What IoT has in store for 2017

Channel Post speaks with Jack O’Reilly, director, business development at Dell EMC OEM & IOT Solutions EMEA, on the role of IoT in digital transformation for the business community.

Javk O'Reilly imageWhat is the state of The Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in the region?
When it comes to implementing any new technology, this region is already an early adopter. It has been no different with the IoT space which includes a vast number of technologies, most of which have already been executed or are in the process of adoption here.

Who are the early adopters of IoT?
We see early adopters of IoT in the automation sector who have been using operational technology (OT) for a long time and now want to improve their overall productivity. They have achieved this by converging the OT landscape with information technology. Another example of early IoT adopters would be our legacy OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers.

Is security a real challenge in IoT or just hype?
IoT means greater inter-connectivity among devices. Rise in the number of connected devices has led to an increase in the number of data connection points which translates into more entry points for a hacker to commence an attack. 2016 was a year of many targeted cyber incidents and with the spread of IoT, hackers are even more eager to exploit device vulnerabilities for easy access to data. What was earlier just content for science fiction movies is now an everyday happening where attackers easily access networks even through CCTVs and inter-connected mobile devices. So I think that security is a very real threat necessitating immediate attention and action.

What measures should organisations in the region take to address these challenges?
Both small and large businesses already understand the potential of IoT in the digital transformation of their business, what they need to work on is strengthening their security practices. This means recruiting the right IoT talent and building in-house expertise. It will also involve bringing in experts who can continuously update and monitor security wrinkles and address vulnerabilities. To accomplish this, organisations need to make bigger investments in securing specialized IoT talent and providing them with the right training & certification. Another important step will be to consolidate the partner ecosystem to collectively develop solutions that can protect the entire market from hackers and attackers.

What role does IoT play in an organization’s digital transformation strategy?
The concept of IoT is very relevant when taking about an organizations’ digital transformation strategy since it has paved the way to enhance customer relationships and drive business growth.

What are the trends do you see in 2017?
In the past, surveillance footage was collected, stored and then analysed resulting in long response time. From a security perspective, we expect an increase in demand for drones and body-worn cameras that can provide real-time footage so that immediate action can be taken. Another trend that seems to be picking up pace this year is the use of artificial intelligence to extract data from IoT devices and use it in a productive manner