one company’s sensors need to be stored in a
way that is comprehensible to another company’s
analytics tools. If IoT protocols instead become a
mishmash of proprietary soup, and the process of
gleaning insights across different IoT platforms
recalls the frustration of opening a Macintosh file
on a Windows PC in the 1990s—well, Io T’s future
will be limited.
Nearly every organization realizes this and—at a
conceptual level—espouses the widespread adoption of universal Io T standards. Resistance arises,
though, when a company realizes it will have to
shed its existing standards and systems to comply
with an emerging standard.
The solution is to emphasize how much is possible with just a little effort, says Pauli Kuosmanen,
chief technology officer of Digile, a nonprofit company based in Espoo, Finland that’s dedicated to
building IoT collaborations among Finnish companies. “The problem is not the technology, it’s the
mental attitude. You have to remind people that
if they cross the borders of their silos, they will be
rewarded” through the Io T, Mr. Kuosmanen says.
Global standards organizations such as the Inter-
net Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Insti-
tute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
are developing IoT standards aimed at consensus
interoperability. In July, a group of experts con-
vened by IEEE met in Munich, Germany to begin
developing new IoT standards. The group’s leaders
know the project is daunting.
“The great challenge regarding the Io T is that it
is vast,” says Mary Lynne Nielsen, technology initiatives director, IEEE, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.
“It encompasses so many different businesses and
technologies that we currently think of as relatively
discrete. We’re asking these technologies to start
interacting with one another in ways that people
probably didn’t envision 10 years ago.”
Investing in the Industrial Internet
In fact, many machines that could become connected to the IoT are so old they predate the
Internet. It’s a substantial hurdle in the way of the
development of the Industrial Internet, a subset of
the Io T focused on industrial processes.
In 2012, GE pledged to invest US$1 billion in Io T
initiatives by 2015. The global organization’s IoT
projects range from hospital robots that can sort
and sterilize tools to predictive software that helps
“The problem is not the technology,
it’s the mental attitude. You have to
remind people that if they cross the
borders of their silos, they will be
rewarded” through the Io T.
—Pauli Kuosmanen, Digile, Espoo, Finland
One challenge to a
is that much of the world’s
predates the Internet.