You may have heard the question, “Is data the new oil?” It even made its way into Forbes nearly two years ago. Well, is it? In the context of creating new business value from the Internet of Things (IoT), the answer today is both yes and no.
Yes, data contains huge potential value and, of course, it is much more plentiful and accessible than oil (and about to become much, much more plentiful). However, it is simply raw material that needs to be delivered to the right place at the right time and “refined” there (by applications) to create new business value, e.g., additional revenue streams (services as well as products), resource optimization (for both capital and human assets) and environmental benefits (waste reduction, energy efficiency, etc.).
There is little new about “islands of automation.” Data has been “refined” for decades to produce operational (OT) and corporate (IT) value at the tactical level. However, the IoT offers the potential for completely new levels of business value by providing a corporate data-connectivity backbone to deliver the right data to the right place at the right time, enterprise-wide and inter-enterprise.
The IoT can thus be applied to:
- Liberate valuable data from legacy and new sub-systems (via gateways)
- Directly or indirectly add new connected edge devices and machines (new Things as data sources)
- Provide global-scale connectivity at reasonable cost (via the Internet)
- Support new application deployment and analytics anywhere in the system (e.g., on devices, gateways, enterprise systems, cloud services, mobile)
- Generate new insights and business and societal value from these distributed and instantly accessible applications and analyses
Data connectivity for under-explored valuable data
Tactical OT and IT systems obviously add value to enterprises and have provided good solutions in areas from process control to SCADA to ERP to corporate payroll since at least the 1970s. These self-contained applications provide a good ROI and solve real operational problems, but they also tend to be domain specific, often utilize proprietary technologies and lock their data into “vertical stovepipes.”
As such, they do a good job but in a limited way. They do not fully exploit the potential of the data they generate since they do not liberate that data for sharing and analysis wherever in the enterprise new insights and value can be generated. For example, they do not support distributed analytics, cross-domain integration or global-scale data access.
And as enterprises deploy literally billions of new connected Things during the next few years, this problem (of underexploited valuable data) will become dramatically worse unless a new data-connectivity approach is taken.
Read the full article at www.sandhill.com