The Internet of Things is going to transform the way we live in the future. It will change how we commute, how we work, even simple day to day activities. But one thing that’s often overlooked when we talk about the internet of things is how it will impact IT teams. We’ve seen a lot of change in the shape of the modern IT team over the last 10 years thanks to things like DevOps, but IoT is going to shape things further in the near future.
To better understand how the Internet of Things will shape IT teams in the future, we first need to understand the application of the Internet of Things, especially in the sector closest to IT teams, the enterprise sector.
IoT in the enterprise sector
If you look at consumer media, the most common applications of the Internet of Things are the small-scale ones like smart gadgets and smart home systems. Unfortunately, this class of IoT products hasn’t really caught up with mainstream consumers; its audience is limited to hobbyists and people in the tech. However, it’s a whole different story with the enterprise sector becuse companies all over the world are starting to realize the benefit of applying IoT in their line of business.
Different industries have different applications of IoT. Usually though, IoT is used to either increase efficiency or reduce cost. For example, a shipping service may apply a monitoring system on their vehicles to track their speed and mileage to find ways to reduce fuel usage. Similarly, an airline company could apply sensors on their fleet of airplanes to monitor engine conditions to maintain it properly. A company may also apply IoT to manage its energy consumption so that it can reduce unneeded expenses.
What new skills does IoT demand of tech pros
All of these applications of IoT are going to require new skills and maybe even new job roles. So while we’ll see efficiencies thanks to these innovations, to really make an impact its still going to need both personal and organizational investment in skills and knowledge to ensure IoT is really helping to drive positive change.
IoT and the second data explosion
Let’s start with the most obvious change – the growth of data. Yes, the big data explosion has been happening all around us for the last decade, but IoT is bringing with it a second explosion that will be even bigger. This means everyone is going to have to become more data-savvy. That’s not to say that everyone will need to moonlight as a data scientist, but they will need an awareness of how data is stored and processed, who needs access to it and who needs to act on it.
Device management will become more important than ever
IoT isn’t just about data. It’s also about devices. With more gadgets and sensors connected to a given network, device management and maintenance will be an essential part of the IT team’s work. To tackle this problem, the team will need to grow bigger to handle more work, or they will need to use a more powerful device management tool that can handle a big amount of connected devices.
New security risks presented by IoT
An increase in the number of connected devices also presents increased security risks. This means pressure will be on IT departments to IT team will need to tighten up security. Managing networks is one part of that, but a further challenge will be managing the human side of security – ensuring good practice is followed by staff and taking steps to minimize social engineering threats.
IT teams will have to customize IoT solutions to meet their needs
IoT doesn’t yet have many standards. That means today’s organizations face opportunities and challenges in how they customize solutions and tools for their own needs. This can be daunting, but for people working in IT teams it’s also really exciting – it gives them more control and ownership of the work they are doing. Third party solutions will no doubt remain, but they won’t be quite so important when it comes to IoT. True, companies like IBM will be working on IoT solutions right now to capture the market; however, because these innovations are in their infancy there’s a limit on traditional technology corporations’ ability to shape and define the IoT landscape in the way they have done with innovations in the past.
And that’s just a small bit of how the Internet of Things will affect the IT team. When IoT takes off, it will change our lives in the most unimaginable ways possible, so of course there will be even more changes that will happen with the IT teams in charge of this. But then again, the world of technology is ripe with changes and disruptions, so I’m sure we’re all used to changes and will be able to adapt.
Raka Mahesa is a game developer at Chocoarts who is interested in digital technology in general. Outside of work, he enjoys working on his own projects, with Corridoom VR being his latest released game. Raka also regularly tweets @legacy99.