Blog post

This Internet of Lab Things – Io(L)T – will be sweet

By Michael Shanler | July 09, 2017 | 0 Comments

R&DManufacturingLaboratoriesIoTIoLTInternet of ThingsCIOData and Analytics Strategies

An artist friend recently asked me what is this Internet of Things “thing” is.  He’s always been suspicious of modern technology and doesn’t like the idea of technology disrupting his natural humanity.   He read that IoT will change the world and is most concerned that his fridge would soon work against him with Amazon Alexa.  He’s convinced Alexa is going to listen to his behaviors, spy on him, and eventually rat him out to his spouse…specifically for his midnight snacking behavior.

I mentioned to him that the concept of connecting his (1) Rocky Road (2) smart freezer (3) bathroom scale (4) iPhone (5) body fat and ultimately his (6) spouse is very feasible and major portions of this have already been done today.  The new “smart things” models will only get easier to adopt as “Smart Homes” and the “Connected Self” ecosystems converge.    However, today his current 1990’s era freezer will not rat him out.    It is just not possible until he has a new IoT infrastructure and connected appliances in his home.

At an enterprise level, CIOs are dealing with transforming legacy environments and infrastructures to enable IoT.  It is pretty obvious that while the promise of IoT is there, CIOs also have a lot of unanswered questions about ecosystems and influence and while strategies are hardening, the path to success is not so clear.     Within the laboratory environment (an area that I cover) there is even more confusion about strategy, vendors, capabilities.   Some example issues:  The existing mega-vendors might know a thing or two about IoT, but don’t know labs.  Boutique lab IT vendors don’t understand enterprise business process.  The laboratory informatics and instrument vendors neither understand your business, nor your IT needs…..

We forecast that the lab-IoT ecosystem will become specialized.  This by the way, is similar to what happened in the consumer, automotive, energy, and industrial IoT (IIoT) spaces.     The Internet of Lab Things – aka “Io(L)T “ –  will follow suit, but the players are late.   For that reason Io(L)T will be positioned behind IoT on our hype cycles.   Some Io(L)T issues that need to be sorted out:

  • What is the business value of all this potential Io(L)T instrument-staff-business system connectivity?
  • What should be in my Io(L)T playbook? What aspects of Io(L)T analytics should be important?
  • Who are the Io(L)T partners in our space?
  • What are people doing today in the lab space with IoT? What about adjacent industries?

To help frame answers to some of these questions, we recently published a note on Io(L)T Chart a New Course With Io(L)T-Enabled Life Science Laboratory Business Moments”.    Check it out.   In it, we provide examples of Io(L)T-driven “business moments”.  You can use these  as example frameworks to come up with your own concepts and business values that Io(L)T can enable.

So…back to my artist friend.  He was worried that this IoT “thing” would negatively impact his life.  He’s most worried that a machine in the cloud would soon start dictating to him when he could have his Rocky Road.…. When I mentioned that his IoT-enabled home could guarantee a continuous supply of random varieties of ice creams, his mood changed completely.   He just ordered himself the new Amazon Prime “Surprise” button  to satiate his sweet tooth.   Evolution!

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Comments are closed