IoE Research Prospectus

Taking the Lead on the Internet of Everything

2013-2014 Program Year

With the unrelenting pace that often accompanies technological shifts the Internet of Everything (IoE) is coming of age with a vengeance.  We have reached that special place where the numbers of connected and potentially connected devices is so large, the ease and cost of connection is so low, and the surrounding technologies of data, analytics, and sense-making are sufficiently advanced that companies wishing to lead their industries are moving fast.

To address the issues that leading companies face integrating and acting on the Internet of Everything Return on Intelligence’s Center for Strategy & Research is creating a multi-year, multi-client funded research program that has two themes: 1) defining the linkage between business purpose and business strategy and the opportunities presented by IoE, and, 2) defining the best practices by which companies can take advantage of those opportunities.

The Internet of Everything Challenge

The numbers are huge.  CISCO believes there are 10 billion devices connected to the internet today and they think the number will be 50 billion connected by 2020.  Bosch predicts a smaller, yet still quite large 7 billion devices by 2015.  Regardless, what is happening is that vehicles, machinery, monitors, gauges, cameras, and sensors of every type are connecting and they are increasingly able to interact with each other to take action.

The first wave of connectivity was device-to-server to collect information and to take instructions.  These applications took costs out of business and, in some cases like our ubiquitous ATMs, changed the nature of service and convenience for consumers.  What is happening now combines a general computing environment that is “connected” and increasingly cloud-based, with a very much larger number of devices that can interact with each other and new and sophisticated set of analytics capabilities known as “Big Data.”

The surface opportunities are quickly being upstaged by deeper solutions.  In auto insurance the easy play is to associate premiums to miles driven as measured by connected devices.  Beyond Pay-as-You-Drive there is Pay-HOW-You-Drive, premiums associated with analysis of broad telematics measures of acceleration, short-stopping, hard turning and the like.  Beyond that, the entire approach to actuarial analysis and underwriting has begun shifting as the telematics data are made available across fleets or by vehicle or driver.  In all industries management asks what are the deeper opportunities, how important is it to act on them now, and which ones are more telling in the near and in the longer term?

Program Mission

Taking the Lead on the Internet of Everything is a program of applied research designed to cost-effectively meet sponsoring companies’ shared needs for research into the opportunities offered by the Internet of Everything and the best course of action in 2013/14.  The program is intended to foster peer-to-peer discussion of IoE issues, to produce recommended strategies and solutions, and to equip participants to bring positive change to their businesses.  Because the program also advances the research goals of the Center for Strategy and Research it is not designed to generate a profit for Return on Intelligence.

Research Plan 2013-14

The research year will examine:

  • The nature of the most impactful IoE applications

This research stream will describe the nature of first and second wave IoE applications, how they are and will be conceived, justified, delivered and managed, how they manifest themselves within organizations and within the sponsors’ broader business “ecosystems.”

  • Risks and mitigating tactics in leveraging IoE

IoE efforts will entail the use of new technologies in new ways. Those building them will have built similar, but not the same, systems in the past.  The participants in conceiving and realizing IoE investments will come from an ever broader array of participants inside and outside the enterprise.  This research stream will examine what risks lie ahead and how to manage them.

  • The net economic benefits and costs of IoE efforts

This research stream will develop frameworks and models around the total lifetime costs and values of IoE investments and pursue strategies and tactics to ensure success on IoE efforts.

  • Guidelines for organizing and implementing IoE investments

Taken together, the research streams will inform the framework for setting an IoE strategy.  The framework will outline the elements of the strategy, how they should be defined and described, and how to sequence them for business success.

Additionally, staff from the Center for Strategy and Research will be collecting and sharing published data on the size and scope of the Internet of Everything.  Through these sources and through the work of sponsors the data will be examined on industry and functional/process bases as input to analysis of IoE leverage opportunities.

Program Structure and Deliverables

Client Site Visits

Among the first in-person interaction for sponsors is a client site visit by staff from the Center for Strategy and Research  to gain a better understanding of sponsor issues and challenges, to coordinate the collection of research data, and explore how research findings can be applied in the sponsor’s environment.  Additional on-site time may be warranted if a sponsor volunteers to conduct a pilot project or be the subject of a case study.

Topical Workshops

Throughout the year there will be working sessions involving significant exchange of information on individual research topics.  There will be four to six in-person sessions augmented by webinars limited to sponsoring company participation.

Sponsors who participate in workshops will offer information on their own situations relative to the topic under discussion, either in the course of the give-and-take or through formal presentations to the group.  Workshops are one-day sessions with locations and times chosen for the convenience of participants.

Semi-Annual Conferences

At the mid-point and at the end of the research year meetings will be held  to provide opportunities for significant, in person interaction and collaboration.  These conferences will include presentations by participants on work-in-progress and discussions of research analyses and case studies.


Taking the Lead on the Internet of Everything informs participants of research findings and directions on a continuous basis through:

  • Field Profiles – posts that describe actual experiences of companies, not limited to sponsors’ experiences, to help illustrate approaches that have been effective and that may be usable by sponsors
  • Research Notes – analysis and summarization of findings on the research topics.  These notes frame the problem, lay out key issues and possible approaches to be considered
  • Working Papers – summarizations of findings and recommendations of the work of the participants issued at the end of the research year.
  • Meeting Summaries – capturing the content of presentations and discussions at conferences and workshops

A shared, secure blog site will be used to store these materials for participants’ use.

The Research Team

Allan Frank

Allan Frank has a unique combination of demonstrated success in both technology and business leadership. His background includes first Chief Technology Officer for the City of Philadelphia, co-founder of a publicly-traded Consulting and Research company, Senior Partner in a Global Professional Services Firm, and extensive experience in setting strategy, implementing and operating core business processes, product development, marketing, internal IT management, software development and all facets of building a world-class technology/services organization. As a management consultant spanning over 34 years, served many clients across the Global 2000 in the financial services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, government, software, services and information technology industry.

Allan has been recognized for his contributions to the IT Industry by several technology publications including Philadelphia Tech where he was selected as one of the top 10 Technology Leaders in the region and InformationWeek where he was selected as one of the top 10 Technology Innovators in the United States. Allan received the 2001 Computerworld Premier 100 Award, which identified him as one of the top 100 people in the U.S. having an exceptional ability to lead their organizations through the effective use of technology.

Allan holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Master of Science in Computer Science, and Master of Business Administration in Finance from Lehigh University and he is also a non-practicing Certified Public Accountant.

David Carpini

With over 30 years of experience in consulting, technology and sales David has a proven track record in leadership roles in both the US and in Europe. He has successfully led organizations that have delivered revenue growth, high customer satisfaction and overall profitability.

Before Return on Intelligence, David worked for Xchanging, a global leader in the high end BPO, ITO and Procurement services market. He was responsible for the North American market and pioneered the introduction of a new set of services focused on the Internet of Everything.

Prior to Xchanging, David worked at Symphony Services where he was Senior Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development. While at Symphony he led the growth of Symphony from a small start-up to a $175M mid-stage OPD service provider. He was responsible for launching Symphony’s European operations, headquartered in London, and held several Director positions within Symphony. David has also been on the board of the Software & Information Industry Association.

David started his career at IBM, where he spent 18 years in several development, sales and marketing roles. David is a graduate of Fairfield University where he majored in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science.

Thornton May

Thornton May is a futurist, educator and author with extensive experience researching and consulting on the role of technology in shaping our future. As a speaker and consultant Thornton is at once an innovator and an expert in time-compressed problem solving. Thornton is Executive Director and Dean at the IT Leadership Academy in Jacksonville, FL, Futurist – External Technology Advisory Board at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and Co-Founder of the CIO Solutions Gallery at the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University.  He is published in HBR, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the M.I.T. Sloan Management Review among others.  Thornton has  a BA from Dartmouth College, an MA from Carnegie-Mellon in Industrial Administration and has pursued Japanese studies at the University of Michigan and Keio University.

Doug Brockway

Doug Brockway serves as program director of Taking the Lead.  Ad adviser to senior management for thirty years he has extensive experience in the areas of technology strategy, innovation, and the measurement and management of IT infrastructures. Doug is the operational director of Return on Intelligence Research and Thought Leadership activities.  Prior to working at Return on Intelligence he was a partner at AKA Group, KPMG and Nolan, Norton, Inc. where he was the leader in the Nolan, Norton Institute on IT Infrastructure issues. Doug has a BA from Williams College and attended the Stamford University program for Business Executives.

Becoming a Sponsor

Organizations participating in Return on Intelligence research efforts are partners in the knowledge creation effort.  Sponsorship is intended for companies that are willing to work to develop and test frameworks, ideas and solutions in their organizations.

Participation requires a project coordinator within each participating sponsor’s organization.  The coordinator serves as the primary contact and the major communications link between the Center and the sponsoring organization.  This person determines the sponsor’s research contribution and ensures that other participants within their organization gain from the research. The coordinator attends the semi-annual conferences and contributes to workshops as appropriate.

Some organizations have a separate sponsor for the program.  The sponsor will participate less in the day-to-day efforts but have a stronger influence on the goals and objectives of the research.

Each sponsoring organization will be asked to participate by:

  • Developing a business case and/or designing a pilot in an area of their business in order to inform, refine and test the models and frameworks developed
  • Share the problem, approach and results from an IoE effort in the form of a presentation to be delivered at a meeting or published on the shared, private blog site
  • Prepare a case study used in one of the meetings

The fee for participation in the program for 2013-14 is $50,000.  Participating organizations will be invoiced for one-half this amount upon joining the program and remainder six months later.

Program size is limited ten sponsors to support a high quality of peer interaction and focus of research support.

Lasting Benefits

Participants in Taking Charge of the Internet of Everything can expect an array of benefits starting with access and summarization of the leading thinking in the field and the best practices of exemplar organizations.  The network of thought leaders in peer companies and in Return on Intelligence’s extended family is important in this area.

Participants in Research Working Groups have the opportunity to build information community external to their company, its customers, suppliers and competitors.  This independent perspective offers insight, confirmation and the occasional challenge to conventional wisdom.  The result is better ideas and management approaches, and often faster ways to take action with lower costs.

If you are interested in participating in this multi-client working group please let us know via the form below:

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