The Internet of Things started a while back and sounded like another good idea but nobody was sure if it would become reality or just fall to the wayside like a lot of good ideas. While the long term future is still to be determined, there is no longer any doubt about the fact that IoT is an exploding piece of the internet market. Revenues have grown steadily over the past few years and in 2013 topped out at a very impressive $1.9 trillion dollars. And while no market is endless this one seems to be as close as you can come, at the current moment with forecasts over the next dozen years shows IoT revenues rocketing up to $18.75 trillion dollars by 2025. This explosion in services and data collection and sharing will have a direct relationship with the need for Big Data, which will also be seeing a revenue growth of untold proportions over this time frame.
The IoT is defined by Whatis.com as, “…… a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet.”
This will mean that in the near years ahead, billions and billions of “things” will automatically collecting data, sharing data and absorbing data. Kevin Ashton, at MIT, was quoted as stating,
“Today computers — and, therefore, the Internet — are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy — all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things — using data they gathered without any help from us — we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”
As can be seen in the infographic below, today there are approximately 20 billion connected devices in the internet of things and by 2020 this will be in excess of 25 billion. Every device collecting information and sharing back the data. This will equate to nearly 7 devices for every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. Continually collecting data and communicating it to an untold number of locations. By 2025 this number will easily surpass 50 billion devices, meaning double digit devices for every person alive.
The point is that as we move further and further along this path of IoT, the amount of data being created is growing exponentially in size. To process all of the data coming from IoT, Big Data will need to step up in three specific areas; ingestion, storage and analytics. The first two areas are just the foundation costs for big data and the real importance and value is in the analytics. Businesses will need to ramp up their ability to “ingest” this data and to store it in it’s vastness. Today’s companies will need to drastically increase their capacity in respect to provisioning sufficient disk space, network capacity and computer capacity. Additionally, they will be required to develop expertise in technologies such as; Hadoop, Map Reduce and others. This is all way in excess of what most data centers are capable of processing today, so significant investment will need to be made. Business will need to decide what their long term Big Data strategy is and then quickly start putting it in place.
Most businesses will follow the path of using one of the many database as a service (DBaas) options, such as; Amazon Redshift, Hortonwork’s Enterprise Hadoop or Coudera Enterprise. These services provide a business with Big Data automation and database management without the headaches and costs associated with doing it yourself where you would need to purchase, install, manage and operate all of the underlying technologies. This would be the only way a business could independently make a large NoSQL database scalable.
The challenges facing business are significant but the benefits of properly living in the world of IoT and Big Data are even greater. Business the world around, big and small, will need to analyze the tremendous data volumes to see such things as; customer behaviors, operational impacts and efficiency, competitive positioning and performance and more and more. If tomorrows business doesn’t invest the time and intelligence to analyze the information, they will be watching from the back as their competitors race ahead. This why Big Data and IoT is a technology partnership that is critical for so much as we look to tomorrow.
Watch for our next articles as we explore the nuts, bolts and advantages of Iot and Big Data.