The Internet of Things is making big waves in the business world, and for good reason. Over the next few years, we’ll likely see billions of new devices and objects networked together – from vehicles and home appliances, to heating systems and light switches. Soon, the IoT will pervade all aspects of life and business, giving birth to innovation and transforming industries wherever it is present.
It’s no wonder corporate leaders, technology professionals and researchers alike are so interested in staying on the cutting edge of this evolution. A recent IDG study found as many as 72% of organizations expect the IoT to become important or very important over the next two to three years. The IoT is growing fast, but it has not arrived in full force. And clearly, there’s a tremendous opportunity that we haven’t tapped into yet.
It’s that promise that’s driving enrollment in MIT Professional Education’s online course “Internet of Things: Roadmap to a Connected World.” Since its debut last spring, hundreds of professionals around the globe in multiple industries have leveraged MIT’s latest digital program to gain a competitive edge in the IoT space. As one recent program participant put it:
“The Internet of Things is great and is only going to change our lives for the good. Everything from fitness bands to internet connected fridges, smart thermostats to microchipped street lights and smoke detectors can all feed data back to the internet, and that’s potentially a hugely powerful shift in the way that we live our lives. This course helps explore application areas of IoT in areas like Smart Cities, eGovernance, and eHealth…and helps identify challenges.”
The challenges are indeed great. Some would say just as great as the promise IoT. They range from technology architectural choices to security concerns — all of which are explored as part of the six-week course.
“IoT Security was of particular interest to me as a CISO. As highlighted in the course, security in IoT may not be top of mind when initiatives are launched. And it is very clear to me after the class that it needs to be front and center on any such project,” said one recent participant.
And there are communication issues that must be overcome.
“It became extremely clear that a huge part of the entire IoT wave will be dependent on secure wireless capability,” said another recent participant. “Managing this infrastructure with ingrained security is vitally important.”
Enrollees who take part in the course are learning from MIT faculty leaders at the forefront of the IoT space, such as Professors Sanjay Sarma, co-chair of the MIT Auto-ID Labs, and Daniela Rus, Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), as well as industry experts such as Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Together, these experts present an overview of ground-breaking research on topics ranging from RFID to sensors to the World Wide Web, providing participants with a comprehensive overview of existing and emerging core technologies — and how to apply them to the real world.
“I found Sanjay Sarma’s description of IoT as ‘a way of thinking more than a technology’ to be a great creative and motivational philosophy for IoT, “ said one participant who works for Cisco. “As a senior technical writer and course developer, this is a very effective way for me to consider diverse individual features of IoT, from security to convenience or data-gathering features.”
In an online survey, another participant wrote, “The backgrounds of the professors teaching the course have helped me gain a solid overview of the extent of the issues which need to be taken into consideration when developing an IoT solution. I feel much more informed about preparing a holistic approach to IoT product development.”
The six-week online course is broken up into three different modules covering a total of 13 topic areas and key IoT concepts, including identification, sensors, localization, wireless protocols and data storage.
“I’m a software engineer, so for me Module 1: Architectures was priceless, as it helps build a strong foundation to think in IoT beyond the technical details of implementation,” said Eric Chaves. “I’m already working on some IoT ideas and soon I expect to be creating my 3rd startup. Some of our current projects, which are not strictly IoT, are already being re-designed in light of this new knowledge.”
“My favorite part was the third module on Applications, and specifically the Smart Cities lesson because I find it exciting how this technology is going to reshape our way of living in the upcoming years, “ said Jose Manzaneque Ramos.
For Lucas Stephane, the course clarified a lot of IoT aspects and provided him a solid strategic perspective, “The real-world experiences shared by the professors are invaluable. It’s something you can’t get in books or other learning materials.” He said the course complimented his ongoing academic projects with IoT and will help address challenges with 3D localization.
Whether it’s about improving career prospects, learning new techniques that can be applied to products currently in development, expanding knowledge to improve research or broadening awareness to develop better, more comprehensive security policies — it seems everyone who has taken the course has walked away with practical strategies they could put to immediate use.
“I design IoT solutions for the healthcare vertical at Verizon and this presentation helped me understand a key future technology for a business plan I’m putting together. It also made me aware of future technologies coming that will be very interesting for my employer,” said Horacio Ballinas.
“Running a Robotics and Internet of Things program in economic development for the State of Utah, I plan to use this information in forming strategy for our focus areas, implementation of support resources such as workshops, and to better advise those who receive seed funding for product development in IoT,” said Donna L. Milakovic
IoT is an emerging technology that will only get bigger in the coming years. It’s clear that having sound knowledge of all the technologies available will allow individuals and organizations to more quickly take advantage of potential possibilities and capitalize on opportunities that IoT has to offer in years to come.
If you are a business leader or technology professional looking to capitalize in the IoT, MIT’s next program begins March 28, 2017. Learn more.