Reading Time: 5 minutes

Introduction

I quite liked this book. It doesn’t have too much deep technical information but it focuses more on the real use cases, industry perspective and the business part of the IoT. Also, Kranz is able to demystify IoT, not goo too much into hype but present solid use cases and reasons why IoT is one of the most important technologies of ourtime. Due to authors experience working for large companies (Cisco, Rockwell Automation) this book doesn’t cover consumer/B2C, smart home, wearables or DIY solutions, it’s focused on enterprise solutions and Industrial i.e. IIoT.

One of the important themes in the book is the no hype focus on business problems and solutions and not the connectivity or any other technologies. The whole book is intertwined with the concept business process first and then technology which is in my opinion a very good viewpoint.

The author is obviously experienced, a god communicator with a bit of humor and also very pragmatic about benefits but also challenges of IoT. The book has many examples of successful IoT projects and also some failures and common mistakes.

By reading this book you will learn about ROI in IoT, how to model the security, and emerging technologies such as edge computing and blockchain in the IoT context.

About the book

The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices and some even argue that it will be a much larger number. So definitely IoT will pose a great opportunity for everyone but also a big threat for thos who wish not to change. One of the great quotes that I must use here is the one from generation IOT: Change is the new status quo.

The IoT is effectively the same as the other coin and abbreviation IoE (Everything) although IoE better describes what we have today since IoE includes people, things, processes, and data.

IoT is currently most applied in manufacturing, business services, and with energy and utility companies. The next industries in the line to be digitized are transportation, retail and wholesale, public sector and healthcare.

Typically, the IOT makes sense for:

  • Automating something that is now done manually
  • Remote monitoring of what needs to be done by making a personal decision

In the following section I will quote some useful lists about IoT.

5 components of IOT solutions that can be used immediately on the market:

  • connected operations and remote operations
  • predictive analytics
  • metering and measurement
  • IOT as a service
  • Industrial control zones (smart environments)

Nine rules for building an IOT ecosystem:

  1. Do proper project management (i.e manage size, scope and phases)
  2. Building a good team
  3. Giving your team a good rhythm
  4. Get advice and/or coaching from senior people
  5. Measure progress all the time
  6. Engaging the user from the beginning,
  7. Be cautious, pivot as needed
  8. Do not develop custom solutions i.e target more standardization,
  9. Set the right expectations

Typical errors while developing IOT Solutions:

  • Get started with technology instead of solution to a business problem
  • Develop an isolated IoT project instead of integrating it with other business processes
  • The goal is not to connect devices but to provide data and applications
  • When a strategic long-term focus is lost and then loose the fight against an inveitable resistance in the organization
  • When one doesn’t start with small simple projects that have a clear ROI
  • Using design that does not take into account security
  • Doing everything in-house instead of relying on partners and using open standards,
  • Implementing solutions from just one vendor
  • Not getting support from the CxO level because typically IoT projects are about significant organizational changes
  • Underestimating the effort needed to make integration with existing/old systems,
  • Buying solutions that some vendor has developed -> it is better to develop a solution with the vendor,
  • Insufficient communication with all internal and external stakeholders
  • Underestimating the strength of existing relationships and installed base
  • Betting too much on new technologies – > it’s better to implement projects in phases and to include more people
  • Compromise on Interoperability – IoT solutions should be open and interoperable
  • Falling for the hype instead of making a sound business solution/plan and calculating the ROI

IOT Technological Stack:

  1. Physical devices and controllers
  2. Connectivity
  3. Edge computing
  4. Data accumulation (storage)
  5. Data abstraction (aggregation and access)
  6. Application (reporting, analytics, control)
  7. Collaboration and process (involving people and business)

There is a good point that IoT will start a new era of cooperation where he has coined the term “Co-Economy,” “Co-Creators,” “Co-Development,” and “Co-Innovation.” Author says that “Our traditional roles will quickly evolve from buyers and sellers to co-creators, from competitors to collaborators”

Since connected devices generate enormous amounts of data then various AI and machine learning algorithms must be used to realize predictive and adaptive solutions. So AI must go together with IoT for larger projects.

Author argues that IoT actually has more potential and applications in B2B rather than B2C. You should also look at so-called B2B2C, i.e. Provision of IoT services and products to companies that can then better serve the end users.

Recipe for IoT Success includes:

  • Focus on solving real problems
  • Make security everybody’s top priority
  • Integrate technology solutions with business processes
  • Prepare for a journey, not a one-time event

I have written down some useful use cases, although there are more in the book:

  • Production companies have a problem that IT and OT (operations) are not integrated and have different networks and data systems so integration of these is a good business opportunity. The example company that did this is Harley Davidson
  • Davra networks is the company that is doing monitoring and automatic localization of trucks by integrating truck telemetry, location, sensors, video and cellular network
  • Control the environmental parameters (temperature…) for the refrigerators for ice cream, eggs, milk and the like. This is essential for locations that do not have a constant current source.
  • I2I pipeline offers supervision of illegal exits from the pipeline, product pipeline and gas pipeline. Smart foam pig is a device that is inserted into the pipe.
  • Predictive maintenance and optimization of the production chain in manufacturing companies, or perhaps utility companies for pumps, machines and the like to monitor vibrations, sound etc.
  • Supervision of expensive leasing machines. Leasing companies can know the machine location, and condition
  • For a smart home and similar B2C applications, the best markets are home security and care for the elderly
  • Transport companies for supervision of the cabin, containers or individual pallets

 

Typicall IoT company has the following types of people:

Internal: date scientist, IoT process manager, IoT app engineer, process designer, IOT visioner

External: Contractors, Partners, Freelancers, Consultants

The author describes the transformation potentials due to the emergence of usage-based models in different industries: the shift from capex to opex! Problem with device sales and maintenance contracts there is a conflict of interest. The manufacturer or the system integrator has an interest that the device will be defective, and the customer does not. If the system is very reliable the integrator can lose maintenance contract and no longer have revenue, can’t employ expensive engineers and professionals etc. So the best idea is to sell DaaS (Device As Service) where both system integrator and the customer have an interest to keep the system working problem free.

The key thing for IoT is to build a good network of partners with whom you can work and offer IoT solutions because IoT ecosystem is so vast and complex that even the biggest companies cannot offer everything.

Conclusion

I really enjoyes reading this useful book so I would definitely recommend it. There are some redundant parts but not much and the book is not too long. If you are known to IoT this book is a very good reference and a tool for your digital transformation projects in the future. I would highlight the fact that security will become so much more important in the future with so many IoT devices. The promise of IoT is huge, and the IoT is already real in quite some verticals, however the author thinks that we’ve yet to begin exploiting the value that IoT technologies can offer. No one can afford to ignore IoT!

 

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