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Internet of Things, the biggest challenges are NOT the technical ones!

23 March, 2018

There are many possibilities with Internet of Things and there are big benefits in using this technique. Then one can ask why there has not been any major breakthrough yet. There are some technical challenges of course, but those are not the biggest ones! The biggest challenges are instead around costs, information security and information ownership. So, it is in those areas that a business needs to find the answers in order to have a successful IoT investment. Well, these challenges can look a bit different, but I will try to describe them below.

Costing challenge

It is rather easy to start with the costing challenge! An analyze and calculation on the cost for building the infrastructure must be done. Let me once more use the parking lot example below to make it a bit easier to grasp. The cost in this example would be the cost to put a sensor with a transmitter to show the availability at every parking lot. Then there are also other running costs in transferring the information, running and maintaining the infrastructure. Well these needs to be estimated as they will serve as a basis for setting the price on the service. Which price model to be used also needs to be decided! There are several different models, for example pay per use plus a basic fee or a fixed fee only. In the analyze it is also necessary to look at what the consumers are willing to pay. Back to the earlier mentioned parking example. Currently the cost for enabling a live update feature for a GPS is about 500 SEK a year and this parking service is probably as valuable. The service content in relation to the price also needs to be defined. If the service cover the full navigation or only the last leg on the route needs to be decided. In order for the service to work a connection is needed, so it that included or not. Also, the specification on the equipment in the car needs to be set for the service to work. That can lead to an additional cost for the consumer if they need to upgrade their equipment.

Information security

This will lead us into another area of challenges being the information security area. How will the access control to the information happen? This should be solved by some kind of subscription solution that will control who will get access to this information. But is this enough to prevent others from accessing it?
What are the requirements on coverage and reliability on the information transfer, both on sending and receiving side? It is how the infrastructure looks like and what technology is used that will affect this. Here there are no standards, which is yet another challenge. As You know now the IoT will lead to a much higher information flow volume, which will lead to the challenge to be able to handle these information volumes. Once more an infrastructure that is working is needed.

Information ownership

The last big challenge metioned here is who is owning the information. It could be the sender, the one storing/processing it or the consumer of the information. This needs to be stated/agreed so that an information consumer is not allowed to sell the information to another partner, which could be possible otherwise. This needs to be defined in each case and controlled if there are reasons for it.

If the business can define good answers in these three areas the chance of having many of the benefits that people talk about connected to Internet of Things is high!

So, where is the highest progress with Internet of Things? That will be addressed in my next and third and last article on IoT!