We Are Reaching A Critical Juncture On The Path To “Smarter” Systems Where Organizations Will Be Crying Out For A Completely New Approach
The IT and telecom sectors have failed to re-evaluate their relationships with advancing technology and their constituents. The business and technology paradigms to which these industries cling today are far too limiting, too cumbersome and too expensive to foster what’s required to truly realize an internet of things.
From a Telco perspective, today’s discussions of M2M systems focus almost exclusively on communications — the “pipe” — and very little on the information value. In other words, on things that look good to the carriers. There are many popular visions about wireless monitoring and wireless control. Such as it is, wireless is a fantastic new advance — no question. But, focusing on the communication element alone as ‘first-order’ business value amounts to grabbing the wrong end of the technology stick. Wireless communications alone steals the limelight and potentially eclipses the real revolution — utilizing new networking technologies and processes to liberate information from sensors and intelligent devices to leverage collective awareness and intelligence.
From an IT perspective, most of today’s corporate IT function are direct descendants of the company mainframe, and work on the same “batched computing” model—an archival model, yielding a historian’s perspective. Information about events is collected, stored, queried, analyzed, and reported upon. But all after the fact. That’s a very different thing from feeding the real-time inputs of billions of tiny “state machines” into systems that continually compare machine-state to sets of rules and then do something on that basis. In short, for connected devices to mean anything in business, the prevailing corporate IT model has to change.
The next cycle of technology and systems development in the smart connected systems arena is supposed to be setting the stage for a multi-year wave of growth based on the convergence of innovations in software, so-called cloud computing architectures; back-room data center operations; wireless and broadband communications; and smaller, more powerful client devices connected to personal, local and wide-area networks. But is it?
When it comes to preparing for the global information economy of the 21st century, most people assume that “the IT and Telco technologists are taking care of it.” They take it on faith that the best possible designs for the future of connected things, people, systems and information will emerge from large corporations and centralized authorities. But those are big, unfounded assumptions. In fact, most of today’s entrenched players are showing little appetite for radical departures from current practice. Yet current practice will not serve the needs of a genuinely connected world.