One of the emerging technologies that offers businesses and government agencies an incredible amount of productivity, operational, and business potential is the Internet of Things (IoT). This growing network of intelligent, connected devices, sensors, machines, and other physical entities could add more than $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to Accenture.

There are countless applications for gathering, distributing, and analyzing IoT data.

  • In healthcare, physicians can quickly detect patterns in a patient’s medical symptoms that can be diagnosed and treated faster based on readings from medical monitors.
  • Wireless carriers can already spot and quickly act on network anomalies for preventive maintenance and to avert costly outages.
  • Retailers are exploring various ways to take advantage of WiFi in their stores and data generated from consumers’ smartphones, from kiosks, and other devices to strengthen the customer shopping experience.
  • Government agencies are just beginning to tap the potential from using IoT data. Cities such as San Francisco are able to collect real-time information about available public parking spots using sensors embedded in parking lots and making that information available to citizens.

Despite the enormous potential for using IoT data across various types of businesses and industries, few businesses have a viable strategy for taking advantage of this information. A recent Gartner survey of nearly 500 IT and business leaders reveals that most organizations have only just begun experimenting with IoT and only a fraction of enterprises have deployed technologies to harness IoT data in production environments.

This represents a massive opportunity for CIOs to play an active role in these efforts and to spearhead the work that needs to take place behind the scenes for making IoT feasible for the enterprise.

A good starting point can be educating C-level executives and the board of directors about the potential that IoT can bring to their businesses, especially in terms of productivity gains that can be reaped, operational efficiencies, as well as new business opportunities that can be acted on.

From there, CIOs can help shepherd pilot projects that can be used to explore revenue opportunities from applications, connectivity, services, security, etc. Low-cost pilot projects can also be used to examine gaps in IoT application strategies, such as additional infrastructure, skills, and other resources that may be needed.

IoT projects also represent a colossal opportunity for CIOs to champion the deployment and use of analytics tools to harness insights that can be generated from M2M data. Data visualization and other types of analytics tools can enable business leaders and other knowledge workers to identify trends generated from IoT data and to act quickly on business and operational opportunities yielded by these insights.

IT leaders can also guide undertakings to make IoT actionable, including overseeing the selection and deployment of technologies needed to gather, distribute, and store IoT data.

What do you see as the CIO’s role in the future IoT landscape?