The focus on “smart connected products” was all about “IoT enabling” the product providers. Instead of coffee makers, deliver “smart coffee makers.” Just like 1997 saw everything add “.com” knowing that would equate to massive growth, the 2011 - 2015 saw so many products become “smart.” There is nothing wrong with that. Some of these were ridiculous, but most were useful, if not ultimately essential. But the “IoT-enabled products” were silos of information, owned and controlled largely by the product provider. But as organizations began to add tens or hundreds of these devices, the issue of data ownership and control began to become an issue. The battle over ownership has hardly peaked, but more and more organizations are beginning to figure out that the real value in IoT is in the data, or rather, the analytics and resulting insight derived from the data. But to contextualize and leverage the data, the data rights, ownership, and control has to become better established.
We have to become “IoT-enabled organizations” before we indeed can get to Systems of Systems. Along the way, organizations, as well as the product providers, for that matter, will begin to better address the foundational elements of IoT such as communications, security, privacy, governance, and analytics. The architecture means everything, as does the human side of all of this. Organizations will need to adapt the jobs, roles, and processes that allow for the appropriate interaction between the information technology elements of the organization and the operational technology elements. This is not an inconsequential progression and may represent the most significant struggle of all to become mainstream. We are beginning to see this happen, and that will continue to evolve.