By Dirk Paessler, CEO at Paessler
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to gather pace, IT professionals are figuring out how best to ensure that it delivers on its promise. Of course, the benefits of IoT are enormous, as has been demonstrated by the advent of smart homes, and the increasing use of wearables in the health and leisure space, and it has the potential to change how we work and live.
Challenges in B2B
However, in the B2B world in particular, IoT presents a unique set of challenges, due to the sheer complexity of many workplaces. Take a connected factory, for instance, where there could be any number of connected industrial machines and equipment all able to talk to one another and self-diagnose. The challenge for system admins here is to integrate a diverse and complex range of devices into the existing IT network, to marry the physical with the virtual, without compromising the security and stability of their organisation’s existing IT infrastructure.
There is no denying the advantages of IoT. For manufacturing it promises reduced downtime on industrial production lines thanks to machinery that can effectively repair itself and order new parts without needing to suspend production. The health and safety industry could also experience huge gains, as wearable technology in an industrial setting that measures factors such as temperature and noise exposure could alert employees before their environment becomes unsafe.
Keeping a close eye
However, as more and more ‘things’ are integrated into the network, there needs to be some way to manage them and to keep a close eye on the IT infrastructure. One solution lies in the use of an IT monitoring solution. Take the manufacturing sector as an example. If a machine or production tool falls off the network, a network monitoring solution would be able to recognise this, and advise the administrator to remedy the problem in order to keep everything running smoothly.
Consider the healthcare sector. A whole host of devices, from pacemakers to hearing aids, could ultimately be connected via IoT, allowing healthcare professionals to perform tasks as diverse as regulating body temperature and monitoring heart rate remotely. As in the manufacturing sector, however, a growing reliance on IoT can lead to problems, and serious ones at that.
Say an application or device disconnects or crashes, the implications could be potentially life threatening. In this instance, an IT monitoring tool becomes an early warning system, helping to avert network problems before they escalate, and in effect saving lives.
Obviously, the potential of IoT to change the face of an industry such as manufacturing or healthcare is huge, but its success very much hinges on the assurance of a dependable and fully-functioning network.
The prospective benefits of IoT are there for all to see, but it is clear that more focus needs to be given to how we can make it happen, rather than simply what it can deliver.
Paessler is an IT monitoring specialist based in Nuremburg, Germany.