It’s time to think about how you’ll manage data from the Internet of Things.
I’m not being trendy. I know it seems too new to be possible, but actually the Internet of Things is a simple concept. Sensors + Wi-Fi = Device. It will quickly take root like kudzu, overwhelming your systems, particularly your data systems.
Consider this: Cisco states that what it calls the “Internet of Everything”—people, process, data and things using network connections—will reach an additional $544 billion in profits this year alone, according to CNET. By 2020, the GSM Association’s Connected Life predicts growth to 24 billion connected devices, Wired reports.
The reality is that the Internet of Things actually already exists. Each day, people use wireless sensor devices in cars, on manufacturing floors and even in swimming pool pumps. Several companies offer Internet of Things devices and technology solutions, including Cisco, IBM (it even offers a data solution), Zebra Technologies and start-ups Twine and SmartThings.
As Dr. Seuss might say, “From there to here, from here to there, Internet things are everywhere.” And all of them are sending or using data, and lots of it. “Big data like you've never seen before,” notes InfoWorld writer Bob Violino.
Given the wide use, it will be tempting to leave each department to manage their own Internet-enabled devices within a company, but that’s a mistake for several reasons. Think of these devices more like miniature appliances than your run-of-the-mill automation technology. These items will need security and they’ll produce data that must be managed. Also, you will deal with versioning, stress tests, performance and scalability issues.
In some ways, you’ll need to think through the usual IT problems: security, data integration, quality and governance, and so on. But the Internet of Things will put its own spin on each device.
Gartner contends that IT leaders are a “natural entry point” for the Internet of Things, IT Pro reports. CIOs and other IT leaders need to tackle managing these devices now, before adoption overtakes them.
"By understanding the various classes of devices that will likely populate the Internet of Things, the CIO will be well-placed to spot additional opportunities or see similarities that business colleagues may overlook," vice president and Gartner Fellow, Stephen Prentice, told IT Pro.
In my next post, I’ll share the unique issues IT must consider as CIOs prepare for the Internet of Things.