Internet of Things: data makes the world go around

Our headline may sound a little cheesy, but it is no exaggeration: whether we make a phone call, ‘like’ a friend’s social media post, or drive somewhere, zillions of data points are generated every day.

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) will add yet more layers to data volumes and complexity. IoT enables the growing number of connected devices around us to communicate with each other and generate an ongoing stream of data that can then be analysed and acted on.

Yet, in spite of all the excitement about IoT and Big Data, the latter is still easier said than done.

Many organisations are stockpiling data, but raw data sitting idly on a corporate server cannot deliver in-depth insights as and of its own. The right data infrastructure is needed for the IoT—and any other data—to become truly usable: data has to be available in the cloud so it can be queried in real time; it has to be indexed, contextualised and visualized; both structured and unstructured data need to be fielded in order to create a rounded picture of whichever area it relates to.

Beyond the Internet of Content: indexing the Invisible Web
The abundance of online content on any topic often makes us forget that the searchable content—or what we call the visible web—is less than 4% of the total content generated. The rest is the invisible web or Deep Web, which is not indexed by search engines and therefore remains hidden from the outside world. Visible data is just the tip of the iceberg, the bottom of which is stronger, more insightful, deeper and invisible.

The power of this invisible content on the Internet needs to be harnessed to process terabytes of information in order to collect more data, generate more insights and make better decisions.

Although search engines can crawl the Deep Web to a certain extent, for example using Google’s Sitemap Protocol, more efficient solutions are needed to mine, contextualize and organize this Deep Web. This is particularly critical with IoT coming into play since data volumes that lie hidden beneath the searchable web will increase exponentially. Companies choosing to ignore the Deep Web will do so at their peril.

Internet of Places: evolution of the Internet of Things
We are not far from the day when formerly ‘dumb’ objects connect wirelessly to smart phones, computers or tablets and exchange information with them. Imagine your central heating having an IP address so you can switch it on remotely, or your fridge ordering up the weekly shopping all by itself. There are obvious benefits here in terms of simplicity and comfort, but, more importantly, machine-to-machine communications—or IoT—is providing more contextual information about customers in real time, irrespective of their location.

Context is and will be everything. Data without context is meaningless, and after the connectivity of devices, the connectivity of places will be the next evolutionary step.

The Internet of Places will likely be made up of context aware applications combined with higher-level machine learning to develop a sense of place-oriented interaction.

In more practical terms, this may mean that when you walk into a shop, your mobile device will immediately identify the items you’re more likely to be interested in. The recommendations wil be based on factors such as your previous purchasing patterns, current fashion trends and local availability, for example. This could mean a shortcut to the buying decision, which would benefit both customers by cutting down on browsing time, and retailers who may generate additional sales as a result.

There is an argument that people’s privacy concerns may be outweighed by these and other benefits customers can derive from making their personal data available more publicly.

Internet of People: connect all
In 2015 the number of internet users worldwide is set to surpass 3 billion, reaching 42.4% of the entire world’s population. This means that well over half the world’s population is still devoid of Internet connectivity, and that businesses don’t know much, if anything, about this ‘other half’. Democratization of data is therefore as necessary as the inter-connectedness of small devices.

We have millions of tweets about our brands, thousands of Facebook ‘likes’, hundreds of thousands of check-ins on Foursquare. Looking at the rapid growth in social networking data, there is a huge opportunity to undertake analytical ‘deep dives’ to unearth disruptive businesses opportunities and ideas. The concept of an ‘Internet of People’ proposes new business models and new forms of interaction between enterprises, governments and citizens, and there is potential to transform entire economic sectors through real-time data driven decisions.

In summary, for IoT to deliver on its promises, it will be critical to look beyond mere data analytics, at creating a contextual framework for analysing, correlating, interpreting and acting on data.


Author: admin


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