Saturday, March 28, 2020

IoT Confessions from the War Room – A Content Marketing Experiment #2

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Please read my article “A Content Experiment in Corporate Blogging – Introduction to the IoT Confessions Series” to better understand the context of this article. This is part 2 of a series about IoT (the Internet of Things). Be sure to read Part 1 (“IoT Confessions from the Boardroom – A Content Marketing Experiment“) for some context and continuity. It’s an example of how alternate content styles can be used for corporate blogging initiatives.



Michael Sheehan

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IoT Confessions from the War Room - white board strategy



Large conference room with whiteboard walls on three sides and a glass wall on the fourth with a door. One whiteboard wall is covered with multi-colored post-it notes and another has words and diagrams scrawled in multi-colored markers. The room is crowded with people, some standing and some sitting, all in smaller groups having very animated and heated conversations. It is difficult to hear any specific conversation.

VP of Infrastructure & Operations, INFRA OPS, breaks away from one group and walks to the front of the room.

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Ok, come on all! We have had some pretty productive discussions early on in this IoT meeting but now we really need to get back on track.We have got to make some clear decisions soon. The CEO wants our IoT plans mapped out, and you all heard the directives from your bosses.

Let’s recap where we’re at.

INFRA OPS turns to NET OPS, the Head of Network Operations and in charge of all internal and external networks for datacenter and cloud.

You have repeatedly said that our current networking equipment and software will have to be upgraded in order to ensure we can segment IoT traffic.


That’s correct. As it stands currently, we have a variety of switches that would need to be replaced. And we should speed up our implementation of SD-WAN so that we can make this IoT rollout a bit easier. Nothing better than deploying some shadow appliances to better understand our possible IoT routing and policy configurations right from the beginning. There will be crazy amounts of traffic coming from the factories when we turn IoT on.

VP OF SECURITY, tasked with making the IoT implementation secure, interrupts.


I just can’t iterate this more strongly. You guys all saw that report that just came out from Trend Micro on M2M communication protocols? It’s leaky plumbing!

I’m going to ask, well, demand, that we ensure that our IoT endpoints are secured and their networks isolated. I honestly can’t believe how insecure and open these darn IoT protocols are.

SECURITY turns back to INFRA OPS.

Your group is going to be the one under the microscope here. You need the hardware…endpoints, sensors, routers, switches, all that stuff.

And frankly, I’m very glad that you are heading this up. That’s what Gartner recommends and I’m happy we decided that earlier!


Yeah, well, we are all in this together. And my group can’t do it alone.

We need to do a deep dive into what communications protocols to use…does that even fall under network operations? Do we go edge or datacenter or cloud? Or all of the above?

The Cloud Operations Director, CLOUD OPS, in charge of cloud computing initiatives and operations, clears throat.


Well, actually, I think it will have to be a combination of infrastructures. We need to be able to do real-time transactions for all of the sensor and machinery data – that analysis must be done on-site or at the edge.

And for all of the later analytics, we gotta dump all that data to our data lake in the DC for crunching.

And later, we’ll use the cloud for archival and further analytics. And that’s just for starters.

Head of DevOps, DEVOPS, who manages development operations, closes the lid of their laptop.


One thing that we haven’t decided on yet is what or which IoT platform we are going to use. We must make sure that whatever we choose integrates in with what we have already, otherwise we are reinventing the wheel, hub – spoke – and all. Haha.

Line of Business Director, LOB, interjects.


This is all well and good. But the bottom line is we have a huge undertaking here. Infrastructure, hardware, protocols, integrations, policies, security, this is a long and growing list.

We need to do a bit of a reality check here. With all of these moving parts, what’s our critical path to success so that we aren’t spinning our IoT wheels here?

I’ve got to ensure business continuity while we build this all out and if we suddenly rip out everything in our plants, that will not sit well.


Yep. And I keep circling back to getting some professional help here. Others of you have brought this up as well. We need a partner that not only understands all aspects, but, I feel, is already doing cloud networking, edge, network orchestration, and more. We need to fill the gaps here.

It might also make sense for us to do an RFP and eventually go down the path of a POC. This all depends on timing, of course, so if we can leverage our exiting partners, we may be able to cut some timing.


And, I think it will be critical to ensure that our respective teams are well trained. The learning curve may be a bit steep. Training a cross-functional team will be paramount.


Yes! A cross-functional team for our IoT efforts! Share the knowledge.

Just adding IoT into our network is going to be tricky as much of our hardware was just not made to support it. If we can programmatically add flexibility and control to our network architecture, we will alleviate a lot of headaches.

But wow, just the fact that we are having a multi-team meeting on IoT makes me happy. I read that almost 60% of IoT initiatives are planned without involving IT. I mean, who does that, right?


k, let’s map out some next steps. First, I think we need to set up a tiger team representing all departments.

They’re going to need to meet on a regular basis, define next steps, provide status updates to the tiger team as well as back to their departments.

We need to drive this forward.

People around the table nod their heads collectively. They take out phones and laptops and start sending out email vigorously.


Confessions from the War Room - ceo emailing


CEO is walking by the conference room, seeing the meeting taking place. Takes out phone and sends an email to direct reports.

[Note: Email message is in italics.]



Just saw your department heads. Looks like some solid progress is being made on IoT.

Expecting good things soon…internet of things things.

Thanks for pushing IoT along.




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