The Enterprise Implications of the Internet of Things

Internet of Things

In a webcast recorded for the DCIA’s IoT Marathon at the International CES (#CES2015), Denovati Founder Courtney Hunt discusses the opportunities and challenges the internet of things creates for enterprises of all types, including public sector entities, hospitals, and academic institutions. Particular emphasis is placed on human capital management implications, as well as challenges created in terms of leadership, staffing, ethics and regulations, and cybersecurity.


At this year’s International CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) will be conducting an Internet of Things (IoT) Marathon webcast with twelve hours of demos, displays, and discussions recorded over the four-day conference. As they describe it here:

The DCIA’s IoT Marathon will proudly feature the very latest in connected consumer device innovations, wearable creations, machine-to-machine (M2M) advances, radio frequency identification (RFID) developments, remote monitoring and maintenance solutions, microsensor discoveries, collaborative computing, smart environment architectures, and more examples from the inventors and organizations leading the way in this world-altering trend.

Although I am unable to attend the live event, I was given the opportunity to participate thanks to Karl Burns, who suggested me as a subject matter expert to DCIA’s CEO Marty Lafferty. Given the focus of the show and the scheduled session topics, I wasn’t sure I had something of value to contribute, but Marty thought my ideas about the enterprise implications of the internet of things would provide a nice complement to the other scheduled presentations. We recorded the session in mid December, and Marty was gracious enough to allow me to share it via Denovati’s digital channels.

My Thoughts on the Internet of Things

You can flip through the slide deck to get a quick sense of what we talked about and listen to the full webcast for a deeper dive. Here’s a recap of what I consider the key take-aways:

  • Much attention is being given to the commercial applications of the internet of things from a consumer perspective (e.g., Google’s Nest, wearables like Fitbit). Although the consumer market could become quite significant, the enterprise applications of the internet of things will likely to be much greater and potentially more lucrative for product and service providers, and will enable organizations of all types to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations and management practices.
  • Many enterprise applications of the internet of things (e.g., managing machines and processing operations) have been evolving for the past 10-15 years. Newer applications include utilities and asset management, as well as human capital management.
  • In addition to creating opportunities, the internet of things presents challenges for both those organizations exploiting its commercial potential and those organizations leveraging the new technologies. These challenges include leadership, staffing, ethics and regulations, and interoperability and cybersecurity.
  • Leaders need to simultaneously focus on both strategic and tactical issues to develop the most efficient and effective approaches to pursuing opportunities and managing challenges.
  • Workforce planning must be a top priority, in terms of both the roles that need to be staffed as well as the capabilities people in those roles need to have.
  • Given issues like privacy and job loss/growth, we have to find a way to balance commercial interests with the needs of our societies, economies, and citizens. And because much of this is uncharted territory, we have to create and operate within a new legal and regulatory landscape.
  • Interoperability and cybersecurity will remain paramount, and the challenges they present will be ongoing. We have to remember to look at these as not just technology challenges, but human ones.
  • In fact, the key thing to keep in mind as we move forward is that technology adoption and adaptation are fundamentally human endeavors. Focusing on people and human systems is critical to finding the best ways to take advantage of what the internet of things has to offer while simultaneously managing the inevitable challenges and risks.

Your Thoughts?

As always, I welcome your feedback. What questions has this webcast raised for you? What other opportunities and challenges do you think the internet of things creates for enterprises and their leaders?


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