M.C. Escher and the crystal ball used for his self portrait (1935)

The Investor’s Guide to Predictive Maintenance Technology

By | Internet of Things | 5 Comments

A few weeks ago, I met with an investor to offer an assessment and guidance concerning a potential investment in a software company developing a predictive maintenance software: a system designed to use sensor data to assess the condition of a piece of equipment, detect an impending failure, and prescribe a remedial action.

As is often the case, there was a profound difference between the ideal world as described by the technologists and the harsh reality of equipment maintenance as experienced by field-service personnel.

Writing the Complete Guide to Predictive Maintenance Technology is obviously a grand goal for a short blog post. But now that I have got your attention, I’d like to focus on just one aspect: while diagnostic algorithms can be extremely powerful, implementing an application that can tackle complex, real-world maintenance problems requires much more than the ability to detect an anomaly in a time-series data stream. Read More

Sarolta Bán

IoT Security Through Obscurity?

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy | One Comment

A recent Dassault Systèmes blog What’s next in the Internet of Things?  discusses the company’s view of the IoT and, of course, addresses the lingering concerns about the potential security risks in IoT-connected devices and the threats of hacking and infiltrating public IoT networks.

The article offers the following comment from Krisztián Flautner of ARM: “In theory, IoT devices are quite attackable because the security on them is often not very good. But, at the same time, you also have to know a lot about those devices and how they’re configured. To me, I’m not actually sure if the [hacking] threat goes up or down.”

I find this attitude a bit cavalier. Read More

The Moneylender and His Wife (Quentin Metsys, 1514)

Monetizing IoT: Show Me the Money!

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy | 4 Comments

Seeking Funding for an Internet of Things Project?

“Too expensive”; “Very long time to a positive cash flow”; “We do not consider any project with ROI time longer than 18 months”.  These are some of the typical responses and pushbacks early adopters of Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology often encounter when they seek funding from corporate management.

Indeed, almost every market study of IoT adoption ranks concerns about rosy, yet unconvincing return on investment (ROI) as one of the top hurdles to enterprise-wide adoption of IoT.

Admittedly, many green-field IoT projects require significant investments over an extended period of time: designing new products, creating a network infrastructure, and establishing new business and customer relationships models. Although falling hardware prices, availability of cloud-based IoT services, and a growing number of IoT platforms make plunging into the IoT water easier, more economical and less risky, for many, long-term ROI remains elusive.

But should the Industrial Internet of Things be considered just yet another IT project, like implementing a new ERP system? Or does an investment in a promising technology and new business constructs warrants a different, more strategic, approach? Read More

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The Internet of Evil Things

By | Internet of Things | 2 Comments

How Secure is the Internet of Things?

You may have heard me at a conference or read my response to questions concerning the security of the Internet of Things. When asked, I sometimes “refuse” to answer this question. This is not because I do not think that data security—and the closely-related data privacy—are not important; of course they are.  But I want to highlight the point that data security and privacy are foundational issues that are not unique to IoT devices. Every enterprise must ensure that all data—IoT generated or not—is secured and that data privacy and ownership are handled properly.

But in light of the recent highly-publicized cyberattacks, and a session with Chris Valasek (who is best known for wirelessly hacking a Jeep Wrangler) and Mark Weatherford (past deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), I thought I should provide a brief update. Read More

Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion by Salvador Dali c. 1954

Procrastination and the Internet of Things

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy | One Comment

Time Value of Information

Fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink will surely agree: In many situations, it makes sense to act promptly and decisively upon arrival of information indicating a problem.

You can clearly apply this logic in industrial manufacturing setting. For instance, if a machine on the manufacturing line has drifted out of spec and starts spewing bad parts, it should be shut down immediately in order to reduce the number of bad parts it produces. Then, the machine needs to be repaired equally expeditiously in order to restore production as soon as possible. In this example, the impact, or the business value, of the decision is the highest when a quick and decisive action is taken. The longer we wait to shut down production, the more bad parts are going to be produced and scrapped.

As Lee Iacocca remarked: “Even a correct decision is wrong when it was taken too late.”

Read More