Here’s a checklist to start your 2016 IoT initiatives.

Check any 2016 tech prediction list and it will likely include the Internet of Things, or IoT. On those lists, you’ll probably read about smart home devices, wearable technologies, and all the smart phones and tablets we carry around—and that’s just some of the consumer stuff. There’s plenty for enterprises too. For example, IoT in supply chains can cut waste and shrinkage and improve inventory tracking and logistics, and IoT in healthcare can cut costs and improve patient health. So when it comes to IoT projects, what should enterprises be doing?

Back in November 2015, Gartner forecasted that 4.9 billion connected devices were in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and Gartner estimates that number will reach 25 billion within four years. All these connected devices are part of IoT, which Gartner says is the network of dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to sense or interact with their internal state or external environment. According to Gartner, the IoT comprises an ecosystem that includes things, communication, applications and data analysis and it has the potential to transform business and disrupt all industries and all areas of society.

That’s pretty powerful stuff, and why enterprises really need to begin pursuing IoT. But it’s still early days so careful planning is required. As you investigate the opportunities to use IoT in your own operations and map out your IoT plans, here’s a checklist of things to consider:

  1. Make IoT planning a cross-enterprise endeavor that involves people from IT, various business divisions and all security operations teams.
  2. Focus on areas that will provide your organization with the greatest benefit.
  3. Start with smaller projects, and make sure to create a solid business case before embarking on any large-scale deployment.
  4. Consider how IoT initiatives will work with your cloud environments. After all, it is through a cloud (whether in your data center, in a public cloud, or a hybrid of both) that all those smart things will be communicated with, managed and operated.
  5. Develop a clear strategy for managing IoT within your organization. How will the devices be upgraded, repaired, etc.?
  6. Analytics will be necessary to organize and process all the data from the smart things, and apps to present all the intelligent findings from your IoT will be needed.
  7. Remember that with IoT, there’s a lot of crossover and connections between information security, network security, data security, and physical security. Security planning needs to be discussed at the get-go, and also must correlate with mobility as well as identity and access management.

Red Hat is working hard to help customers plan for, develop and deliver IoT initiatives, and believes open source technologies offer a great platform on which to build them. Open source and open APIs provide enterprises a broad range of options and offer the freedom and flexibility they need to innovate. As Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst wrote in his “State of The Red Hat Union is Secure” post last month, “technology innovation continues at a blurring pace, and this innovation has resulted in ubiquitous computing that spans practically every aspect of our lives. I’ve seen reports that anticipate 26 billion connected devices by 2020. These devices, combined with cloud-based services, present amazing opportunities for organizations around the world, and I’m proud of the role Red Hat is playing to help customers embrace this digital transformation the open source way.”

What are your IoT plans for 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!

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