Get ready for the Internet of (Every)thing! As IT professionals, if we aren’t preparing for it now—we’re falling behind. But what exactly will the Internet of Things (IoT) mean for our IT environments going forward? How are we going to deliver on all this hype and buzz?
The devil is always in the details, right? It’s really on the IT professionals’ shoulders to build this Internet of Things, both a fascinating and scary prospect. It’s going to take everything from innovative programming languages, new standardized frameworks and protocols, advanced levels of connectivity and through-put, as well as seriously hardened security around everything from our networks to our identities. And that’s just the prelude—a hint of things to come.
Right now, the Internet of Things is a riotous song filled with many voices, each playing a multitude of melodies. It’s all chaos and fragmentation with the promise of a harmonious symphony sometime in the future. As IT players in this developing orchestration—we should be practicing now though.
So let’s get to it! What skills will IT professionals find vital to this IoT vision?
There’s little doubt that the Internet of Things will require IT professionals to be integration experts. While standardized integration frameworks and protocols are still being developed and hotly debated—that shouldn’t stop us from building our integration skill-set now and delivering what I’ve called “holistic visualization” in our own IT environments today. The more comfortable we are with bringing in data from vastly different sources and finding actionable intelligence in IT noise, the better positioned we will be to deliver the kind of integration of information and services needed for a working Internet of Things.
Speaking of services, how are we delivering the valuable IT services we provide today? If we haven’t moved to both monitoring and delivering like service providers, we’re falling behind. We should organize our IT into service delivery models—which means not only robust systems and application monitoring, but orchestrating and packaging all that up into individual services distributed across the physical, virtual and cloud environments. The Internet of Things will be built on the “anything as a service” (XaaS) approach—combining resources from internal IT, external service providers and end-user hardware. We should get used to thinking about not only the state of our own infrastructures and applications—but knowing how these combine into actual services. Service monitoring and service delivery needs to be our focus.
While it’s no secret that speeds and through-put of wired and wireless networks keep increasing—the fact is: most of us will need to increase our own internal speeds to deliver the Internet of Things. Not only will this eventually mean upgrading aging infrastructure with new hardware capable of supporting upcoming Gb wired and wireless network standards, but also increasing the speed of our own IT processes. The fastest and smartest way to start this speed increase now (and on a budget)—is to explore IT process automation (ITPA). IT process automation is something all big service providers have heavily invested in. MSPs have thousands upon thousands of servers and processes involved in delivering reliable services—something they just can’t support with manual, hands-on approaches. Well—as the Internet of Things demands both speed and reliability of connectivity and service-delivery from our own IT—we have to do the same. It’s keep up or be left behind—and increasing your speed through automation just makes sense.
The Internet of Things will change every aspect of our daily lives. It’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. What isn’t optional, however—is participating in it. Either IT professionals will boldly step into that future or find themselves (and the organizations they support) increasingly irrelevant. By building the skills necessary for tomorrow’s IoT challenges today— smart IT professionals can be the conductors of their enterprise’s transformation, instead of providing the accompaniment.