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December 2015, Volume 3, Number 6

IoT applications seen by some as more 'talk than action'

Maribel Lopez, founder of San Francisco-based Lopez Research, thinks manufacturing may have a head start on Internet of Things, or IoT, applications, but "it's a lot of talk and not a lot of action," she said. "First of all, the phrase 'IoT' is meaningless because it doesn't talk about anybody doing anything that's useful. Just connecting your stuff is not enough." For IoT applications to be meaningful, several things must happen, she said. First, "things" must be connected securely -- hardly a no-brainer. It can be hard to get wireless connectivity into manufacturing facilities that are laden with concrete walls and heavy iron pipes and machinery. Because of that potential interference, the manufacturing process "may, in fact, need to be a wired IP network," Lopez suggested. Provisions might have to be made for error-free data transmission if the application requires it. The data must get into workers' hands, perhaps in mobile apps on ruggedized tablets. "That's not necessarily cheap hardware," she said. "Once you collect that ...

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