The Internet of Things & Big Data – Is Technology Thinking For You?

By Ami Gal

1.9.2014 twitter linkedin facebook

The Internet of Things in Action

“Good morning. It’s 6 AM and time to wake up.” These are the words that greet me first thing in the morning, spoken by my alarm clock. Instantly, my bedroom lights turn on and my electronic shades open, exposing the early morning sunlight. With one touch of my smartwatch, I could easily turn the lights off, shut the blinds and fall back asleep.

I jump out of bed and open my refrigerator which informs me, “You are almost out of milk – ordering a new carton today.” I select the “refrigerator app” on my smartphone and confirm the order. I slip on my running shoes with a built-in sensor. This sensor collects data from my morning run and sends it to a central server which I can later access to analyze my performance. In fact, almost all of the physical objects that I own are embedded with technology which are connected to the internet and are capable of communicating with one another.

What the Future Holds

Although the above scenario is make believe, situations similar to this will eventually become a reality with the rise of the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a term which was first mentioned in 1999 by a technologist named, Kevin Ashton. Ashton suggested that computers will eventually be capable of generating and collecting data by themselves without human interference, thus leading to “The Internet of Things.” Simply put, the Internet of Things relates to the idea of physical objects communicating and interacting with one another online, an incredible technological advancement which is unfolding before our very eyes.
And The Internet of Things is just now getting started, causing many people to wonder about what the future will hold. According to a Gartner representative, “In 2009 there were 0.9 billion sensors and 1.6 billion personal devices, [That’s] roughly 2.5 billion things that were connected. By 2020, that will grow to become 30 billion things.” This prediction conveys the possibility that technology will be capable of “thinking for us”, yet is this really the case? And if so, what are the challenges that lie ahead?

2 Brains Are Better Than 1

While the Internet of Things is creating groundbreaking technological advancements, the problem of managing Big Data has become an even bigger issue. Volumes of data are being generated at blazingly fast speeds which need to be routed, captured and analyzed in real-time in order for smart devices to communicate with one another via the internet.

The Internet of Things has led to an era in which Big Data analysis has become a crucial element for businesses. Data driven enterprises must remain focused on analyzing the correct data sets and absorbing data in real-time.Susan Hauser, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Enterprise, sums this up perfectly stating, “This strategy—understanding what data needs to be absorbed vs. ignored—is where the ‘Internet of things’ becomes real. It will be a big deal in 2014.”

Finding a Solution

So, what Big Data solutions are needed to enable the advancement of the Internet of Things? Big Data analytic platforms capable of running super-fast queries are being used now more than ever before by enterprises. Data scientists are also more in demand, an occupation which is predicted to create 39,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2015. Wireless sensor networks are also being applied which are capable of monitoring data and sending it back to data centers for further analysis.

The Brains Behind the Data

Don’t be fooled by the Internet of Things – data scientists, data centers and superior Big Data platforms are currently still needed to piece this technological puzzle together. Yet, the idea of “technology being able to think for us” still remains. If Big Data and the Internet of Things continue to advance in the future, than it might be safe to say that this will be the outcome.

The Internet of Things
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