Exploring the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is today’s buzzword across various verticals, but the concept of machine-to-machine communication is older than a decade or more. Even as early as the 1990s, the concepts of IoT were in use. For example, in the mid-90s I designed and developed interfaces for a leather-measuring machine to communicate via RS232 ports and send measurement data to various connected devices. These devices then produced barcodes that were printed on the processed leather. Today, with the advent of Internet and smart devices, IoT is growing at a rapid pace and experts believe that it is the next big thing.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects or "things" with embedded electronics, software, or sensors and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturers, people and/or other connected devices using various protocols. The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating a direct integration between the physical world and computer-based smart devices. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.

IoT also enables data to be computed in real time where it’s first captured, and then transferred to other devices like servers for additional processing. For devices that do not have the ability to compute data, IoT gateways can be added to perform the compute – Rasberry-pie or Arduino are such popular microcontroller-based IoT devices.

Why IoT?

Some of the benefits of IoT include:

  • Availability of actionable information vs. raw data
  • Tracking in real time
  • Better situational awareness
  • Autonomous operation
  • Low power requirements
  • Reduced or eliminated Controlling Complex systems
  • Reduced infrastructure investments, improved quality and security of information
  • Alternative methods for data transmission when network bandwidth is limited

When to implement IoT solutions?

Before considering implementing IoT-based solutions in your organization, consider the following.

  1. 1Understand the principles of IoT. The four principles for IoT are i) Connectivity, ii) Manageability, iii) Security and iv) Interoperability of systems and data. Finding answers for the following questions would help understand these principles.
    • Is your security model robust and flexible?
    • Can the model support complex use cases and usage models across different heterogeneous infrastructures?
    • Can data move seamlessly and securely through the systems?
    • How does data exchange or fusion happen across the infrastructure that requires common IoT frameworks?
    • Can the data collected be consumed across the organization infrastructure, including smart phones, gateways, tablets, dashboards and control centers?
    • How will the system integrate with the new and existing technology stack?
    • Do you have policies defined for shared data management and backup?
  2. 2Ponder the prime area of opportunity.
  3. 3Define the problems that need to be solved, and determine who wants to use the data and why.
  4. 4Work with a solution provider like NTT DATA. Our Solution Architects are experienced in finding elements of IoT that are right-sized and form end-to-end solutions, while defining the right data you need, and not everything you collect. We also develop proof of concepts and trial runs.

Looking ahead, IoT holds a great potential, not only for cost savings and productivity, but also for future innovation. Growing organizations cannot afford to ignore it: For business success, the sooner the better to join the IoT bandwagon.

Post Date: 7/23/2015

default blog image Srikanth Devarajan

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