Why You Should be Thinking About IoT
It’s amazing how little focus and press IoT (Internet of Things) has received in recent months. While in the top 3rd of the Gartner Hype Cycle for emerging technologies, it appears to be falling behind Software Defined Everything, AI/Machine Learning, Connected Homes, and Smart Robots. This is a poor place for what is going to be a very important to businesses large and small in the very near future.
To give IoT the credit it’s due, this will be the first in a multi-part series of posts.
First, let’s define the Internet of things before we go much further. Here are some of the definitions from reputable sources:
Gartner: The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
Tech Target: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Google: a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.
A more simple approach is to define a “Thing” as anything that has a unique identifier on a network (UID) and can transmit data over a network; and define IoT as our reference to all of those “Things”.
Again, what makes this important? It’s all about data, and what you can do with that data. There are countless use cases for IoT that are relevant to your business/industry. Here are a few examples:
Education (K-12) Safety: Utilize sensor based data in buses to upload real time data on the health of the engine/tires, # of students on board, when/where a student gets on/off of a bus.
- As a working parent, I can tell you a text message saying my son or daughter got off the bus at the right place is very important information!
- As a fleet manager, being able to preemptively service a slowly deflating tire at the yard vs. in the field saves time and money.
Commercial Physical Plant: Using sensor based data to turn of AC/heat/lights to unused spaces can save immense amounts of energy and cost
Commercial Marketing: Tracking how many people stop at a sign/exhibit/store front can allow you to better target audiences and establish return on investment
Safety: How many people are in a building and what rooms could mean the difference between saved lives and disastrous headlines.
Inventory/Equipment Controls: What devices are in my offices, and where are they? Are they actually being used?
So why are you not thinking about IoT, and how can it help your business from a financial, productivity, and safety perspective? More likely than not, it’s because it is such a broad topic and, like cloud, you need to define it in terms of your business and a cost/benefit perspective.
However, when you start talking about data and the internet, a whole slew of challenges can arise:
- How do I handle the additional network traffic?
- How do I get internet to the places I need it?
- Is it secure?
- How do I make meaningful use of all the data?
- How do I warehouse and access the data?
- Can decisions be made based upon the data in a timely/automated fashion?
All of these questions are relevant and important to understand before you move into IoT, and will be addressed in future posts. As a tickler, here a few links to devices and use cases that might get you interested.
- Connected Ceilings/Lights
- Building Home Automation
- Connected Fleets
Noel Barber is a veteran of the IT industry and serves as the VP of Professional Services ABS. In addition to staying on top of industry trends and changes, Noel works to ensure ABS continuously brings the best Data Center, Enterprise Networking and Collaboration solutions to our clients.