In a recent post I outlined the relationship between IoT and processes for desirable outcomes. To optimize that relationship, the IoT will have to become smarter and more independent plus processes will have to relinquish some centralized control. The dominate approach is leveraging the IoT as a process assist, but there are other ways to have this pairing operates.
IoT as the Assistant:
The IoT can assist processes by providing functional support of tasks that a process delegates to the IoT, usually in a form of an task focused agent/thing. In this approach the process or case milestones are in control and the IoT assists the process to accomplish it's targeted outcomes. The process is aware of the agent/thing and orchestrates and controls it and it's effects and outputs. These agents or things have simple functionality and little intelligence to apply to the task unless the agent is a reasoning person in a IoT inventory.
IoT as the Intelligent Assistant:
As in the IoT as the Assistant, the control of the process or case is outside the agent, but now the agent can handle more than simple tasks. The IoT, through agents/things, can add significant knowledge or the power of analysis or even deductions for decisions to guide the controlling process in new paths and outcomes. It's not unimaginable to have thousands of smart boards, knowledge focused Watson like agents and specialized stringers available as process assists for complex tasks. These tasks could include watching context for the process, such as markets, rules, literature, news, possible scenarios and emerging behavior.
IoT as the Collaborative Manager:
As these agents/things become more intelligent, goal driven, and networked for common results, they may dynamically collaborate and invoke processes, portions of processes(snippets), cases or milestones to manage the outcomes independent of central control. While governance constraints will have to be established, networks of things will be able to deal with emerging conditions and actions, decide a course of action and take appropriate steps to create desirable results within these constraints. These constraints could be associated with expected and unexpected scenarios and inventoried for guidance and governance.
The IoT and processes are a strong combination and as the IoT gets more intelligent and autonomous the shift of control will happen to more distributed away from the central controlling process. My expectations would be that over time a hybrid approach will emerge.