Articles, Cybersecurity, IIoT, Industrial IT

Why "Hackers" are more important than ever in creating responsive IIoT ecosystems

So with security earmarked as one of the key concerns of Industrial IoT professionals, why would anyone want to make such a provocative statement? Of course, in referring to “Hackers” I am not referring to highly talented, under-challenged and probably sleep-deprived university students or even state-sponsored professional actors for that matter. What I am referring to, of course, is people with the brilliance to be able to see a problem/opportunity before the crowd and use their team-working abilities, communication skills and creativity to come up with a solution that moves enterprises and the world forward.

Large enterprise is under-threat in a connected, customer-centric economy:

I seem to be in a provocative mood today, but in essence, I believe the above statement to be true. One of the boons of the modern IoT-enabled economy is that modern customers are not so concerned with where they get their products and services from; principally, it has to be customizable to their tastes and needs, and be easy to get. Now, if you have worked in large matrix organisations, you will recognise immediately a culture clash between the expectations of the modern customer and the standard procedures of established enterprise. If e-commerce platforms have done anything for the world – aside from turning spam mailing into an art form– they have created a level playing field where it is no longer the biggest or the richest that wins but actually the most responsive and agile.

Why Start-ups are not the answer unto themselves:

While the ‘start-up’ spawn of the last few years has created some fantastic outcomes, it has also produced a lot hot air and wasted plenty of investor gold. In a very broad sweeping generalisation, I will say that start-ups often lack the legacy, discipline and process-knowledge to change the world.

All hail the hybrid organisation - large enterprise needs to dance like a ballerino and sting like a bee:

Legacy gives organisation a reference point; it gives them a set beliefs and cultural behaviours that have allowed them to stand the test of time. But, at the same time, in a world where all signs show that disruption is accelerating, legacy can become the ball and chain holding your organisation back.
What do we need then?
I believe we need a hybrid organisation; An organisation where there are ‘safe-play areas’ where anybody can jump in and create, innovate and move their organisation forward at the pace of a start-up. In my perhaps idealistic utopian modern organisation, employees would have the opportunity to disrupt themselves, their colleagues and their company before the competition has a chance. If this were to work – and there are some very nice examples underway – large industrial companies would have the benefits that come with being established, for want of a better phrase, the benefit of incumbency but without the shackles that too often accompany being large and slow to change.

Am I wasting my and your time here?

So where am I going with this long line of rhetoric, I probably should have just written standard marketing gaff announcing that we have a few more places for our Hackathon on the weekend, but in many ways, I really wanted to put this fascinating process into context for myself, my event and the industry at large.

In 3 days, 62+ of my aforementioned “Hackers” will be setting loose on the perennial challenges of Industrial connectivity and intelligence.

So now to the point, we have a Hackathon starting this Sunday at 12:00pm at the BCC in Berlin, Germany as part of my upcoming Industry of Things World conference (23-25th of September). While we already have 62 “Hackers” registered, there is space for a few more contestants. In addition, we have an incredible support network of professionals from the world of software, Start-ups, Industry and not-for-profit organisations like the Redi-School Berlin and the OPC Foundation. However, if you know what a Hackathon looks like or want to help – please just send me a message or sign-up through our web portal below. Participation is completely free and includes complimentary attendance to the entire conference.
The precise details of the prizes, challenges and toys we’re going to allow you to cut loose on can be found on the following website:
I hope to see you there!