The Future is Here with the Internet of Things

Internet of Things
The Future is Here with the Internet of Things

There is a lot of excitement in the big data community around the potential impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) so I was looking forward to attending the IoT Summit last week in San Francisco. I’d like to share with you some of the things I observed. There were several insightful sessions I attended from Stanford, Samsung ,Comcast, Schneider Electric, City of San Francisco, Stanley Black & Decker, Electrolux, Ford, BMW, and others where many of the talks centered on connected home products, connected cars, and smart cities.

There are a whole slew of sensor types that can be included with smartphones alone such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, proximity sensors, light sensors, barometers, thermometers, humidity sensors, pedometers, heart-rate monitors, fingerprint, and radiation sensors. Chevrons latest oil drilling platform has 40000 sensors. To handle all this data from such a wide variety of sensors and things requires a new generation of middleware according to Timothy Chou a lecturer at Stanford University. Moe Tanabian, VP of Engineering, Head of Smart Things IoT Innovation Lab at Samsung Electronics advised the audience that building amazing IoT products requires a mix of design and technology, rapid iterations (build, measure, learn, design), and duality of skills in functional small teams. It was pretty cool to see some of the products developed in his lab from smart refrigerators that recommend recipes based on what’s in the fridge to a home companion robot called Otto to help out around the home.

To accelerate IoT adoption Comcast has focused on security, support, and quality as key requirements for Xfinity Home. In the connected home security is critical to protect privacy. Extensive testing across many different scenarios is equally important in ensuring customer satisfaction in all types of homes and conditions. Consumers want new home devices that include connected cameras, video doorbells, connected lights, and smart locks and they expect everything to just work together seamlessly.

Some manufacturers have gone as far as connecting homes with connected cars so that as you leave your home the heating or A/C turns off automatically. Then when you’re about 15 minutes away from arriving at your home the heating or A/C is turned on so that when you enter the house (the door automatically unlocks too since it recognizes your smartphone) the optimal temperature is awaiting you. Buildings are getting smarter to help conserve energy. If you’re not planning to be in the office then the building automation system can reduce the HVAC energy consumption on that day. Cities too are getting connected and smarter about energy consumption, optimizing transportation, and improving citizen services and safety with IoT connected sensors and devices.

All of the examples I have described are available today and are just the beginning of amazing IoT products. Every type of company and government agency should put together a strategy that incorporates IoT into their business to deliver desired outcomes. It won’t be easy and there are certainly challenges both on the technology and business side. For example, on the technology side one challenge is there are several sensor device standards which have emerged and don’t communicate easily with each other. On the business side, it can be difficult to establish the right business model for new products or value-added services that generate revenue. For example, do you sacrifice revenue in the near term to capture market share, should you charge customers once or on a subscription basis.

Informatica helps you overcome many of the technology challenges with a comprehensive big data streaming analytics solution to collect, integrate, process, and deliver virtually all types of data at any latency so that you can turn your IoT vision of the future into a reality. To learn more about what real companies are doing today to leverage the value of IoT technologies don’t miss the webinar “How real companies are using IoT” on May 3, 2016 hosted by Information Management with experts from Forrester Research and Informatica. Mike Gualtieri, Principal Analyst at Forrester, will describe early adoption, market drivers and use cases and how Big Data streaming analytics is critical to success. Rodrigo Sanchez Bredee, Senior Director Product Management for IoT at Informatica, will describe the Big Data streaming analytics journey, a proven architecture for success with real customer examples and his vision for the future.