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To the Edge of the IoT and Beyond

As organizations overcome challenges involving speed and technology challenges, they stand to reap rich rewards from the Internet of Things.
By Neeraj Chadha

The Power of Connection
People, process, data and things are now hyper-connected due to the IoT. This is what makes big data so significant. Hyper-connection alters the role of information and promises tremendous opportunity.

Big data makes it possible to improve the quality of each decision an organization makes. How much value it obtains from the IoT depends on how well it secures, aggregates, automates and draws insights from its data and its big data—and on how quickly it does so. Over time, the results can pay off in a big way. If the rig operator discovers a valve flaw in time to replace it during routine maintenance, this can avert the huge cost of an unexpected shutdown.

Facing the Challenges
Technology challenges arise when organizations begin their digital transformation. These include stronger engines to accelerate applications and power data-intensive analytics. An operating environment that is common to the data center and the edge sources of new computing must bridge traditional and emerging applications and manage varying workloads better.

Forty percent of companies surveyed in a Cisco study identified big data as the element that most needed improvement within their organization. Almost 40 percent said that within three years, smart devices at the network edge will process most data. They also identified analytics tools for big data as the most important enablers of connected device networking.

They highlighted four areas for improvement that would make effective use of the IoT:
Process: Updating business and operational processes.
People: Enabling workers to exploit the IoT through training and easily used systems.
Things: Connecting the right machines, devices and equipment to capture truly useful data.
Data: Capturing, storing and analyzing information from connected machines and devices.

Organizations are just starting to get their arms around the IoT, a sort of undiscovered country that offers glimpses here and there of incredible opportunity. However, there are dragons lurking about as well, in the form of speed and technology challenges. As organizations overcome these challenges, they stand to reap rich rewards.

Neeraj Chadha is the product manager for Learning@Cisco at Cisco Services.

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