Decoding the Internet of Things (IoT) hype

Internet of Things was a term coined by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer who co-founded the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),when he and his team created the global standard system for RFID and other sensors.

“Internet of Things” was referred to a system or arrangement where numerous ubiquitous devices/sensors connect to the internet.

This concept today is very relevant and popular owing to the advent of numerous devices . IoT today has reached the peak of the hype curve according to Gartner. Gartner predicts that the total number of connected consumer, business and industrial “things” would grow to 26 billion units by 2020, representing an almost 30-fold increase over the 900 million things in 2009. Device penetration is driving the case for Internet of Things, today there are said to be more than 50 billion devices which are connected .

Decoding the understanding of IoT further, there are 3 important zones one needs to understand when it comes to IoT discussion .

The first zone is of course of the devices, the devices/sensors can be of any shape/form/size. Their relevance can be industrial, consumer, agricultural or others. What is common among them is that they all emit data and loads of data. They also have the needed interfaces that connect them to the internet directly or through a internet gateway device.

The second zone is that of data ingestion/storage and the analytics layer. This is a software or infrastructure layer that is distributed and in the cloud . This software “platform” has the ability to ingest the humongous data flowing in from the devices, store them, analyze them and convert the data to information that can be used by the end user . IBM Internet Of Things Foundation is such a cloud platform . The existence of the cloud platform for ingesting device data makes application development much easier for enterprises without having to worry about doing the heavy lifting of working with raw data from devices.

The third zone would be the IoT application zone, where applications web or mobile are created based on the “information” from the devices , these applications are consumed by end users .

IoT has become so relevant today that companies like Cisco believe that it is not just Internet of Things but it has the ability to be Internet of Everything .

With the increase in connected devices, the data mass is growing explosively , the data gravity necessitates the data work to be shifted closer to the device , this means that the second zone described above, should move from being a cloud platform to be closer to where the data is generated which is at the network or router level . This is termed as Fog computing . With devices, data is no longer a cloud up there, but is a fog all around . Fog computing platforms aim to reduce latency and help optimize use of network bandwidth by removing the need to transfer massive data from devices to the cloud platforms for processing . Most of the sensor “data” does not need storage, what needs storage would be “information” that can be acted upon . Fog computing would turn IoT to a reality for most of the enterprises who are in adoption denial of IoT despite of obvious device proliferation.

Cisco’s platform which is called IOx is the fog computing platform for IoT and promises to take IoT to the next level .

An important dimension to the IoT discussion would be the IoT applications, apps that make use of the device “data” turned into “information”.

Today Smart Homes, Smart Cities, Industrial Automation, Intelligent farming are some of the compelling use cases that drive creation of IoT applications and devices to furnish data required to fuel these applications.

IoT is here to stay and to grow . Number of interconnected devices are growing by the day and the amount of data emitted, growing by TB . This data deluge funneled to distributed computing platforms to extract actionable or insightful information is powering the innovation around the applications built for IoT.

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