Book Review: The Future of IoT by Don DeLoach, Emil Berthelsen, and Wael Elrifai

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If you classify yourself as an enterprise thought leader, corporate decision maker or resident of the C-suite, you owe it to yourself to pick up this new title in order to quickly get up to speed with what’s going on with the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Have an upcoming cross-country flight? Stick a copy of this concise book “The Future of IoT” into your carry-on and by the time you reach your destination, you’ll have all you need to make informed decisions about how your company can embrace IoT to gain competitive advantage. No prior knowledge of the subject is assumed, so consuming this resource is an easy way to quickly get up to speed. Although there are plenty of books on IoT, why is another needed? As the authors indicate in the Introduction, because “we evolve.” In fact, tech fields like IoT evolve on an accelerated scale. So you can think of this book as a 2017 time-stamp for the field and a detailed look at the state-of-the-technology for IoT.

“The Future of IoT – Leveraging the Shift to a Data Centric World,” by Don DeLoach, Emil Berthelsen, and Wael Elrifai is a self-published gem for anyone wondering about IoT. Our world is teeming with machines coupled with sensors, all capturing data. IoT is the technology being used to managing it all and create important insights for business decision making. The overarching theme of the book is consistently – data, information, and knowledge – with a wrapper of use case examples to make it real. The book will assist you in kick-starting your evaluation of IoT technology in terms of all that data and how best to capitalize on it.

The book starts out with a nice historical perspective including a discussion for how today’s IoT grew out of the early days of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.

The Progression from M2M to IoT

The whole book is a good read, but I particularly liked Chapter 5 (security and privacy are very important with IoT), Chapter 7 (data governance). Chapters 9 & 10 include important discussions of “the importance of the edge,” see page 128. Edge computing, and sometimes in the form of “fog computing,” is a topic I frequently encounter when covering the IoT industry for insideBIGDATA. It’s also a hot topic with members of the vendor ecosystem. I liked the use of the term “data exhaust,” referring to data packets that have no real value, where data originally ingested by IoT can safely be discarded. This section also discusses issues surrounding latency that affect edge processing, or how quickly can you interpret and respond to flowing data so that there’s real value. In addition, the notion of “first receiver” is defined and cultivated – a notion  which argues for the point of publish and subscribing to be as close to the creation of the data as possible.

Overall, my favorite part of the book was the 4th part (chapters 11-15) which starts off with a discussion of the challenges of becoming a data-driven organization. I think this is the high-level question most readers would be pondering at an early stage in their understanding of IoT. This section contains clarity for the role of the first receiver for enterprises as they begin to leverage their ownership and control of their data. The focus today has been on intelligent connected products and the resulting benefits, but the book made it clear that increasingly the value of data will become more important when it is shared.

The book also looks to the future since the technology will continue to evolve at a fast pace. According to author DeLoach, the future of IoT can be viewed in the following way:

The future of IoT is rooted in widespread acceptance and implementation of IoT in all types of enterprises. But as that happens, the focus will shift increasingly to the enterprise, where leveraging the underlying IoT data will create the most value and, as such, the data primacy issues around IoT data will be a key consideration in deployment architectures in the future. So in short, the future of IoT is leveraging of the utility value of the IoT data at the enterprise level.”

In wrapping up, the authors provide a very useful “Annex” section at the end of the book containing an 8-step “Checklist for Executives to IoT Enable the Organization.” Nice touch!

Here is a list of chapters in the book:

1 – A Perfect Storm: Rapidly Changing Circumstances

2 – Building Smarter Connected Products

3 – Contemplating Big Data in IoT and the Predictive Era

4 – The Limitations of Early IoT Systems

5 – The Basic Challenges of Security and Privacy

6 – The Battle Lines: Who Owns the Data?

7 – The Challenge of Governance

8 – The Utility Value of Data

9 – The Importance of Having the Right Deployment Architecture

10 – The Importance of the First Receiver and Edge Computing

11 – The Challenge of Becoming a Data-driven Organization

12 – Operational Optimization: IoT in the Enterprise

13 – Products of the Future: IoT-enabled Subsystems and the Symbiotic Relationship with Customers

14 – One + One = 2,000,000: The Combinatorial Opportunities for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

15 – Seizing the Wave after It’s the Wave: Investing in IoT Today and Tomorrow

Annex – A Checklist for Executives to IoT Enable the Organization


Contributed by Daniel D. Gutierrez, Managing Editor and Resident Data Scientist for insideBIGDATA. In addition to being a tech journalist, Daniel also is a practicing data scientist, author, educator and sits on a number of advisory boards for various start-up companies. 


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