There’s an art and a science science behind the Internet of Things (IoT) and in incorporating the tremendous data that this modern phenomenon generates. In its brief but remarkable history, IoT has been deployed in some fairly simplistic and classic architecture schemes. What lies beyond the immediate, will prove that in some cases, major IoT challenges have not yet taken these schemes to the point of “critical mass” or outright failure. The growth of data, the growth of complexity, and countless elements combine to demand a better strategy for growth and change than the simplistic architectures being deployed today.
The IoT Challenge
The future is stacked with challenges and changes ahead in the story of IoT. Many of these changes will present technological advancements and do them at scale. Industry reports universally tell the tale of exponential growth in data-focused metrics.
In fact, current projections indicate that by the year 2020:
- 30-50 Billion IoT connections will be in place
- $8.9 Trillion in earnings will be earned in all currently identified IoT-related sectors
- Close to $6 Trillion will be spent on IoT solutions
- The key verticals will be cities, industrials, homes, automobiles, and wearables
All the while, the number of applications that are incorporating the Internet of Things continues to grow and the technology will continue to find new industries. Among the emerging applications today that are helping to drive IoT, hints of the coming future can be seen throughout its wide reach:
- Smart Manufacturing. The Internet of Things is a natural home for manufacturing and automation. Bringing in the logic and intelligence of IoT and Big Data into the process adds efficiencies and opportunities that were unheard of just a few short years ago. Today, sensors and measurement devices of all types can be found throughout the manufacturing process, which is a trend that continues to grow. Flow optimization, real-time inventories, asset tracking, and other opportunities continue to prove the value of IoT in this application.
- Building and Home Automation. This industry is one of the most visible IoT applications, with such devices as smart thermometers, intelligent lighting, and other enhancements. Energy optimization, access control, and other automation elements enhanced by IoT are only beginning to tap into the potential benefits. Better data and better integrations equal better benefits, and IoT is now becoming a part of new home designs. This industry will continue to grow and see widespread adoption.
- Smart Cities. Municipalities provide an entire spread of services that many may not readily be aware of. Just as industry is driven to become more efficient, city-wide organizations strive to save time, resources, and man hours. Out of this drive, devices such as residential E-meters, pipe leak detection, traffic control systems, and more are becoming interconnected with the web and increasingly intelligent at the same time.
- Smart and Driverless Vehicles. Wouldn’t it be great if nobody actually had to drive anywhere? It would make for cleaner commutes, save time, save fuel, and it would possibly be safer than human locomotion. That is just one of the dreams being pursued by engineers, the development of which you see all the time in the news cycles. There are plenty of targets for this futuristic technology, cars, buses, and even agricultural combines can benefit from driverless technologies. These systems are dependent on IoT technologies which can sense, adjust, and coordinate based on an interconnected fabric of data.
- Wearables. Smartphones paved the way to big expectations from early wearable devices, which have been around for a couple of years now. Rest assured, the earliest models were trailblazing peeks into the future of what wearable devices could do. The ultimate metric in the human experience is not-surprisingly, human. IoT devices that interact and report between the person, applications and the knowledge of the web are the ultimate in the wearables experience. Fitness, health, entertainment, and communications only begin to tap the potential of wearables, an industry that will continue to evolve while becoming the next presumptive modern companion device.
- Health Care. Extending that human to device experience, health care is an application that has only started on this IoT journey. It is somewhat related to wearables, but deserves its own category. Applications in gathering, monitoring, drug tracking, and hospital asset tracking are pushing the boundaries of medical applications of IoT. Capabilities and efficiencies that are produced from these tools will help drive the next generation of medical IoT devices, bringing patients and care closer together than ever before.
It is clear throughout these brief examples, that IoT is not only growing, it is also changing. This growth and change are a big part of the challenges that lie ahead. Data overload, multiple connectivity options, security, complexity, processing, and renderings are among the major elements that are painting this picture of change and growth.
Many components of this future are still being worked out. Multiple vendors, multiple protocols, power requirements and more still have a long way to go. No matter which way it goes, there is little doubt that the number of devices and sensors are on an upward trend, and along with that, it will be accompanied by large quantities of information that will have to be collected, analyzed, and stored. The enterprise is looking at an even deeper challenge because in the widespread transition to this new paradigm, it must also incorporate the standards of hundreds of thousands of applications that are incorporating IoT in addition to the hundreds of requirements that exist in the realm of business (such as SLA’s, PCI, speed to market, etc.).
Hybrid is the Answer
The answer to the challenge of building the most efficient, highly scalable IoT infrastructure (or any IT infrastructure for that matter) calls for utilizing the most flexible and efficient platform which is hybrid cloud technology.
Hybrid cloud provides several key benefits that are naturally suited for IoT. Distributed hybrid technology specifically provides:
- Data isolation, security, and privacy
- Databases and big data – require I/O performance and scalability
- Cloudbursting – The cloud-based ability to quickly scale up or down, as needed
- Lock-in avoidance – Changing standards, integrations, and portability are not a hybrid cloud constraint
- Best venue – Hybrid clouds provide the ability to select the optimal infrastructure for applications
These elements only begin to tell the tale of an environment conducive to IoT growth. Hybrid allows for reduced costs, increased flexibility, better choices, accelerated deployment, improved reusability, and accelerated innovation.
An organization that embraces hybrid cloud technology into its IoT strategy can expect freedom from:
- Overpaying for solutions
- Data isolation
- Architecture-based performance issues
- Limitations on customization
- Excessive regulatory challenges
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of the IoT, the hybrid cloud, and what infrastructure you think is best to create the most efficient, highly available IoT environment possible. Share this post and your thoughts on social media and let’s start the discussion!