2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. This annual report provides strategists and planners with an assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 2,000 technologies. This year’s report focuses on Digital Business and highlights the areas Gartner thinks “have potential for significant impact.”
It comes as no surprise to us at MachineShop that the Internet of Things (IoT) - where everyday objects have Internet connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data - is situated at the peak of the 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Special Report issued last month.
In 2012 and in 2013, Gartner’s analysts predicted that IoT had more than ten years to reach the final stage of maturity known as the “plateau of productivity”. This year however, they’ve given IoT five to ten years to reach this mark, noting that The Internet of Things “is becoming a vibrant part of our, our customers’ and our partners’ business and IT landscape.”
In addition to the potential for accelerated adoption of IoT solutions, of particular interest is Gartner’s recognition that the Internet of Things is a driver behind several ‘fast movers’ making gains from the first stage of the Hype Cycle (innovation triggers) towards the peak of inflated expectations, where IoT is positioned.
The convergence of Information Technology (IT) with Operational Technology (OT), for example, moved nine positions on the curve and is ‘at the peak’ on Gartner’s priority matrix. This integration of data from OT systems with their back-end IT counterparts has the potential to create and improve communication and interaction between operational systems from different equipment vendors, which often utilize different networks and protocols, and is a move toward breaking down OT and IT information silos. The delivery of analytics capabilities and tools as a service - what Gartner calls business analytics Platform as a Service (baPaaS) – also made a big move (up 12 positions), pulled in part by the promise of IoT.
So what does this mean to MachineShop?
We believe that creating connected, integrated and engaged business solutions in today’s hyper-connected world of IoT requires a new architecture – one that marries the use of APIs with standard, discrete, purpose-built services that allow developers and their applications to leverage an increasing number of connected systems and related data sources. By extracting and managing information through APIs (modern application developers almost always use API’s or web services to create their applications), organizations can unlock significantly more business value from their systems and assets in a more flexible and efficient way.
We’ve also taken note of Gartner’s position that Internet of Things vendors will derive most of their revenue from business services that pull data from IoT networks, and have introduced what we call Services as Platform.
By service-enabling data sources, it is our belief that organizations can create connected business solutions from virtually any combination of devices and systems. The easier it becomes to access meaningful data from IoT sources, the easier it will become to build new applications, integrate existing systems and share information.
To this end, each service in MachineShop’s next-generation middleware has a specific RESTful API that can be used for interfacing to our system. In this way customers can pick and choose specific services that are valuable to them without the requirement of deploying or licensing a large monolithic middleware or IoT platform.
Beyond Internet enablement, Service Enablement counters the conventional, complex, and costly ways of developing applications, integrating systems and enabling business intelligence with a modern, advanced and extremely flexible alternative.
As IoT sits atop the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, forward thinking organizations are beginning to understand they must change the way they consume and use data, and manage the underlying systems, devices and applications that are their source in order to take full advantage of what IoT has to offer.