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IoT In Action: 5 Questions with Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, Industrial Internet Consortiu

Q1: How would you describe the current state of IoT?

Let me focus on Industrial IoT, where transformation will be most valuable. A couple years ago everyone was confused about what it meant, whether it was related to digital transformation, digital twins, and so forth; I think the available knowledge is now multiplying rapidly and by the end of the year it will be pretty clear where to go for insight into how your business will change. We are at the classic "peak of inflated expectations" where the hype is overwhelming; I expect the "trough of disillusionment" to be rather shallow, since we have solid results from real projects, not to mention Industrial Internet Consortium testbeds! Q2: IoT is picking up steam but is very fragmented by industry. What is the role of organizations like the Industrial Internet Consortium in helping accelerate IoT? Just to learn how to embed IoT technology in industrial settings, like healthcare systems, mining, financial services, agricultural settings, manufacturing & production, energy grids, smart buildings, smart cities and the like. The Industrial Internet Consortium testbeds try out IoT in real industrial settings to learn how the business changes, what kind of transformations to focus on, what technology works and doesn't work, and what standards will make that fragmentation less painful.

Q3: What is the most common thing that you are asked from companies trying to use IoT in their products or services? What do I do first? Not just in IoT, but in every new technology movement, people want to get past the hype to the real value and return. That's precisely why we developing the Industrial Internet Consortium testbeds, to go all the way from use cases to learnings in real settings; and starting this year, going forward from there to develop standards that converge the practices necessary to win in Industrial IoT.

Q4: What is the dumbest thing you have seen in the market lately? Waiting for 5G. Or let me say, waiting for the Next Big Thing in general. You can get so much operational efficiency -- and even new business models -- today, so waiting doesn't make sense. In the case of 5G, I'm sure it'll be wonderful but in some Industrial IoT settings we don't even need wireless protocols! Q5: What do the next 12 months look like in IoT?

Winning Industrial Internet Consortium testbeds are starting to push through to specific learnings and even new standards. We'll see that knowledge converge in a way that the great mass of industrial companies can make the transition much more easily. We expect to say quite a lot more about that this year at IoT Solutions World Expo, 16-18 October 2018 in Barcelona, Spain!

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