When Captain Ahab embarked upon his journey to find and conquer Moby Dick, he knew it was a dangerous endeavor. He knew that the elusive great white whale was only growing bigger and more terrifying by the day, and he knew that it would require unfailingly systemic thinking to defeat. Ultimately, it was his lack of strategy that led to Ahab’s demise; three treacherous days of battling the beast on whims of fury and fear culminate in the whale ramming the ship, sending Ahab to his death at the bottom of the ocean. What does Moby Dick have to do with the Internet of Things? We believe the IoT doesn’t have to be your white whale.


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The Washington Post hosted a live forum in March featuring powerful business leaders, politicians, and security experts gathered to discuss one thing: The IoT. In an article written for Forbes, contributor Howard Baldwin recapped the event, giving highlights and takeaways for IT leaders.

 

“The webinar launched with one of the best explanations of the Internet of Things I’ve heard, from Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist, Progressive Policy Institute. He described the Internet of Things as the ‘extension of the Internet to the physical world. The Internet has transformed digital industries, while the Internet of Things will transform physical industries.’” We’ve already witnessed the impact of the IoT, but the reality is we can barely fathom its growth in the next decade. But that doesn’t mean we can’t plan logically and strategically.

 

CIOs are now aware that their customers should be top priority. The user lies at the heart of IT. “As any user interface designer knows, the simpler the interface, the more complex the device is underneath. That means CIOs will have to think more about better design, simpler design, and reliability when it comes to the products their companies design or support.”

 

Users today simply expect their technology to work, and if it doesn’t, they’ll find a similar solution elsewhere. This sentiment was expressed repeatedly at the forum, by multiple speakers. Wearables represent ease and comfort and thoughtless interaction between human and tech. When technology removes us from our natural functions and thought processes, it becomes inconvenient. So for IT leaders today, the Golden Rule is imperative.

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Despite the challenges, there’s an underlying value to this imminent connectivity. As Dave Icke, CEO of wearables manufacturer MC10, stated, “The exciting part about the Internet of Things is closing the information loop and providing insight and feedback. Consider a medical device collecting information with high sensitivity, and comparing the data with other patients, and thereby being able to deliver personalized medicine. You can do that with machines, planes, and automobiles as well. You have to make the connectivity bi-directional for a more automated system.”

 

The areas that CIOs should be focusing on—social, mobile, analytics, cloud—will benefit tremendously from IoT data. Cater to those providing the data and your business will see immediate transformation.

 

In the end, yes, Moby Dick and the IoT bear some commonalities. They’re big and getting bigger. They’re dangerous. They’re exciting. They’re consuming. But the Internet of Things has all the potential to make the enterprise—and the world—a much simpler place. And you’re far more rational than Ahab. With the right strategy in place, even the choppiest seas and the biggest whales can be conquered.

 

For Baldwin’s full story, please read “Why CIOs Need To Think About The Internet Of Things.” And to learn more about Intel’s work on the IoT, find all your updates here.

 

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