4 things to do now to get ready for the Internet of Things

Loads of IP-addressable sensors are descending on the enterprise. Here's how you'll need to pull them all together.

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There are challenges within OT. For example, Campisi says GE's Predix OT management platform works only with GE sensors, such as those embedded in its jet engines. The company has, however, developed partnerships to offer a more holistic look at optimizing airline operations, ranging from setting crew schedules to operating fleets more efficiently, he says.

But a consolidated management platform for the many different IoT devices out there doesn't exist yet, says Colbert. "There's no single pane of glass that can traverse all of the different types of technologies," he says.

That will change, says LeHong, as machine-to-machine cloud platforms such as Axeda, Etherios, MyKoots and ThingWorx emerge to fill the void.

Colbert agrees. "There will also be hubs, routers and gateways that will combine with cloud capabilities to bring together the disparate IoT," he says.

Right now, though, the underlying infrastructure to support it all is inadequate, says McKenna-Doyle. "These days, CIOs have to be the integrators of all of these specialty devices and capabilities," she says.

Fortunately, IT is very good at dealing with these types of issues. At Boeing, Colbert says, the IT organization has "locked arms" with the factory technical teams. But Curran says that level of upfront participation is the exception rather than the norm. "The tendency is for the product people to just build the product and then come to IT," he says.

CIOs can't afford to get involved after the fact, but that's an all too common state of affairs, says Forrester's Pelino. "The back-end stuff? The marketers don't think about that. This is something you have to be proactive about," she says.

And IT's involvement shouldn't stop there. Many projects create data silos, so IT can also add value by integrating data in back-end systems and performing analytics, Pelino says.

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