Making IoT magic

Connecting devices is just the first act in an Internet of Things production. The magic happens when analytics transform data into business intelligence. CIOs need to play a role.

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Fred and Ginger, peanut butter and jelly, the Internet of Things (IoT) and... analytics?

Despite all the hoopla over what's possible with connected products, the connecting part is easy compared to what it takes to develop and deploy analytic systems that transform the data deluge into something that gives companies a competitive business advantage.

"Analytics is at the core of the IoT value proposition -- it's the central component for enabling the automation and promise of IoT, whether for consumer or enterprise markets," says Ryan Martin, an analyst at ABI Research. Given the importance of analytics to the value of connected systems, ABI is projecting the market for tools that integrate, store, analyze and report on IoT data to hit $30 billion in 2021.

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With data pouring in at warp speed, the biggest challenge facing many companies is to figure out how to create value in the form of new insights or as a foundation for new business models and revenue streams, according to Ken Piddington, CIO at MRE Consulting, a professional services firm.

Currently, many companies at the forefront of the IoT movement are focused on improving operational efficiencies or leveraging IoT analytics to support proactive and predictive maintenance. While CIOs are often not the principal force behind these and other IoT initiatives, they do have a key role to play in identifying the opportunities, understanding the business goals and objectives, and building out the technology infrastructure -- including connectivity, analytics, storage, and store-and-forward mechanisms -- that will enable companies to capitalize on the IoT's potential.

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