Why the Internet of Things is All About Data and Data Integration

Data Integration
Why the Internet of Things is All About Data and Data Integration

The rise of devices as data producers is what really drives the interest in the Internet of Things (IoT). An interesting data point for me was: “McKinsey Global Institute research supports that belief, estimating that the impact of the Internet of Things on the global economy might be as high as $6.2 trillion by 2025.”

While that’s compelling enough to garner attention, there is some work to be done, the report goes on to say: “At the same time, the corporate leaders polled admit they lack a clear perspective on the concrete business opportunities in the Internet of Things given the breadth of applications being developed, the potential markets affected—consumer, healthcare, and industrial segments, among others—and the fact that the trend is still nascent.”

The fact that we can gather massive amounts of meaningful date from thousands of devices is impressive unto itself. However, those who drive businesses struggle to figure out what to do with the data. Those in the know understand that the IoT data can be used for many applications, including the ability to monitor industrial equipment on-the-fly, automatically schedule maintenance and repairs, find the best routes for delivery trucks based on where they need to go, and much more that can save millions of dollars per year.

The key issue? We need to solve the problem of data integration before we can effectively leverage the data. It’s not enough that devices spew data at huge rates; the data must be gathered and transported to some data storage system or application where it can be evaluated in the context of a business process, or for decision support. Thus, the data integration engine is what truly enables IoT, and it’s something that those charged with the implementation of IoT programs know little about.

IoT planning should start with the business needs, of course, but quickly work up to the data. We need to figure out what core data should be gathered, and can be gathered, and ways to effectively leverage that data. Data integration is front and center with most IoT strategies that I’ve developed, considering that the ability to move and process data is really the main problem to solve.

My advice is that you focus on data integration as large part of your IoT strategy, no matter if you’re defining the use of data that comes from wearable devices, or data that comes from jet engines. Data has value. IoT sensors can fire off data that is relevant up to the minute and second, which is a huge game changer for how we leverage that data.

Emerging technology such as IoT, cloud computing, and even big data typically places data integration into the afterthought category. Consider the amount of business value that can be created from the proper use of data. Reconsider your data integration strategy.