Attention, fellow humans: Things are gaining on us. In case you haven’t heard, it seems that M2M (machine-to-machine) communication is quickly dwarfing our own human chatter online. But we’re hardly left out of the conversation. While the “things” are talking, the people are reaping great benefits.
2008 marked the tipping point of Web 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) — more machines and devices are talking to each other online than there are people on Earth (infographic here). And IDC estimates that 15 billion non-human-operated devices will be communicating over the network by 2015. Read on to learn how IoT’s massive data influx is going to make life extremely interesting for consumers as well as enterprise IT.
The term “Internet of Things” refers to machines and devices, aka things (as opposed to, you know, people) reporting data to each other and to data centers via sensors, scanners, RFID chips, bar codes, monitors and GPS. The consumer-gadget aspect of IoT got a lot of CES buzz this year, which is understandable — who doesn’t want to talk to their Crockpot or thermostat? IoT is already changing lives through food tracing, patient monitoring, and medical device and medicine tracking. As Anders Gustafsson at Zebra Technologies notes in his overview of IoT benefits, humanity has a lot to gain from technology that uses data to make objects smarter and more responsive to our needs.
Beyond the “Meet the Jetsons” aspects that I’m sure we’ll all enjoy, what are the IT experts predicting as we ramp up to data loads that will make today’s Big Data throughputs seem quaint by comparison?
#1: IoT and the cloud
Thoran Rodriques at Tech Republic has a lot to say (The Cloud Is Fundamental to the Internet of Things) about the role of the cloud in handling the oceans of data we’re talking about — not just the real-time processing involved, but extracting meaningful data. Despite the pitfalls, he’s confident that IoT will usher in a new era of cloud innovation and efficiency.
#2: Security and privacy
Andrew Rose at Wired (The Internet of Things Has Arrived — And So Have Massive Security Issues) isn’t too worried about conversations between smartphones and refrigerators, but his list of potential security loopholes that will escalate in severity as IoT evolves is definitely worth a read.
What about all the disparate systems and competing technologies involved — how are they going to work together? Networking expert Charles McLellan at ZDNet traces the anatomy of M2M (M2M and the Internet of Things: A Guide) and provides an overview of terms, concepts and components. It’s a great rundown of where all the components came from and how open standards will save the day.
#4: Enterprise-wide adoption strategies
IoT’s impact is not limited to storage and processing. This 2012 Forrester report, Building Value from Visibility: 2012 Enterprise Internet of Things Adoption Outlook, offers a detailed look at how IoT will affect services, software, hardware, networking and analytics solutions. You’ll also find survey responses from over 600 enterprises that are considering or adopting IoT technology.
#5: Barriers to entry
This Intel white paper, The Rise of the Imbedded Internet, lists some primary drivers behind IoT and proposes solutions to these six barriers to entry: limited Internet address space, proprietary network technologies, increasing infrastructure burden, energy cost, security and privacy requirements, cost of device management and disparate networked devices.
Yes, there are plenty of things to think about as the Internet of Things evolves, but consider the benefits to mankind — not to mention the opportunity to pioneer the next iteration of the web! Dell has you covered, now and in the future, with an array of open-standards, end-to-end solutions for HPC, cloud, virtualization and networking, among others. We’d love to talk to you about it.