There’s been a lot of noise lately about “the next big Thing” in the information technology world. Namely, the Internet of Things (IoT). In the fast paced world of IT, it seems like we are on to the next big Thing before the last big Thing has even hit its stride. While normally I would complain it’s all just technology hype, in this particular case I believe we are seeing the confluence of a couple new technologies that are each acting as an accelerator for the other.
Loosely defined, the IoT is the collection and analysis of data from literally any device that contains a microprocessor. Think: machines on a manufacturing line, the electrical and entertainment system in your car, or the heating and cooling system in your house. It could even include more personal items like the bathroom scale, your refrigerator or the treadmill in your basement. As the number of items that are communicating increases, so does the amount of data that we need to store and process.
Recently, I learned that a single airplane can generate 40TB of data in one hour of operation. Let that sink in for a moment. This astounding statistic represents a crucial piece of technology that powers the IoT: Big Data. While Big Data – not to mention the associated analytics required to make sense of all the data – has been in the technology hype phase for a number of years, it is still in its infancy as far as wide-scale adoption. Given the volume of data we have the potential to generate, it is critical to have new and better ways to store, organize, analyze, share and report on that information. Because without these tools, much of the data from the IoT will be as useful as air conditioning in the arctic.
To collect, store, analyze and share all of this Big Data, huge amounts of network bandwidth, storage, compute processing and, of course, security are required. Enter the second crucial piece of technology necessary for the IoT: the cloud. Actually, there’s not one cloud required (sorry, AWS) but rather, a network of public and private clouds working together and sharing information is crucial here.
Both Big Data and cloud technologies are growing fast on their own, but when combined, they create even more opportunities to leverage information technology to improve intelligence and productivity. It’s a bit of a perfect storm, really. And on a more personal level, these technologies can even make our personal lives more rewarding (or potentially nightmarish!). Imagine your home, for instance, plugged into the IoT concept. When you climb on your bathroom scale in the morning it could report not only your weight, but it could also instruct you to lose a few pounds. If you climb on your treadmill, it could take a cue from the bathroom scale and automatically increase your workout, chiding you along the way to pick up your pace. Next, your shower could notify you that you’re limited to just ten minutes of bathing time so you’re not late for work (taking into account your estimated commute time reported from your phone’s traffic apps). And finally, your refrigerator could collaborate with your scale, and as such, refuse to open the door to prevent you from indulging in last night’s leftover pizza. Instead, it might suggest a fruit salad.
Amusing connected technology nightmares aside, though, Big Data, storage and security are important issues for the IoT, and cloud technology will be the key component to tie it all together.
What about you, what are your IoT dreams/nightmares?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: The Success of the Internet of Things: Cloudy With a Chance of Big Data
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