Fulfilling the Promise of the Internet of Things

Internet of Things
Fulfilling the Promises of Internet of Things

Like much of my writing these days, I started drafting this article while I was on a flight for my business trip. The roaring of the massive turbo engines just about 10 feet away reminded me about the nuggets Jason Mulvin, Chief Data Architect at GE Aviation, shared at Gartner EIM Summit in Dallas earlier this year.

These engines generate massive amount of data from each flight, in the range of 2TB per two-hour trip. This is huge data. And at the same time, very important for the aviation industry so they can make sense of this sensor data to identify how tens of thousands of these engines are performing and determine their next best step.

Data is the lifeblood of every organization today. The emergence of new types of transactions, interactions, and Internet of Things (IoT) data means organizations are dealing with data flowing at breakneck speed. However, the struggle for organizations is not in collecting this data, but how they can make that data actionable.

Finding ways to make data actionable was the focus of almost all conversations at the recently concluded Informatica World 2016 event in San Francisco. During my roundtable discussions there, I was able to talk to many business and technology leaders from a variety of different industries. From every conversation, it became clear that leaders have shifted their attention to the value Big Data can provide.

Leaders today want to know only one thing: How to find the hidden insights in the massive data streams that can help them improve their business.

While many big data discussions were common among customers, one of the key topics was IoT. Depending on which industry we are focusing on, streaming data coming from devices is on top of the discussion board. Harnessing this data, making sense out of it, and gaining real-time insights prove to be a huge challenge.

So, how does MDM help?

Master Data Management provides a way for companies to strategically manage their most valuable data with primary focus on the quality of the data. It allows enterprises to centralize business-critical data about customers, products, suppliers, locations, assets, and other domains, so they can manage it better. Once MDM is set up to manage this data, and the relationships (i.e., customers to the product, assets to the location), companies can tie this information to IoT and other type of Big Data sources.

Master data provides much-needed context so that the insights derived from Big Data are meaningful and actionable. Talking specifically about the intersection of MDM and IoT, many use cases show how these technologies can work together to help companies run their businesses smoothly.

Automotive companies like Renault see a huge benefit from MDM and IoT. They are using MDM as a way to centralize their customer and vehicle information. This allows them to manage this business-critical data strategically to not only deliver the best customer experience for their customers, but to track and understand the complete vehicle lifecycle.

In the future, Renault hopes to detect any anomalies in the cars their customers are driving, identify any parts that need replacement in real time, and send notifications to their car owners, so they can fix the vehicle before it breaks down. It’s a win-win situation for both Renault and its customers.

In my recent ComputerWorld article, I shared a story about GE Aviation. GE connects Owner, Operator, and Monitor information in MDM to real-time streaming data generated from the engines that are powering flights around the world. Since the engine’s performance data is identified by the aircraft tail number and engine position, MDM can relate the tail and position of the plane to the Engine Serial Number (ESN). This allows GE to link all the constituents together and get a complete picture.

An early repair of the engine may make it expensive for GE to operate, while a delay may cause flights to break down potentially causing life-threatening situations. Given there is a flight taking off every two minutes somewhere in the world, it is critical for GE Aviation to understand the location, the operators, and the performance of the engine, so they can make the best decision based on the insights their data provides.

Similarly, there are a number of industries that can benefit from IoT and MDM.

  • Wellheads are the most valuable assets of oil & gas companies that are at the brink of IoT revolution. Every wellhead today is geared with sensors that analyze different aspects of its performance and connecting this streaming data to core information about wellhead and its position managed in MDM is critical to derive insights.
  • For utility companies, smart meters come to the rescue by measuring customers’ consumption more accurately and at more frequent intervals. By connecting customers, the meters they have installed, and the data generated from those meters can provide better visibility to customers’ monthly consumption patterns.
  • Logistics and delivery firms track traffic and weather patterns to develop more efficient delivery routes that get packages to customers’ doors more quickly.

When it comes to machine and sensor data, we are barely scratching the surface. They present an opportunity for your organization too. The challenge isn’t how you can address IoT data in your organization, but why. It is important to explain why combining MDM and IoT is critical.

Whether it’s for health care—where companies can combine data from wearable devices with patient records—or for insurance—where the customer’s best plan is suggested based on how that person maintains his or her physical well-being—unifying IoT and master data helps companies derive meaningful insights that drive success and better business outcomes.

The value and impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on business are huge…and extend far beyond this article! But one thing remains constant with all the case studies I’ve observed: Master Data Management provides context, an absolute necessity that ensures companies get actionable insights and maximum value from IoT data.

Connect with me on Twitter at @MDMGeek and share your comments. I would love to hear your perspectives and continue this discussion!