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Geolocation tools, IoT make data governance paramount

The Internet of Things -- a network of data-collecting machines and devices -- and geolocation technologies really took shape last year. Soon these nascent technologies may enable more comprehensive and useful data collection in industries like retail, engineering and manufacturing. But without proper data governance, they won't do much good.

In this episode of BizApps Today, host Joe Hebert sits down with TechTarget executive editors David Essex and Lauren Horwitz to discuss how these technologies will fare in 2015 -- and how organizations can start using them in business initiatives. Not so long ago, Essex says, "the Internet of Things was more of a marketing term than anything."

This year, however, new developments like the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) are forcing the technology out of the marketing hype cycle. The group is developing a framework that companies can use to connect the Internet of Things -- as well as a set of standards to follow. That traction, Essex says, has prompted research outfits like Gartner and IDC to advise companies "to make sure they're ready for the Internet of Things" by looking at their current data governance and security processes.

Next, SearchCRM's Horwitz discusses geolocation technologies such as Apple's iBeacon. It involves placing devices in retail locations to track customers as they meander and learn what they are doing with products -- for example, are they picking up certain items only when they're on sale? It also lets organizations to send offers or alerts to customers while they're in the store. They're in use outside of retail, too, Horwitz says. "Museums are starting to use it to create virtual tours of their artwork shows, and sports stadiums are experimenting with it to sell some products to fans."

It might sound like a dream come true for marketing teams, but it's not for every customer, Horwitz says. "The biggest concern is really the security of data and also the potential for company abuse of that data." Companies have to make sure they are seen as careful stewards of data -- not overwhelming customers with notices and making it difficult to opt out when they've had enough.

That's where data governance comes in. Craig Stedman, SearchDataManagement's executive editor, discusses why organizations need to lock down how they manage the use and availability of data.

"The whole goal of data governance is to produce consistent data and then ensure that it's consistently used throughout an organization," Stedman says. Unfortunately, that's not yet the norm. "It's a very complicated process. There's no easy technology magic bullet to solve it." But as business intelligence and analytics become more important, and as data volumes expand, more organizations are realizing they can no longer afford to ignore it -- or they should be, he says.

How do you see the IoT taking off in 2015? Do you think more organizations are going to take advantage of geolocation technologies to better understand their consumers? Are organizations even prepared for such initiatives?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Text by Joe Hebert, associate managing editor for e-publications. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @jhbrt_TT.

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