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A Visionary in Open Tech and Industry Standards, Dr. Richard Soley Continues To Contribute to Global Collaboration in the IoT and IIoT

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SPONSORED CONTENT- Dr. Richard Soley, the Chairman and CEO of Object Management Group, Inc. (OMG), an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium, has for decades served as a leading force in the development of object technology, modelling, IoT and Industrial IoT, with roots in open standards & open-source strategies and technologies.

In 1989, Dr. Soley drove the world-leading standardization process and the original Common Object Request Broker Architecture™ (CORBA™) specification – OMG’s open, vendor-independent architecture and infrastructure that enable computer applications use to work together over networks.

In 1996, Dr. Soley recognized the need to create vertical market standards, including healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, and more, which first led to the Unified Modelling Language™ (UML™) followed soon after by Model Driven Architecture™ (MDA™), focusing on standards in dozens of vertical markets.

In 2007, he pulled together a team that established the SOA Consortium, which led to the launch of the Business Ecology Initiative (BEI) in 2009. The focus of BEI was to make businesses more responsive, effective, sustainable, and secure in today's high-tech world.

His work in IoT and IIoT intensified when he developed the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), founded in 2014, where he continues to serve as Executive Director. The consortium was established to accelerate the growth, adoption, and usage of networked machines and devices, including the use of big data analytics, sensor technologies & artificial intelligence.

Dr. Soley also headed up the Cloud Standards Customer Council as the Executive Director, which aided in helping the end-user understand and transition to cloud computing, now integrated with the Object Management Group. In addition, he serves on many industrial, technical, and academic conference program committees, and is an international speaker on issues relevant to standards, the adoption of new technology and proven methods for developing successful businesses.  

Baltimore-born and Boston-based, he holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and began his professional life working on the Multics operating system at Honeywell Computer Systems.

We caught up with Dr. Soley as part of our ongoing series of IoT Innovators to further understand what sparked his interest in the Internet of Things and to learn about his latest insights on the future of IoT usage.

What drew you to IoT?

The "new thing" that enables huge amounts of data (such as what many IoT systems generate) is widely available, with very high-performance rates. Truth be told, we've been doing things like IoT for ages; but cloud computing, machine learning, and cheap sensors have made it more possible and widespread. While the press has focused on consumer applications, industrial applications have multiplied in the smart cities, smart buildings, energy management, oil & gas exploration & production, manufacturing & productions, and so many other sectors!  It's a huge opportunity which we call Industrial IoT.

When were you first introduced to IoT?

It's hard to pinpoint; in some sense, we've been doing IoT for decades.  However, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), which I lead is well-defined.  It launched to the public in March 2014 counting General Electric, AT&T, IBM, Intel & CISCO Systems as founders.

What was your first IoT project?

IIC's first project -- which is still running -- was the Bosch-run Track and Trace Testbed, discovering how factories can be made safer and more productive if the factory carefully tracks everything in its walls -- including people, parts, work in progress and tools. We've discovered some best practices and requirements for new standards (currently being worked by the Object Management Group, OMG, which I also lead) and made proven productivity and safety gains.

What are you doing/working on today?

Today the IIC is managing some 30 testbed projects and is transforming the program itself with our Accelerator Program helping companies use IoT in real, running systems.

What are your predictions for IoT?

Like all successful technologies, IoT will eventually be everywhere and will fade into the background. Eventually, we won't talk about IoT or Industrial IoT -- we'll just depend on it every day.

Where do you see the most value created?

I think the most obvious place will be in smart product manufacturing. In not so many years, parts of machines (like cars!) will know they're failing, and you'll get a replacement or correction in the mail before it fails -- better for the owner and the manufacturer alike.  But that's just one prediction; IoT will have transformative effects across the economy.

What are the most inspiring/meaningful IoT initiatives you've seen?

My personal favorite project of the IIC's testbed is the Cork smart city initiative (called INFINITE). That one has saved lives already. But all the testbed projects displayed on the floor of IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona each October show the power of the technology. They're chosen from hundreds of applicants every year.

Is there anything that you would like to see change i.e., regulations, policies, etc. in the current way the development of IoT initiatives/solutions are undertaken?

Eventually, new regulations related to security and privacy will have to be enacted in many jurisdictions, but we're not there yet. The regulations that have been attempted to date just haven't kept up with technological change.

In your opinion, what is the biggest risk associated with IoT?

Without a doubt, attempts to apply the technology where it has no business. I still laugh at the consumer application in home refrigerators to tell you when you've run out of milk; I can do that by looking!  It's also true that retaining "expertise" in IoT when it isn't there is dangerous, a common problem du jour.

What is one piece of advice that you would offer a business leader that is interested in IoT?

IoT isn't coming; it's here. Start planning, start experimenting, and learn how it affects your business -- regardless of the business you're in.

Rocket Wagon Venture Studios is proud to sponsor this series on Enterprise IoT and IIoT Innovators. We will be profiling a different personality each week. Our innovators include highly accomplished business minds and thought leaders in the field of IoT and IIoT, including CEOs, CSOs, and CTOs of IoT companies of the highest caliber, revealing common challenges, risks, trends, and much more.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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