Why This Book?

he digital age and the era of the Internet of Things (IoT) are upon us. We are bombarded by a nonstop onslaught of attention-grabbing headlines about a brave new world in which connected, chatty toasters and refrigerators in “smart homes” are communicating with each other, presumably to better our lives.

And the same is going on in the industrial realm. The Industrial Internet of Things, sometimes dubbed Industry 4.0, promises a world of connected robots and remotely operated machinery that, when strung together, deliver greater manufacturing productivity, better products, and reduced ecological impact.

There are plenty of compelling arguments—albeit not satisfactory commercial evidence (at least not yet)—that the Internet of Things is one of the most important transformative differentiators we’ve seen in decades, perhaps even in a century.

But the sheer volume of noise, buzzwords, and tired clichés that serve to amplify promises from rosy-glasses-donning vendors make it hard to sort out the real from the hype and the possible from the red herrings. It is increasingly difficult to gain clarity as far as the actual business value of many of these new ideas and the long-term impact they will have on manufacturing companies, the workplace, and society at large.

All too often, it’s challenging to articulate the context of specific business problems, i.e., how to explore and realize the opportunities that will benefit your business and your customers.

In this book, I want to look beyond the mere concept of device connectivity to offer a concrete understanding of how the Internet of Things is transforming business models in specific and tangible ways that are creating new value in practically every business and every workplace.

Just as importantly, I want to avoid some of the overplayed technology topics in the Internet of Things discourse, such as communication technologies, data security and privacy, and the hyperbole around how many devices are going to be connected to the Internet in the future. While certainly interesting and extremely important, these topics can be dangerously distracting and lead us astray from what must be at the core of the Industrial Internet of Things narrative: the fundamental change in the ways in which we are going to create value in the future.

This perspective may not always be in agreement with the mainstream attention-grabbing point of view you often encounter, but I hope it will offer alternative thinking to help you chart the path of your Industrial Internet of Things strategy.

Joe Barkai