Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tech Managers: 3 Things to Keep in Mind About IoT

Tech Managers: 3 Things to Keep in Mind About IoT

One of the major industry buzzwords is the “Internet of Things.” While people have an abundance of applications for IoT, what needs to transpire to ensure these applications are possible? As a graduate student in the IMC program at Northwestern University with an interest in IoT and AI, I have found two articles which focus on the relationship between these two technologies.

The first article "The Internet of Things Will be the Worlds Biggest Robot"( by Bruce Schneier published in Forbes indicates that the “Internet of Things” is the computerization of everything in our lives. Schneier talks about how you can buy internet-enabled thermostats, light bulbs, refrigerators and car. Soon Schneier argues that “everything will be on the Internet: the things we own, the things we interact with in public, autonomous things that interact with each other.” The article states that the two things that make this possible are sensors that collect data about us and the environment and actuators that will affect our environment. Schneier states that “Increasingly, human intervention will be unnecessary. The sensors will collect data. The system’s smarts will interpret the data and figure out what to do. And the actuators will do things in our world.” This will create what Schneier calls the “world-sized robot.” This world-sized robot or “world-sized web” as he calls it will be on at all times collecting data.

The second article “IoT Won’t Work Without Artificial Intelligence” ( by Mark Jaffe ( published on talks about how interconnected the success of IoT and AI are. Jaffe states that “as the rapid expansion of devices and sensors connected to the Internet of Things continues, the sheer volume of data being created by them will increase to a mind-boggling level.” While all of this data can provide a ton of useful information, its true value will not be recognized by human analysis. This is because “it’s simply impossible for humans to review and understand all of this data.” Jaffe argues that in order to IoT to live up to its promise, we must improve the speed and accuracy of big data analysis. This is where the machine learning aspect will play a vital role. Jaffe hammers his point home by saying “ since current approaches don’t scale to IoT volumes, the future realization of IoT’s promise is dependent on machine learning finding patterns, correlations, and anomalies.”

As a graduate student at Northwestern University in the IMC program, these two articles lead me to these three action items.

  • Pursue Standardization - The first company to create a standardized adaptable form of Artificial Intelligence will be in the best position to leverage the growth of the Internet of Things. 
  • IoT Rules - IoT will only go as far as artificial intelligence will take it.
  • Sense for Success - Improving sensors, actuators, and mobile capabilities will provide the richest and insightful data for marketing analysis.

As a CMO in the technology space, following these three actions items will help you better prepare for the changes taking place in this connected world.

Joseph Macdougall is an M.S. candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University - Medill School, Class 16. Prior to attending Northwestern, Macdougall received a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Miami. Upon graduation, Macdougall is interested in pursuing a marketing position in the technology industry. Macdougall can be contacted at Twitter @Joe_Mac15 and at LinkedIn at Please let me know what you think and feel free to comment.

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