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IT managers: How to prepare your organisation for the Internet of Things

Matthew Johnston, managing director for South Asia, Dell Software | Feb. 6, 2015
Matthew Johnston, managing director for South Asia, Dell Software, shares a few pointers which IT teams can follow to prepare for a future brought by IoT.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The Internet of Things (IoT) hype focuses on how Internet-connected cars, homes, offices, appliances and gadgets will transform how we work, play and live. Sensors in water bottles, Internet-enabled tennis rackets and every kind of conceivable wearable will capture the spotlight. According to IDC, the IoT installed base will grow from 11.4 billion in 2014 to 28.1 billion in 2020, with 8.8 billion of those coming from Asia Pacific excluding Japan.

The Institute for Infocomm Research predicts that IoT will have a big impact on various industries such as transport, printing and hospitality. Driverless vehicles will be the norm, 3D printing will become more common and digital receptionists with multi language capabilities can be used in restaurants and hotels. Meanwhile, IDC predicts that there will be an influx of consumer IoT embedded into products, like smart watches. There's a lot of potential with IoT that companies and governments can leverage on. However, it's important to understand that simply connecting only three to four devices per employee along with standard office equipment, such as printers, copiers, faxes and scanners, will have a profound effect on organizations and the IT people who support them. As companies and governments look forward to the benefits that IoT can bring, IT departments will be on the frontlines of the IoT assault, especially when it comes to configuring, managing and updating all the devices that need to communicate and interact.

Since the best defense is a strong offense, IT departments should embrace the following top five best practices to help best prepare for IoT:

Blend Traditional Systems and Mobile Management

As more endpoints enter the workplace, there will be increased interdependencies that will create complexities and challenges for IT. Recognize that smartphones and tablets have the same needs as laptops and desktops in terms of passwords, profiles, patches and updates.

When everything is connected to the Internet, the need to stay current with software patches and hardware upgrades will intensify. As a result, we'll soon see a convergence of mobile device and traditional systems management as companies seek solutions to integrate how to discover, deploy and maintain corporate- and employee-owned smartphones, tablets, cloud clients, laptops and desktops.

Turn Data Into Business Knowledge

Companies will need to get more rigorous about collecting high-level usage data on devices. While IT may think they have a fairly accurate picture of their environment, it's conceivable that hundreds or possibly thousands of new devices could show up on the network seemingly overnight. This is especially true in environments where virtual machines are spun up without IT involvement.


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