Does the Internet of Things (IoT) Serve Process?
I think the answer to the question I'm asking here is "yes" — in certain situations — but processes can also serve the IoT as well. As processes can include "in memory" and adaptive big data behaviors, such processes are equipped to better interact with IoT. And, if processes have analytic capabilities and heuristics embedded, the interactions can do even more. There are any number of ways they can collaborate with each other.
I have identified seven discrete ways they can support or collaborate with each other. Of course, these can be combined in various options to create new and innovative processes and digital platforms. All of these options assume the notion of OODA — Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.
1. IoT as a Process Sensor
IoT can serve processes in providing sensor input around predefined and purposed processes. It could be any kind of device, smart or dumb. In this way, the process polls specific sensors for expected trips, signals, or gradations and takes actions based on typical uses. There are a large number of case studies using this kind of collaboration.
2. IoT as an Event Generator
Processes can depend on the IoT to emit events as they are sensed. These can be expected events, as in the above collaboration, or they can be unexpected events that are collected in an event hub or mined from collections of things of interest. Also, events can be emitted when constraint boundaries are crossed.
3. IoT as a Pattern Generator
Processes can depend on the IoT to generate patterns of interest by aggregating events and data of interest into patterns. IoT can emit these patterns for processes to sort out for themselves. This way the IoT patterns are unfiltered and raw.
4. IoT as a Pattern Recognizer
Processes can depend on the IoT to recognize patterns and to only pass on those patterns that a process might be interested in, rather than all patterns. This is using IoT as a filter for patterns of interest for immediate action while collecting all patterns for future mining and analysis.
5. Process as a Dashboard for the IoT
Processes are good at visualizing results for people and machines, so the IoT can leverage process dashboards for visualizing the performance of portions of the IoT that are of interest.
6. Process as an Intelligent Analyzer
Smart processes are good at applying multiple analytic models (poly-analytics) on behalf of the IoT to add decision power. While there will be smart portions of the IoT, processes can be counted upon for traditional decisions and predictions.
7. Process as the Action Provider for the IoT
The traditional view of process is to serve the IoT as its action engine, especially where systems and people are involved. A large number of case studies use this kind of collaboration. As most of the newer processes are composed of process snippets, portions of processes can be leveraged.
These are the collaboration patterns that I have observed to-date, but I expect that more might be emerging. There might be a case for the just-in-time process that is made up of agent-encapsulated process actions with agent-encapsulated decisions, pattern observation, and observation. I would call this "Process as a Swarming Responder."
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