As a term, the internet of things (IoT) is bandied about with increasing regularity, but often with little insight.
People outside the techno-bubble often ask: "What really is this internet of things? It sounds like a lot of hype about smart fridges that tell you when to buy milk."
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Actually, the IoT is much more important and transformative than that. In fact, it is changing everything, just as the original internet did. Put simply, the internet of things represents an emerging reality where everyday objects and devices are connected to the internet, most likely wirelessly, and can communicate with each other at some intelligent level.
Today, businesses are growing exponentially smarter as we witness the explosion of IoT. Where this gets really interesting is when we think about a multitude of things working together, like a nest of ants somehow collaborating on a common goal. But for these things to work together, businesses need the right technology, like the chemical messages that millions of ants use to communicate.
So welcome to Thingalytics, the use of real-time analytics and algorithms to guide innovative organisations through the maze of fast big data arising from the internet of things. These organisations must make sense of the data, then find out ways to react and profit from it. The possibilities are endless.
The idea of the internet of things has turned into reality as technology has become more capable and increases in computing power become more affordable. As the cost of sensors and connectivity drops, more and more viable use-cases are being realised.
Download an extract from Thingalytics
Thingalytics shows you to how to enable the opportunities of IoT while avoiding the threats, by presenting real-life use-cases. Download this extract from John Bates' book.
We have all heard about innovations such as self-driving cars, which are now a reality, but consider the next step: in the future, all cars will communicate with each other, as well as with smart roads and smart cities, to co-ordinate and optimise journey times and avoid collisions.
Likewise, we are all familiar with the smart phone, and now we are starting to see more wearable devices, such as smart watches. We are also on the verge of experiencing the next generation of wearables, such as head-up-display glasses that communicate with a location-aware "smart cloud".
These wearables will tell you if you have friends nearby or they will send you special shopping offers and interesting restaurant ideas. They will also be able to tune this "augmented reality" perfectly to your behaviour patterns and preferences.
Until recently, these exciting innovations were widely dismissed as science fiction. Today, they are becoming, or are close to becoming, reality.
There are many predictions about the scale and growth of connected things. Analysis from Cisco, which wants to be the connector of the internet of things, estimates that by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet. Market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2020, the internet of things market will have grown by more than $5 trillion, to be worth a total of more than $7 trillion.
The computational explosion of sensory inputs and reference data generated by the IoT requires new, agile systems to handle it all. Thingalytics is about collecting the right information, analysing it in the right way and driving the right decisions to make systems smarter and even self-learning.
The consequences can be huge. IoT becomes very exciting when we see how lives can be saved, fraud avoided, customers delighted and carbon emissions reduced.
But IoT gets scary when we realise that a single mistake can see millions of dollars lost in seconds, company reputations ruined in moments, and lives put at risk.
John Bates, is author of Thingalytics, chief marketing officer and head of industry solutions at Software AG