In 1965, Bruce Tuckerman described the four stages necessary for groups to grow, solve problems, and deliver results– forming, storming, norming, and performing. They have proven themselves for more than 50 years. I’m going to take a bit of liberty with Dr. Tuckerman’s stages and apply them to the IoT industry writ large instead of the small teams and groups they are normally associated with.
If you will permit, I’ll pick a point in time, 1982, and a place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is when researchers at Carnegie Mellon University connected a Coke machine to the Internet and with that seemingly simple act, started us off on the journey this is today’s Internet of Things. I’ll argue that if the Coke machine was being monitored for stock level and storage temperature and that means it really started the Industrial Internet of Things…but I digress… The development of IoT has gone through waves of realization, with specific domains and verticals taking different approaches based on their environment economics (giving IoT many different names through its history) but fundamentally, since that first Coke machine got connected to the Internet, the Internet of Things has driven towards a common goal – delivering value through a connected world.
Technology, in its many forms, including small fast inexpensive processors, dynamic wireless communications, sensors for anything and everything, robust cloud systems, and dynamic edge computing is enabling an unprecedented level of connected (IoT) product development. The impact is beginning to appear all around us in business and industry. From connected trash cans that call home when they are getting full redefine service and logistics, to machines in intelligent factories that sense their health, predict problems before they become failures and request their own repairs, IoT is transforming the very nature of business and industry. You just have to look around to see the pace picking up…given the value, the impact and the opportunity, you might be wondering Why is it taken so long?
I’ll argue that all across the IoT ecosystem, we have been working our way through Tuckerman’s stages – forming, storming, norming, and performing. Especially within the industrial IoT ecosystem where stakes are high and impacts substantial, constituencies have come together to form communities that are performing – solving problems, and delivering results – that is… making their way through Tuckerman’s Stages.
The IIC has worked hard to bring together the organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet. By identifying, assembling and promoting best practices, the IIC community is driving innovation through the creation of new industry use cases and testbeds for real-world applications; references architecture and frameworks necessary for interoperability; influencing the global development standards process for internet and industrial systems; facilitating open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons, and insights; and building confidence around new and innovative approaches to security.
EdgeX Foundry is an open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation. The goal of the EdgeX Foundry project is to develop an open source IoT edge computing platform that developers can use to quickly and easily build, deploy, run and scale Industrial IoT solutions. The EdgeX framework ensures interoperability across tools and solutions, creating a marketplace of interoperable solutions from an expanding ecosystem of vendors, the EdgeX project itself, and the wider open source community to deliver the promise of connected business value. EdgeX creates the foundation that makes industrial IoT edge computing solutions quick to deliver, securely by design and flexible to adapt to the dynamic needs of business. As a true open source project, the EdgeX code is freely available to everyone and participation in all of the project’s activities is open to all.
On their own, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and EdgeX Foundry are leaders in the Industrial IoT journey, each representing a community that is performing – delivering results and solving problems. The IIC is developing the models that shape our understanding of what we need to do, EdgeX is developing the tools to deliver on those models. By collaborating through the established liaison agreement, the organizations are working as one to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things and this I’ll argue represents a new stage of Dr. Tuckerman’s model. The IIC and EdgeX Foundry are swarming as a collective to leverage individual success and focus to amplify impact and drive exponential growth and drive the promise that began in Pittsburgh with a humble Coke machine.