The current perception of the Internet of Things is greatly reliant upon its traditional applications of the Industrial Internet, in which monitoring of equipment assets via real-time and predictive analytics grossly reduces costs and time spent on maintenance and repairs.
Although the Industrial Internet will likely remain a vital component of the IoT, the potential of this vast connectivity and automated action greatly exceeds any one particular use case. With liberal estimates of as many as 50 billion connected devices by 2020, there are a number of trends pertaining to the IoT that will begin in earnest in 2016 to help it reach its full potential:
- Structure: One of the most significant trends impacting the IoT will be the continued usage of JSON-based document stores which can provide schema and a loose means of structure on otherwise unstructured data on-the-fly, making IoT data more manageable and viable to the enterprise.
- Decentralized Clouds: The trend towards fog computingâbased on pushing cloud resources and computations to the edge of the cloud, closer to end users and their devicesâwill continue to gain credence and reduce bandwidth, decrease time to action, lower costs, and improve access to data.
- Mobile: The IoT will impact the future of mobile technologies via the cyberforaging phenomena, in which mobile devices share resources with one another in a more efficient manner than most contemporary decentralized models do. Additionally, the increase of wearables in industries such as healthcare and others will help to broaden the IoTâs presence throughout the coming year.
- Revenue Streams: 2016 will see an increase in revenue streams associated with the IoT (outside of the Industrial Internet), including the creation of services and applications structured around it. The most eminent example is provided by connected cars.
- Security: Security concerns are one of the few remaining inhibitors to the IoT. IDC predicts that more than 50 percent of networks utilizing the IoT will have a security breach by 2018.
Of all the pragmatic necessities that must be addressed for the IoT to transform enterprise data management practices, contending with continuously streaming unstructured data from any variety of sources remains one of the most daunting. While the utilization of semantic technologies and their relevance to the unstructured and semi-structured data created by the IoT and other forms of big data continues to gain traction, one of the most profound developments related to structuring this data involves the JSON document format.
MapR Chief Marketing Officer Jack Norris noted that this format âtypically is a complex document that has embedded hierarchies in it to exchange record to record depending on what was happening to produce it.â JSON documents are regularly used for the exchanges of data in web applications and contain much needed schema that is invaluable to unruly IoT dataâparticularly when combined with SQL solutions that can derive such schema. âA lot of the machine generated content, whether itâs log files or sensor data, is kind of a JSON format,â Norris remarked. âItâs definitely one of the fastest growing formats.â
Another major trend affecting the IoT pertains to the architecture required to account for the constant generation of data and requisite analytics between machines. Although there are certainly cases in which traditionally centralized approaches to data management have continuing relevance, decentralized methods of managing big data utilizing cloud infrastructure are emerging as a way to provision the real-time analytics required to exploit the IoT. Edge computing (also known as fog computing) facilitates the expedience required for such analytics while helping to preserve computing networks from the undue bandwidth, cost, and latency issues that uninterrupted transmission of data from the IoT creates with centralized models.
Instead, analytics and computations are performed at the edge of the cloud while only the most necessary results are transmitted to centralized data centers, which greatly decreases costs and network issues while improving the viability of leveraging machine-to-machine communication. A recent Forbes post indicates that: âBy 2018, at least half of IT spending will be cloud-based, reaching 60 % of all IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services, and technology spending by 2020.â
The renewed emphasis on cloud resources is indicative of the growing trend towards mobile computing that will continue to influence the IoT this year. Prevalent mobile computing concerns have transcended issues of governance and the incorporation of BYOD and CYOD policies, and have come to include the natural progression of fog computing via the cyberforaging phenomenon. Cyberforaging is the ability of mobile devices to facilitate their analytics and transformation needs (either in the form of ETL or ELT) by utilizing internet-based resources nearest to them. Similar to fog computing, cyberforaging again focuses on the edge of the cloud, and can involve the use of cloudlets. Cloudlets are various devices equipped to provision the cloud to mobile devices (which detect them via their sensors) without the need for a centralized location or data center.
More advanced capabilities include the increasing usage of smart agent technologies. According to Gartner, these technologies âin the form of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and other agents, will monitor user content and behavior in conjunction with cloud-hosted neural networks to build and maintain data models from which the technology will draw inferences about people, content and contexts.â Although these technologies will gain prominence towards the end of the decade, the combination of them and cyberforaging will expand expectations for mobile computing and the remote computation power the IoT can facilitate.
There are a multitude of examples of the way that the IoT will increase revenue streams outside of the Industrial Internet in the coming months. One will be in providing support to machines instead of end users. Gartner noted that: âBy 2018, six billion connected things will be requesting supportâ¦Strategies will also need to be developed for responding to them that are distinctly different from traditional human-customer communication and problem-solving. Responding to service requests from things will spawn entire service industriesâ¦â.
Connected cars will also produce a host of revenue streams, most eminently relating to marketing and advertising. Companies can tailor promotional efforts to offer the most salient marketing attempts for everything from gas prices to dining or entertainment. Similarly, organizations can pay to include their digital products and services as part of package offerings with auto manufacturers of smart vehicles. The health care industry will continue to further the IoT by designing and implementing any variety of remote monitoring gadgets and systems for patients, while some of the aforementioned marketing opportunities apply to the influx of wearables and smart clothing that is gaining popularity.
The most substantial trend to impact the security issues for the IoT pertain to the cloud, which has become the preferred infrastructure of choice for numerous applications of big data. With the majority of security breaches occurring due to instances of remissness on the part of the enterprise (as opposed to cloud providers), 2016 will see greater adoption rates of cloud security tools to counteract these issues. Cloud control tools include solutions specifically designed for access security and management of different forms of SOA. Indeed, security-as-a-service may well turn out to be one of the most important facets of SOA which provide a degree of stability and dependency on valued big data applications in the cloud.