Does the Internet of Things (IoT) Serve Process?

Jim   Sinur
Jim Sinur VP and Research Fellow, Aragon Research Read Author Bio || Read All Articles by Jim Sinur

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.

Net; Net

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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Standard citation for this article:

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Jim Sinur , "Does the Internet of Things (IoT) Serve Process?" Business Rules Journal Vol. 16, No. 4, (Apr. 2015)

About our Contributor:

Jim   Sinur
Jim Sinur VP and Research Fellow, Aragon Research

Jim Sinur is an independent consultant and thought leader in applying business process management (BPM) to innovative and intelligent business operations (IBO). His research and areas of personal experience focus on business process innovation, business modeling, business process management technology (BPMT), processes collaboration for knowledge workers, process intelligence/optimization, business policy/rule management (BRMS), and leveraging business applications in processes. Mr. Sinur was critical in creating the first Hype Cycle and Maturity Model, which have become a hallmark of Gartner analysis, along with the Magic Quadrant. He has been active in the rules, data and computing communities, helping shape direction based on practical experience. Mr. Sinur has vertical industry experience on the investment and operational sides of the insurance and financial services.

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