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Industrial IoT: Big Data Ain’t So Big Without Identity

Earlier today I read Accenture’s new report on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In the report Accenture states that by 2030, IIoT will add $30 Trillion to global GDP and that a major inhibitor to IIoT is outdated or non-existent access management.

I fully agree that IIoT has the potential to transform industries, drive revenue, and spark the next industrial revolution. I also agree that legacy identity won’t cut it. However, I do think the mindset around what constitutes value with IIoT must evolve in order to reap big rewards.

Today’s IoT discussions tend to center around big data. As more connected “things” come online, endless data is collected for analysis. That’s all peachy, but data is just the first step. In order to really affect the world of IIoT, data needs to be actionable. That’s where identity is central.

As each “thing” comes online it has an identity lifecycle that needs to be managed. Just like people, the identity of “things” requires security, data authorization, identity linking, policy, and enforcement, to name a few. Using real-time data to enforce identity policies for “things” is what drives more efficiency around quality, just in time delivery, and cost.

For example, a container ship can now “log in” and tell a smart crane that it’s arriving in port — and what it’s carrying, and where it’s headed. And a shipping container can warn the harbormaster if it contains hazardous materials, in case there’s a fire. These things are not only connected, but interconnected – so they can exchange critical information using their unique identities.

As Scott McNealy once said, “establishing who’s who, what’s what and who gets access to what is the Holy Grail of modern IT, and a way to solve a lot of problems and make a lot of money.” Scott was 100% correct. Big Data ain’t so big without identity.

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Daniel Raskin

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