The Internet of Things, IoT, the net of everything are all terms that are increasingly prevalent in the big tech conversations of today. Gartner is talking about it, IBM is investing in it, George Osbourne has pledged £140 million to develop IoT, smart cities and driverless cars and now there is a UK national day to support it! So what is it and what sort of questions should we be asking?
IoT –What is it?
The Internet of Things is where our digital world meets the physical world – where the Internet is connected to the physical world via sensors. IoT connects systems, people and things. IoT represents a major step forward in the history of the Internet, as connections move beyond computing devices and begin to power billions of everyday devices.
Market sizing estimates for IoT are unsurprisingly massive as devices, sensors and computing power will now connect consumers, business-to-business, and government industries. IoT will account for an increasingly huge number of connections: 4.9 billion devices this year and 25 billion by 2020 and will result in $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019.
What sort of questions should we be asking?
- How much data will be generated?
Just a few examples… Virgin Atlantic’s new fleet of ‘highly connected’ planes is expected to create about ½ TB of data per flight each. With 21,000 VA flights a year, that’s 10 petabytes of data – the equivalent of 5 billion floppy disks! Moreover, self-driving cars will create data at a rate of 1GB a second. This will create about 2 petabytes of data a year – more data to an already clogged network.
- Can we cope with all this data?
IoT is going to produce a lot of data, for example, machine-generated data is expected to grow by a factor of 15 between now and 2020. A different example is how just a single intelligent jet engine can generate 1TB of data during a five hour flight. Multiply that by the more than 87,000 flights that travel through US airspace and that one example makes for a mountain of data. As a result some IoT experts believe that we will never be able to keep up with the ever-changing and ever-growing data generated by IoT because it’s just not possible to monitor it all.
- Will the networks be up to the task?
The bandwidth gap – the difference between required and available bandwidth – is large and growing. And according to Network Computing, this gap will only increase and “balloon out of control.”
- What’s your IoT strategy?
With talk of smart cities, wearable technology (already here!), driverless cars, smart grocery replenishing, insulin injection trackers and more, I think it’s fair to say that it’s not who can benefit from IoT, but how quickly can you – consumers and businesses –benefit? What strategy do you have in place to overcome the exponential growth in data over already clogged networks?
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