The Internet of Things is causing the worlds of informational technologies and operational technologies to collide, and this collision will only get louder as suppliers and enterprises confront its complexity, opportunities, and challenges. The IT and OT Convergence sector examines the communications and protocol technologies linking the physical and digital domains and vying to create the smart factories and next-generation industrial processes of the future. The next generation enterprise will also need to implement new technologies such as beacons, augmented and virtual reality, and innovative uses of wearable technologies to create a more seamless workplace of machines and people. Billions of new connected endpoints also require that security be a top priority from the shop floor through to the data center. Finally, special focus is given to key markets that present some of the greatest complexities and opportunities as IT and OT merge and compete, including smart transportation, smart cities, and industrial robotics.
Wi-Fi has had a checkered history with operators sometimes embracing the technology and other times disregarding it as an unreliable, spotty coverage network access method. Certainly the growth of mobile broadband over the past two years demonstrates that Wi-Fi network access has not served the needs of business customers, the primary buyers of cellular mobile broadband access for laptop devices. Mobile broadband has a much larger coverage footprint that is tremendously valuable to the business customer who does not want to be inconvenienced with trying to find a Wi-Fi hotspot. But with AT&T’s purchase of Wayport’s worldwide hotspot network, Wi-Fi was on at least one operator’s Christmas list, prompting other operators to ask whether they should take a different approach to Wi-Fi.