Predicting the Future of IOT

Burt Hurlock, CEO of Azima DLI


[Included in "Things to Think About and Do 2016, Uptime Magazine and Reliability Web]


History of Business Harvard Professor, Richard Tedlow, is fond of saying, “We walk into the future facing backwards.” By this he means we look to the past for guidance on how the future might look. He illustrates the point with an early concept rendering of a railroad, which is a line of stagecoaches hitched to an engine with a barrel stave boiler. Cast iron boilers and railcars were still in the future, but stagecoaches were well-established people movers, so that’s how the artist

imagined a railroad.


The hyperbole swirling around the Internet of Things (IoT) may be in similarly dangerous territory by envisioning a future based too strictly on the past. IoT designers and builders are rightly excited about the potential of prescriptive data that industrial assets will generate in reams. Few of them have worked in a plant or managed an industrial workforce. Many of them expect adoption cycles similar to retail and banking – in the range of three to five years – driven by young, technically savvy, demanding consumers. Is that consistent with what we already know about today’s target IoT user? BurtBio_Sq3.png


IoT will face challenges in the industrial executive suite as well. To be sure, IoT is a big idea with far-reaching implications, but its economic impact is at the margin, both in terms of investment and return. Industrial change agents and visionary leaders concern themselves with big budget, game changing decisions. IoT is not a game changer, it is a game optimizer. IoT squeezes cents from dollars.


The industrial executive suite pushes decisions like that to the user. IoT will come, but only to organizations squarely focused on optimization now. Their cost and reliability advantages in three to five years will leave competitors depending on game changing strategies to survive.

About this page

Azima DLI participated in Reliability Web and Uptime Magazine's latest project that looks each year to
"Things to Think About and Do".  This is their issue for 2016 that brings together industry leaders to share their thoughts and predictions around Big Data and IoT.