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Agile and the Internet of Things (IOT)

Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the dynamics of product functionality and delivery as more devices get interconnected over the internet.

According to, there has been an exponential growth in the number of internet users between 1999 -2013 resulting in 40% of the world’s population being connected to the internet. The 40% referred to by is individuals who have access to the internet and not inclusive of personal devices or business equipment. This goes a long way to describe the rate at which interconnectivity would transform access to information and product delivery.

In another report by Gartner, an estimated 6.4 billion devices were connected to the internet in 2016 up 30% from the prior year of 2015. This dramatic increase accounts for over 2.2 billion additional devices being connected to the internet within a space of 1 year according to Gartner reports. Predictions are that an estimated 3.8 billion more devices will be connected to the internet yearly over the next 5 years excluding the 7.3 billion smartphones, mobile and PC devices. This is a stunning statistic that makes a compelling case, for need to have a coordinated approach to business positioning in a complex and uncertain market driven by globalization, competition and regulations Oracle EPLM report.

With the fuzz about IoT, some people remain pessimistic about its proliferation. Some concerns have been about the early adoption around IPv6. In an article by, IPv4 protocol is stretched at the moment as the protocol cannot provide the needed amount of IP addresses needed to support IoT. The argument is that IoT would require more IP addresses than IPv4 can provide. It would nonetheless require innovation and mindset change by companies to adopt this level of change which agile as a framework can do if organizations decide to adapt to its principles. This is another key area of alignment between agile and IoT – the big picture scenario which is the story telling of the current to define the future.

Agile and IoT defined

Internet of Things (IoT):

This brings us to the question, what is the Internet of Things (IOT)? Internet of things (IoT) is best defined as the interconnectivity and operability of devices across a network using a predefined internet protocol.

What is Agile? Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally from the start of a project instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end. In my understanding as a proponent of agile, it is a mindset change focused on driving value while aligning three primary components of people , culture and process in any given scenario or environment.

Why internet of things?

Consumers are requiring more specialized and custom products as a result of growing dynamic needs. Businesses on the other hand, have to deliver the right products with the appropriate security and support to the customer. This change in consumer behavior and growing competition can be linked to increased access to information and awareness, advancement in technology and product supply variables of supply and demand. Organizations and businesses continue to innovate on ways to deliver products faster, with more features and functionality to customers using more cost- efficient methods that maximize shareholder benefits but deliver value all the same.

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IoT would mostly be applied in three primary areas of preventive maintenance, Inventory management and process optimization. Censored devices will be used to track machine health, deficiencies in production, create inventory JIT (Just in time) delivery models and reporting on machine performance or error detection. Listed benefits can further provide real time reporting and data driven decision making efforts within an organization.

Agile and Internet of Things (IoT):

The integration of IoT in current processes such as engineering, manufacturing and software development requires a streamlined and value driven framework. IoT relevance to agile is in three primary areas of frequent updates, cycle management and responsiveness to changing requirements.

Relevance of Agile to IoT

One would wonder the relevance of Agile to IoT. With more devices being connected to the internet in the billions, cycle management for both software and hardware is going to become more relevant. That said, an incremental or iterative approach towards deliver would be required.

  1. Frequent update scenario – Applications, hardware devices and infrastructure are crucial components of IoT. With software comes the need for platform to host application and a network infrastructure for onsite and remote connectivity. Integrated systems require security maintenance, patching and updates to functionality and programmatic changes to optimize performance. For an organization to management effective these changing requirements, a value stream in depth understanding and framework is required to drive such granular delivery as faster as possible while making decisions as late as possible.
  2. Cycle management on the other hand creates a schedule for maintenance. According to the Oracle EPLM report, Uniqueness of product design and supply chains has made it imperative for organizations and manufacturers alike to collaborate on maintenance and servicing of products. Product cycle management requires a value chain management system that coordinates and collaborates at all levels from initiation, design, prototyping, product certification, production, customization, delivery and retirement of product.
  3. Being responsive to changing requirements is crucial in today’s business environment. Every organization’s primary objective is to be a premier company in customer service delivery through a well laid out customer satisfaction models. But with growing disruption by technology, responsiveness to requirements is the end-solution for all organizations. Requirement engineering according to enfocus Solutions , is the foundation of software development and arguably forms the bases for subsequent delivery of an entire project. Changing requirements are not typical only to software development but process, people and culture. Organizations require a holistic view on all three elements as it aligns to the business. With so many mouths (businesses) competing for food (customer recognition in the market place), rigidity in the 21st century implies rattling disengagement and subsequent exit.

In summary, IoT is a disruptor of known business models. But alignment of a framework that applies relevant value stream to processes such as agile increases competitive advantage. Sustainability of practices and continuous improvement are fundamental inputs required to scale through competition, regulations and VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complex and ambiguous) markets.

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