The CIO challenge: Taking IOT from Information to Learning

Vinay Nathan, CEO, Altizon Systems | Monday, 07 December 2015, 13:21 IST

Altizon, headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, and with a presence in Palo Alto, USA,  is a product company focused on the Industrial Internet that provides cloud and on-premise solutions for Operational Efficiency, Predictive Maintenance, Remote Monitoring and Consumer Insight in Manufacturing, Smart Grid and Connected Health industries. 

As CIOs drive the charge of the enterprises toward Digital Transformation they are rapidly evolving to becoming the Chief Learning Officers. Tasked with building a digital footprint that captures not just the erstwhile IT systems and processes but extending them to better understand the physical world and context they operate in. They are now rapidly embracing technologies that help them know their customers better and drive proprietary learning towards new disruptive business models and products.
At Altizon we have been fortunate to work with some trailblazing CIOs who have made this transformation their mantra. Here are a few insights we have gained as we have worked with some of these key change makers.

Embracing the digital connected product
Almost every product that gets utilized by an enterprise today will in the next decade have a digital interface that can spout data out. This data would cover operational parameters of the said product, external status elements, alarms, triggers and other assorted notifications that are a goldmine of data. Much like the consumer data revolution from phones, every genre of products will have the ability to share this data both with the brand owner or the user of that product.
The ability of a product to have this dialogwith both brand owner and the user is unprecedented. CIOs on both sides of this conversation can use this dialog to unleash a learning revolution at par in transformative impact for the enterprise as the information revolution caused by the Internet.

For the creators
The Internet of things is a key enabler towards building connected smart products. Low cost compute and connectivity options have helped industries make a quantum jump towards building these connected smart products.
Telecom providers have attractive data only plans and home Wi-Fi is also ubiquitous. So creators can now look at rapidly making strides in making a large part of their product portfolio connected. At Altizon we routinely look at problem statements that voice a need to enhance connected footprint from 5 to 30% of a product portfolio.
Getting the product connected is the first step towards tapping into information assets that were previously not available to the CIO. Armed with this connected asset a CIO can now collect all event information for all their products in an automated and accurate manner in real time directly from the field. These data sets need to be exposed to all the business line applications for use.

For the users
An enterprise CIO has to now brace himself for an army of these smart connected products being utilized in his universe. As much as the challenge on the security and compliance side are challenging, this is also an opportunity for him to lay the foundation for the digital transformation his CEO so desires.
The journey begins with setting up a data infrastructure that has the ability to capture, analyze and react to all events that happen in the context of an enterprise. It requires the CIO to set guidelines for API driven interactions in a standardized way with every connected product used by his business. This baseline has huge impact on functional heads buying-in to sharing data ownership with all business units. With the appropriate controls in place it will help functional heads to build apps on the fly through do-it-yourself dashboards.

For the CIO it sets the stage for creating a superior understanding of operations and customers by correlating heterogeneous events and data systems. The learning from these can yield better products and newer business models. One such CIO in an upcoming smart township created a new prepaid electricity meter service. The end consumer and the township management authority can immensely benefit in this new offering. An analysis of consumer usage behavior and payment data led to this innovative new offering in the market.