Trucks at Work

Targeting IoT trends

The “Internet of Things” or “IoT” as it’s commonly known (and how the HECK do you pronounce THAT acronym) is making a lot of news these days, especially in transportation circles, where it will supposedly transform the world of logistics as we know it.

Yet, as with anything electronic with so broad a reach, the IoT is going to create all sorts of complex concerns for businesses – especially when it comes to data security. That’s something transportation providers – especially truckers – need to keep in mind.

“The Internet of Things is a revolution [but] there will be serious threats to those who are not prepared and profitable opportunities for those who are,” noted Bart Schouw (at right), director of intelligent business operation (IBO) solutions for Software AG.

“Issues such as security and governance will need to be addressed as IoT begins to impact more and more of our daily lives,” he stressed.

From where Schouw sits, there are several trends – eight major ones, in fact – that companies need to stay abreast of as the IoT continues taking on a more prominent role in the world. Here’s his list:

  • Don't Gamble with IoT: So-called “Untrustworthy Things” will be treated like gamblers in a casino – under close surveillance and approved until they misbehave. Traditional methods of connecting “things” to the IoT using explicit authorization will be insufficient as the IoT proliferates.
  • Intelligence on Things gets up close and personal: As intelligence on the IoT becomes critical to decision-making, it will become necessary for analytics to reside close to the “things” being analyzed. Analytics will evolve both in the cloud and on the “outer edge”— either on the “thing” connect to the IoT itself or on a gateway nearby.
  • Say hello to your virtual assistant: IoT will enable consumers to adopt a “virtual assistant,” which will act in a semi-autonomous manner in the home — monitoring sensor-enabled “things” to replenish light bulbs, order prescription medicines or buy groceries online. But consumers will demand assurances of security and privacy before embracing the trend.
  • Pay-as-you-go Things: The IoT will accelerate the pay-as-you-go model for products. All products will be sold with something “smart” embedded within them. For example, a washing machine could be offered cheaply, or even for free, with the consumer only having to pay as it is used.
  • Wanted: mathematics teachers: As graduates are increasingly snapped up for Big Data analytics, the market will put a premium on math teachers and professors out of schools and universities. Government offices of innovation, employment and advanced education need to wake up and take action. (Impertinent Editorial Footnote: Don’t hold your breath on government types being able to adjust to this need with anything even remotely resembling speed.)
  • Regulation will evolve: Regulators will learn that security attacks can come from any point in an IoT system and in unexpected ways; a bank could be breached via its smart building’s control system, or a city brought to its knees by someone infiltrating their smart city transport systems. They will have to evolve compliance and governance to provide a legal framework for IoT.
  • Smart cities tackle IoT risk: As cities get smarter with IoT, municipal governments will have to enact new regulation to ensure adequate risk management. For example, who is responsible if a smart traffic light fails and there is a multi-car accident? The city? The technology provider? The car manufacturer? Insurance risk will need to be considered in the connected world.
  • Prepare for data doomsday: Organizations will have to start building out robust, advanced solutions on specialized digital business platforms or they will perish in the inevitable data onslaught. Although 95% of companies expect to experience benefits due to the emergence of IoT in the next two years, a majority (65%) find that analyzing big data in real time is very difficult to achieve and nearly 75% are struggling to get proper analytics from their current data flow, a recent survey noted.

“IoT is a real-time challenge; it is Big Data analysis in a pressure cooker,” Schouw added. “Old products will be re-invented and whole new ventures will emerge overnight to focus on the analysis part, and define service on top of it. Innovators and market leaders that are in the midst of this digital transformation will come out as the winners.”

Trucking is right in the middle of all of this, too – just look at what’s happening regarding autonomous vehicles, for starters, or remote diagnostics and freight security.

All of that free-flowing data is certainly offering costs savings and efficiencies to fleets of all shapes and sizes, but heightens the potential damage that can be done if such data systems are compromised.

Part of the brave and scary new electronic world big rig operators must successfully navigate.

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