IT@8 - AdNovum IT Consulting Internet of Things
This year's edition of AdNovum IT Consulting's breakfast event on June 9 was dedicated to the "Internet of Things". Thomas Amberg of IoT Zurich Meetup/Yaler.net gave an overview of the activities in Switzerland, while Marie-France Bojanowski and Marcel Vinzens of AdNovum presented what customer interaction via IoT means for design and how IoT is embedded in an enterprise environment.
- (Pictures: Claudia Meile)
It's a hot topic: refrigerators with internet connection, intelligent light bulbs and other "things". However, the Internet of Things (IoT) is more than a gimmick for technology addicts. This is clearly shown by initial projects insurers, banks and authorities are carrying out. According to analysts, the majority of companies will very soon be faced with the Internet of Things. What better reason do we need to address the topic?
Guest speaker Thomas Amberg, head of the IoT Zurich Meetup and founder of Yaler.net, gave an overview of the IoT activities in Switzerland, and in the Zurich area in particular. In the second speech, AdNovum's user interaction designer Marie-France Bojanowski showed how users get caught between their interaction spread over various user interfaces and future services. Last but not least, AdNovum's Head of Security Engineering Marcel Vinzens presented some recommendations on how to engineer an appropriate architecture and security for IoT systems.
IoT scene Switzerland: active eco system
Thomas Amberg has first-hand knowledge of the Swiss IoT scene. He reports that there are numerous IoT activities in Switzerland. There is a strong maker movement driven by enthusiasts and people interested in the topic who develop prototypes, build their own implementations and try new technologies – often in their spare time. For both the maker movement and research and development, various labs, meet-ups and workshops have been built, enabling them to easily test ideas or even develop them further until they are ready for production. Also in Switzerland, we find manufacturers of sensors, network components or other elements that are required for an IoT infrastructure. In addition, Swisscom and Post are committed to establishing the necessary structures. Not least there are various examples of commercial companies using IoT approaches to enhance their products and services or even develop completely new offerings.
A designer's challenge
Marie-France Bojanowski, a member of AdNovum's user interaction design team, has taken an in-depth look at various design aspects of the IoT. One core thesis states that the touchable product – the "thing" – actually only is the avatar for a service. Hence, IoT is about providing the offering to the user as a service that can be used through numerous interactions and that generates added value. Multi-interface operation is a major challenge for designers and, for example, needs to be taken into account when designing software components. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that many services will be provided by combining products from different sources. As a result, integrating a service into another service will become the normal case. The individual, i.e. the user, doesn't change. The user's needs and abilities with respect to interaction and attention thus remain the focal point of any design considerations.
Architecture and security: best practices rather than standards
In the final speech of the event, Marcel Vinzens, who has been addressing architecture and security topics at AdNovum for many years, talked about the specific challenges arising from IoT. According to him, we are currently witnessing an "IoT interoperability crisis". The different devices and protocols require a carefully structured architecture and close monitoring. Since universal security standards are missing, it has to be defined for each system how to address security challenges, with tried and tested best practices and approaches used in enterprise environments serving as a basis. While the security perimeters will continue to blur, digital identities will become increasingly important because in addition to personal identities device and even sensor identities will play a role, too. Lastly, an increasing number of services will be integrated via API, making the use of appropriate architecture patterns and best practices even more essential.
The lively discussion the participants engaged in and their questions clearly proved that many organizations are already looking into the Internet of Things. Thus, we can look forward to numerous new products and services.
Event series IT@8
The breakfast event dedicated to the Internet of Things was part of AdNovum IT Consulting's series "IT@8". The series is aimed at managers and addresses current trends and their impact on IT and the business. We usually choose one trend and discuss its impact with selected guest speakers who have in-depth practical experience.
The event takes place once a year; the next IT@8 is scheduled for spring 2017. If you would like to attend, please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org