Paul Mampilly on the Challenges Facing the Internet of Things in 2019

January 8, 2019 - By 
Paul Mampilly on the Challenges Facing the Internet of Things in 2019

The world has been abuzz about the internet of things, or IoT, for a few years now. The question, of course, is whether or not the technology will live up to its many promises. One thing’s for certain: The technology faces a lot of tough challenges in 2019. Below, American investor and former hedge fund manager Paul Mampilly addresses these challenges and some of the potential solutions that are likely to affect the trajectory of this technology in the months and years to come.

From the beginning of 2017 to September 2018, the number of connected devices, or IoT devices, grew from 35 percent to 44 percent. According to Gartner, which held its most recent ITExpo in Barcelona in November 2018, the number of connected things is predicted to hit 14.2 billion in 2019 and 25 billion by 2021. More than ever, then, it’s crucial for developers and others to address the serious challenges that are currently standing between the technology and its full potential. The two most crucial ones, according to Paul Mampilly, are security and incompatibility.

All too often, developers design IoT solutions for specific ecosystems that typically have uniquely defined ways of collecting information, communicating and otherwise operating. This is shortsighted and becoming recognized more as an issue because when IoT devices are constrained to proprietary ecosystems, as is often the case, only a limited subset of problems may be addressed. In turn, innovation slows down or stops entirely. This is unacceptable to someone like Mampilly, who came to the U.S. from India as a young man and launched his Wall Street career in 1991.

Limiting IoT devices and products to specific ecosystems is problematic for many reasons. It limits the market potential of the devices, for example, by not allowing them to easily interact with products in different ecosystems. It also can impede innovation because new concepts that would otherwise be unearthed through exposure to different ecosystems are overlooked entirely.

As Mampilly knows well through his research into the IoT, developers can and often do build support for IoT devices across multiple ecosystems. However, going about it this way poses numerous problems, including:

  • by expanding the code footprint
  • by further complicating security
  • by complicating development in general
  • by increasing the costs of development

Featured on Bloomberg TV, Fox Business News and CNBC, Paul Mampilly believes that a balance can be struck that will help the IoT to realize its full, groundbreaking potential—but a couple of things need to be done. First, developers should leverage existing open source code, IoT kits and standard languages as much as possible rather than starting from scratch every time. Additionally, they should also carry out solution checks to ensure security—they should never assume that existing technology will properly protect new IoT devices.

Speaking of security, Mampilly and many others believe that it is one of the steepest challenges that will be faced by the IoT in 2019. To address this problem, developers must clearly visualize what the IoT device that they are developing should do and put a lot of thought into the matter. For example, what can it do in the ecosystem as a whole—with other types of products? Additionally, developers must protype and test their creations diligently and often. Rapid prototyping is the key to putting concepts into action and to coming up with new ones. It also gives potential customers the chance to try out products under development and to provide valuable feedback.

Naturally, as a skilled investor and former hedge fund manager like Mampilly can attest, organizations are primarily interested in IoT for its potential for increasing profitability. However, studies have shown that only 20 percent of new potential interactions between new IoT devices and existing devices will produce new revenue. However, a snowball effect is likely to occur soon; as more companies work to scale IoT products, for example, machine learning and AI will become more crucial—and for those technologies to thrive, edge computing will become more necessary than ever.

Having grown a $6-billion hedge fund early in his career to one with assets that exceeded $25 billion under his management, Paul Mampilly knows and understands investors’ concerns regarding IoT. Lately, for example, IoT has been moving into the industrial and B2B arenas, exposing the technology to much higher risks. At this point, security has to be emphasized over innovation; otherwise, people may lose so much faith in IoT that it will fizzle out and never realize its true potential.

Fortunately for the future of IoT, however, early adopters are beginning to realize ROI thanks to their use of IoT. Rather than focusing on using the technology to address specific issues and processes, the organizations that are succeeding with it are implementing it across their entire business processes at the organizational level. A great example is found in the story of Royal Swaziland Sugar Corp., which now uses IoT throughout all of its processes, including the growth, transportation and processing of sugar cane.

After launching his career on Wall Street as an assistant portfolio manager for Bankers Trust, Mampilly progressed through important positions that involved managing multimillion-dollar accounts for organizations like ING and Deutsche Bank. He knows that for businesses to continue to thrive and to remain increasingly profitable, adoption of new and innovative technologies is often necessary. For the success of IoT, for example, the growth and increased adoption of edge computing and the cloud are more important than ever.

A major side effect of the development of IoT devices, which now run the gamut and apply to virtually every industry, is the plethora of data that is being generated on a constant basis. Getting this data under control is a vital part of the continued success of IoT, and this means moving away from centralized data centers and into edge computing, which involves carrying out computing processes on or near actual devices themselves. This reduces traffic to external servers and eliminates the need to continually add more capacity to data centers, which is a major impediment to long-term profitability.

Paul Mampilly grew tired of the Wall Street rat race and officially retired from it at the age of 41. In his new career, he now focuses on helping “Main Street Americans” to make savvy investment decisions. He primarily does this through his newsletter, Profits Unlimited, which boasts more than 130,000 subscribers and counting. Having segued seamlessly into his new role, Mampilly understands that change is inevitable—and that conventions for the IoT and human interactions are still being developed.

With a technology that virtually does away with screens and keyboards, what does the future hold for the Internet of Things? Several factors will affect the ultimate outcome, including new algorithms, new sensors, new experience architectures and context and socially aware experiences. Thus far, voice-controlled digital assistants have emerged as the biggest success of the nascent IoT revolution, but that doesn’t mean that the course is set in stone.

After all, there is truly no way to know what will become widely adopted by society and what will fall flat. The only way to realize all of the best potential of this technology, then, is by making it as interoperable and secure as possible.

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