IoT at the Edge
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A View From the Stage at Recent IoT Events


I regularly have the privilege of speaking at industry and customer events around the world. I tend to take as much as I give, sometimes more. That is, I’m happy to impart my IoT experiences, knowledge, predictions, and jokes to all who will listen, but to make sure I call the predictions right, I have to be the listener. To be an innovator and visionary, I believe one must organize a listening strategy around what I call the “Three C’s” --- the Customer, the Competition, and the Collaborator.

Big data at work in security operations center.jpg

The Customer is obvious. We’re in business to serve customers, and determine not only what they want, but what will they procure, and equally important, what will they not use and why. All in order to ensure their business success. The Competition must be comprehended on a regular basis, as no one has a monopoly on insight, and competitors are by definition engaged in the same full time endeavors. The Collaborator, or partner, is also by definition working the same space, has another vantage point, and the distinction of being close and open.

You’ll notice these three C’s are outside one’s Company (perhaps a 4th C). Your company of course is a great source of inspiration too. Early on, your company can also be among those with whom you most need to align. The description of first of a kind technology can sometimes seem like a series of incantations at first. Thus the business of innovation is many times helping people overcome their reluctances, even in your own company.  

Back to the Three C’s. All three are usually at industry conference and events, and I encounter them there regularly. Recently I spoke at the 451 Research Cloud Summit in Las Vegas, Bosch ConnectedWorld in Chicago, the Smart Cities Summit in Austin, the Ohio Digital Summit in Columbus, and GE Minds+Machines in San Francisco. I listened a lot and pick up a lot. Let me summarize some common themes:

  • If you like big data, you’ll love the IoT. From what I see first hand, the data from the things at the IoT edge will generate more data than all other big data combined. Its also the oldest of all big data, since it’s mostly analog data from the physical world (temperature, pressure, vibration, light, sound, location, particulates, moisture, etc.). All of which have been around since the beginning of the universe (I think). I wrote about this after the National Instruments NI Week conference:
  • Successful IoT solutions require the OT (Operational Technology) folks to work closely with the IT folks. The OT folks have the “things” and the data acquisition systems and control systems. The IT folks have the servers, networks, storage required to analyze the data, derive insights, and launch control actions. This is like a peanut butter and jelly --- and the customer wants a complete PB&J sandwich, so both have to blend together for maximum satisfaction. Here’s a little more I wrote on that:
  • All IoT data just can’t all go to the cloud. Although the cloud is a dominant ingredient in so many IoT solutions, there are some conditions under which the data should and must stay at the edge where its captured. These conditions include when security or data sovereignty policy prevents data transfer, when real time response can’t tolerate the latency to the cloud, and when the data is so large it’s unsuitable for the available bandwidth. In this video, my OT colleague and I espouse the reasons why processing the data at the edge is a growing approach:

From my Customers, the Competition, and my Collaborators, I’ve come to embrace some basic convictions and principles about the emerging IoT and intelligent edge. See this video where I succinctly impart these at Bosch ConnectedWorld:

The week of November 28, I have a few speaking spots on stage in London at my own event, HPE Discover. And I’m happy to listen to you there. Also, I detail more about my experiences in the business of innovation in my upcoming book, The 1st Mover, so keep an eye out for it. And let me invite you to follow me on Twitter @TomBradicichPhD.

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About the Author


Dr. Tom Bradicich is Global Head of Edge and IoT CoE & Labs,s at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He and his HPE Labs team develop and commercialize advanced connectivity, compute, and controls software and technologies. Tom directs the HPE Edge and IoT Center of Excellence, which lead company-wide strategies, venture and M&A business and technical assessments, and the Channel-to-Edge Institute channel partner program.

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