rolled out en masse, but are manageable as a pilot project tied in with other sensors, especially when limited to a few interior doors.
- Set up simple interior environment monitoring and control, using Wi-Fi temperature and light sensors to track how well the HVAC system is performing.
- Try programming the lighting with Lux or Hue in your lobby to vary over the course of the day and simulating clouds passing over. Programmatically dim the bulbs when natural lighting is strong. Track the results.
- Monitor the doors to the loading dock or movement in the lobby.
- Put Wi-Fi moisture IoT sensors in the office plant pots to provide an alert when they need watering.
If you have not yet begun a project to prepare your IT team for the Internet of Things, now is the time. Informally or formally survey all departments within your enterprise to understand what IoT devices will be involved. Start planning the training. Undertake a pilot IoT project. Get all of your line of business managers involved in brainstorming new IoT-related revenue opportunities. In other words, get out in front of the oncoming Internet of Things train.
Many organizations discover unanticipated benefits during the IoT piloting process. As Gartner points out, “This phenomenon of accidental benefits discovery is part of the art behind the science of pilot projects — and calls for some measure of vision, combined with perseverance.”
Be sure to read part 1 of Impact of IoT for CIOs.