MUMBAI, INDIA: ‘Digitisation and Internet of Things’. This sounded a refreshing island amidst a lot of other enterprise IT trains hustling everywhere with frenzy at the recent Gartner Conference. A session that can be enjoyed with a coffee in hand and one with a lot of curiosity stimulant to go with too. You wonder, why Hung Le Hong, Research VP, Executive Leadership and Innovation, Gartner is talking about sci-fiction stuff at a CIO gathering. Luggage jumbled-up, you wonder. But as much of square peg in a round hole as it may appear, it turns out the hole itself may have to reshape in future for the new peg he is hinting at. Let’s find out more.
Why are you turning up the volume on something called digitization? Is it that big to watch out for?
May be not now, but certainly in future. The Internet of Things is a new world we will see soon. Smart devices with IP addresses; or a table and chair hooked up to your wi-fi chips or smart and brainy coffeemakers; it’s all on the way. There would be plants soon which can keep tabs on their humidity with smart sensors and will tweet you when you forget to water them. Lots of pilots are happening. Between 2015 and 2020, volume of Internet of things will be way bigger than human-related Internet volume.
Would these devices be intuitive or intelligent?
Some would be very intelligent with the ability to balance the other side. A car can have mechanisms to check the sugar levels of the burger or ice-cream or coffee you are having inside and it will warn the human owner about sugar levels. All this is not here now, but I am projecting a future where devices would be smart about themselves and about what’s going around. Like advanced analytics will have the power to significantly improve fraud detections in case of insurance firms.
Can there be Franken steins among the Optimus heroes?
The greater danger actually is something else. Traffic lights working on Internet may be threatened more by a human fiddling it with wrong intentions. Humans breaking in would a greater danger.
What about standards and compatibility issues?
Today, things are very immature but standards and hardware are being developed to reach new levels.
Why should it concern a CIO at all? Apart from enjoying all this as a consumer?
It concerns him a lot, with sharper implications actually. Today, he has to manage the issues that come with smart phones, tomorrow it would be vending machines too. Let’s pick the Internet of dumb things. Like a barcode on a can of cold drink that points to an Internet point for more information etc whenever a consumer buys it. It sounds fancy and is a great marketing or branding tool, but as a CIO of this company you will have to ensure that when the consumer comes to the site directed, everything works as expected. Having intelligent parking spots or traffic poles is great, but a CIO will have to organize everything smoothly together. It’s his job and challenge now to orchestrate information from all these sources at varying degrees and points.
Would this digital era replace people? Automation effects as can be expected.
Replacing people will not happen. Augmenting people will happen. No matter how intelligently wired or automated a diagnosis is, a doctor or a human element always comes in. Humans will find digital mediums as an aid.