Is the right person leading?
Finding the right person to lead an IoT project is a crucial first step when planning a wide scale deployment. While it's not always essential for the project to be overseen by a C-level executive, typically the Chief Information Officer will have the most relevant experience for the job. In some cases it may be preferable to appoint a Chief IoT Officer who is specifically tasked with handling data infrastructure for smart device deployments. This should be someone with the prerequisite knowledge of digital technologies, network topology and information security. Having the right person in place to lead the project is key to organizational buy-in. If your organization lacks the in-house talent the job requires, it may be necessary reach out to third parties. More and more technology platforms are providing 'as-a-service' business models, which makes it easier than ever to partner with an experienced firm that knows how to deploy IoT.
Is it smart enough?
The IoT is increasingly converging with artificial intelligence (AI) innovations. According to technology research firm Gartner, more than 80 percent of enterprise IoT projects will incorporate AI by 2022. So how smart should your deployment be? There is no point implementing machine learning algorithms or neural networks for an IoT initiative unless it is absolutely necessary. AI will greatly increase the complexity and planning needed for any IT project so it should only be used where there is clear added value. That said, most IoT deployments will involve collecting data on an unprecedented scale, and that data is useless unless it is somehow transformed into insights. Often with IoT deployments there is no realistic way of handling the sheer scale of information that is collected using conventional techniques. If your project requires in-depth or real-time analytics, the chances are that machine learning techniques will be necessary to achieve project success. The important thing is to assess from the beginning how AI will be incorporated into the project and how you will manage the creep of growing complexity.
Is it secure?
One of the greatest challenges that organizations face with IoT is how to keep networks secure. By 2020, more than a quarter of all identified cyberattacks will target smart devices. The IoT encompasses an enormous array of devices from cameras and thermostats, to insulin pumps and the control systems for self-driving cars. Each of these computers has its own unique vulnerabilities and sensitivities, and a single unsecure component can leave entire networks open to attack. Securing IoT deployments involves the same risk management strategies that are employed for more traditional computer networks, but smart devices often involve more layers of risk and types of attack vector. As well as software security such as firewalls, anti-virus software and digital monitoring, IoT devices may need to be physically protected from external tampering. Currently, there is no universal standard or operating model for IoT security. This means that organizations must make difficult decisions about how to manage their level of exposure. In many instances, it may be safer to turn to cloud-based solutions that externalise as much of the digital infrastructure as possible, so that your team can prioritise securing the smart devices themselves.