Survey Says: Assessing Definitions and Perceptions of IoT


Stamping on-the-money definitions to the Internet of Things is, more often than one may think, a stumbling block. (Even for experts.) Why? Because terminologies used to describe IoT are subjects to change as its technologies evolve.

Still, it isn’t a fruitless effort. Discourse on what the terrain of IoT encompasses (and the shifts in industry best practices) are of great import, and that’s exactly what took place this morning at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The annual IoT Evolution Expo 2023 “Survey Says” discussion returned earlier today as its panelists probed IoT topics and the ecosystem’s latest trends and fluctuations. On this panel were speakers James Brehm, Founder and Chief Technology Evangelist of James Brehm & Associates, Steve Brumer of BH IoT Group, and Matt Hatton, Founding Partner of Transforma Insights. The session was moderated by Carl Ford, CEO and Director of Content Crossfire Media.

Ford’s first question asked “Are MSPs in our space, or are they not?”

“We’ve been trying, almost desperately, to get MSPs and telcos into IoT for a long time, with limited successes,” Brumer said. “The conceptualization of IoT is different for different people. We can’t simply tell them where they can go buy a bucket or a pallet of IoT. That’s not how it works, and this makes it harder for us to sell as a result.”

Hatton took the mic next. “It’s strange, for people. Much of IoT is still in its early stages, but that makes it no less resilient. Explaining that to MSPs is challenging. Basically, all IoT becomes managed. In turn, managed services can become contextualized by IoT. ‘Internet of Services’ is even a coinable term, if that’d be more palatable for MSPs. What I’m getting at is that IoT is a malleable, lump-together kind of term. That umbrella is easy for us to grasp, but it’s a definitional issue for others.”

Ford then posed another question; this one about 5G in IoT.

“That’s still in its infancy, in a sense,” Brehm said. “We need, as an industry, to challenge ourselves in order to really harness 5G in IoT use cases.”

“It’s yet another definitional discussion,” Hatton added. “5G is still being loosely defined, even as people fight tooth and nail about when 6G will be on its way.”

It seems that customers aren’t coming en masse to IoT providers for 5G-enabled solutions, as Brumer pointed out. “We haven’t had the networks for lightning strikes in 5G IoT because the real interesting stuff doesn’t fully exist yet. T-Mobile and Verizon can tout 5G services, for instance, but applications for it in IoT are tadpoles.”

5G carriers, then cloud providers, then hardware vendors, software providers, resellers, and finally MSPs. The panel more or less agreed that this was a logically necessary progression in order for realizations of 5G IoT to really come together.

As the session continued, Ford and the panelists broke down more concerning the bellwethers of IoT, building and designing essentially for obsolescence, the slow burn of deploying private networks, privacy and security, and how more definitional dilemmas pop up when trying to translate IoT’s usability and functionality.

For IoT adopters, connectivity and infrastructure needs are top priorities, but so are the propositions of digestible definitions for the Internet of Things as more businesses prod at its potential.

And so the Survey Says. (As of this year’s IoT Evolution Expo, at least.)

More info about IoT Evolution Expo 2023’s speakers and their experiences can be found here.

Edited by Alex Passett
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