When the Internet of Things (IoT) was first imagined, the possibilities seemed endless.
Theorists pondered on all kinds of applications: refrigerators that ordered food as we ran out, cars that automatically began warming up fifteen minutes before we got in them, coffee makers that had a fresh pot ready as soon as we stepped into the office. The possibilities seemed endless, and they still may be.
In today’s world, IoT has already begun to make an impact. Smart home devices like the Nest are only one example of connected devices making our lives easier. However, a less hypothesized but extremely relevant aspect of IoT has emerged – the massive amounts of data gathered thanks to these devices.
Data scientists have been around for decades in some form or another. While analytics is a new term to many, those in the know will tell you they’ve been analyzing data since before IoT was a glimmer in the eye of the man that coined the phrase. With the integration of IoT devices into business practices, these data scientists are going to have a ton of information to play around with. As David Bowie of SAS put it in his article on Computer World, the Internet of Things is turning into the Analytics of Everything. Bowie continues:
The benefits are significant. For example, marketers of fast moving consumer goods can analyse the streaming data exchanged between sensor-laden elements in the retail environment, and across social media, to make pricing decisions for immediate impact. In another sector, fleet managers can get early warning of likely mechanical failure from on-board analytics to make timely rescheduling and maintenance decisions.
And distributors and manufacturers can check that automation is behaving to spec, and fine tune supply chains to quickly address unexpected supplier delays or suddenly increased demand. For utilities, airlines, ‘smart cities’, security services, resource companies and more, analysing streaming data and combining it with other relevant information from both inside the organisation and beyond – and especially at the network edge – will offer extraordinary value.
According to Gartner, there will be 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020, and that number isn’t going to stop growing there. To keep up with the incredible amount of data that will be collected by those billions of devices, there are three things that we need.
- 1. We need the ability to collect, manage and inspect the vast amounts of data coming from all sources, including sensors, devices, systems, social media, etc. The ability to analyze this data in real time can allow businesses to seize an opportunity as quickly as possible.
- 2. We need the ability to process this data and deliver it to the right people. The information coming from the data collected will mean different things to different people. In real-time, we need to be able to mark the data that is relevant to someone in IT, in a lab, on the manufacturing floor, what have you, and deliver the information to these individuals in a way that makes sense to them.
- 3. We need the ability to scale. Analyzing, visualizing and managing all of this data on separate systems defeats the purpose of being able to use data in real time. A single platform must be available to handle all of the data in order to squeeze the most value out of the information. And as more data is collected, that platform must be able to scale to meet the volume.
Internet of Things is going to give businesses more insight into their practices than has ever been possible. If we prepare for what is to come than we can avoid drowning underneath a sea of data.