Dell’s Jason Shepherd, Director of IoT Strategy and Partnerships, recently discussed his ideas for 2016 predictions in Internet of Things with me.

I’ve never been one for year-end recaps or a “listicle” prediction piece that merely is a blatant attempt for page views. This page gets plenty of views through providing thoughtful information.

But we had a great conversation about what’s happening in the space I like to call the “Industrial Internet of Things Ecosystem.” Following are some thoughts we tossed back and forth.

Edge analytics

Our control systems architecture has been moving from centralized control to control at the edge (slowly) for many years. Meanwhile enterprise information architecture has been figuring out how to tap into all that information locked in the control system. However, much information can mean large bandwidth.

Both problems are solved through edge analytics. Let’s just place intelligent devices out on the edge. If they are required for control, great. But they have information crucial to today’s applications driving real-time decision-making. Let’s use intelligence at the edge to filter through the data and just send important information through the network to the enterprise or plant services bus.

Edge analytics–a key benefit accruing from the Internet of Things ecosystem.


There are no general or predominant standards, but there do exist a number of standards that contribute to the overall ecosystem. Some are official standards and others are de facto, but if they are in general use, then it moves the application along.

Jason mentioned the Open Interconnect Consortium and the Industrial Internet Consortium, which is running several IIoT test beds. I mentioned the Open Fog Consortium earlier this week.

A couple of standards within production and manufacturing that will bear fruit this year which we did not discuss include OPC UA, which is a data movement enabling technology, and MIMOSA, which will become more widely known as a center for standards for interoperability from design to construction to operations & maintenance.

One problem remains that there are hundreds of IoT platforms which could be likened to “death by 1,000 paper cuts.”

2016 IoT Predictions

These are Jason’s 2016 predictions. I’ve been watching trends and would have to agree with them for the most part.

  1. Enterprise will become the largest market for IoT adoption—While the Internet of Things hype reached its peak in the consumer markets this past year, 2016 will be the year of IoT in the enterprise market. Currently, we are seeing a slump in sales for the once buzzworthy, consumer IoT devices, such as fitness trackers, whereas just the opposite is happening for commercial IoT products. As companies begin understanding the value of IoT (return on investments, efficiency, productivity, etc.), commercial IoT solutions will gain traction and the enterprise will emerge as the largest market for IoT adoption.
  2. Standardization and interoperability of IoT technology will become a focal point—As IoT solutions become a mainstay for enterprises and consumers alike, the industry will face growing pressure for standardization and interoperability. As a result, an increasing number of industry players will begin uniting under the common goal of establishing a set of standards for IoT. These standards bodies and consortiums will make solid progress in 2016 but it is unlikely they will decide upon a finalized set of standards in the coming year. Rather, 2016 will be a year for critical industry-wide conversation that will help to drive the awareness of and need for standardization and interoperability.
  3. Massive amounts of big data will drive the need for edge analytics—Gartner recently forecasted that there will be 6.4 billion connected things used worldwide in 2016. This explosion of connected devices also means an equally explosive amount of Big Data that needs to be collected, analyzed and stored. While an increased amount of data drove the need for edge analytics in 2015, next year we will begin to see stream analytics come into play and new players emerge in an effort to manage the rapidly expanding amounts of data.
  4. Security threats will rise, creating a larger need to identify and implement strong security practices—As the amount of connected devices rises, so too will the potential for security threats and breaches. To ensure that organizations receive the strongest security practices possible, we will see the emergence of security models based on use cases and new technologies to address the key challenges at the edge. Unlike the trend with consumer IoT, which stresses quick time-to-market over security measures, organizations providing commercial IoT solutions will need to find a balance that offers solutions that are both easy to adopt without sacrificing security.
  5. Companies will witness the emergence of a new role – the Chief IoT Officer—Similar to how the alignment of the CIO and CMO helped manage the crossover between IT and marketing, in 2016 companies will experience growing pressure to bridge the gap between Operations and IT sides of its organization. To respond to this pressure, organizations will witness the emergence of a new role – the Chief IoT Officer. With the conception of this new role, companies will be able to realize the full potential of IoT. As IoT hits full stride in 2016, organizations that embrace IoT will thrive and those that do not will be left behind.


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