11 February, 2015
The Success Of The Internet Of Things: Cloudy With A Chance Of Big Data
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.