By Adrian Bridgwater
The next strategic inflexion point for software application development today is the Internet of Things (IoT); at least that’s what people say. It is hugely fashionable just now to “partner on an IoT initiative” and you will see these tech industry love-ins cropping up every week now.
But do all these firms think about what programmers in the IoT zone really need at the heart of the matter and are we forgetting the real secret locked inside? After all, the secret to the IoT is just “data” itself, isn’t it?
German softwarehaus Software AG has partnered with Indian software integrator and consulting company Wipro to develop IoT software for smart, connected products. The firms have connected on technology for “streaming analytics” to provide actionable intelligence that uses a real-time analytics engine, an in memory database technology and various mash-up technologies.
Wipro is cautiously positive about the IoT challenge and senior architect Audi Lucas says that there is a “completely new challenge for IoT system designers” here. He states that it’s all about architectures that can continuously analyze streaming data, make smart decisions in very short timeframes and intelligently evolve system behavior to navigate around threats in real-time.
The secret key to the IoT?
With cloud hosted analytics and algorithms that are accessible by digital sensors and devices, actions like process updates, event responses and machine behavior can then be implemented says John Bates, global head of industry solutions and CMO at Software AG. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said Bates.
As factually correct as these statements are, surely the real key to addressing the IoT market is getting the data in the first place?
Deeply unsexy predictive petabytes
Event responses and machine behavior is all very well when it comes to new post-millennial products with their petabytes of sensor-generated data. But if we look more closely into the deeply unsexy world of predictive maintenance on industrial equipment, we will have to contend with massive files that are typically buried and inaccessible after years of being shuffled around by the IT department.
CEO of data management startup Peaxy is Manuel Terranova. The former GE Oil & Gas division CIO reminds us that, “No one will deny that telemetry data generated by embedded sensors has opened doors to a new universe of innovation. However, few realize that for Global 1,000 manufacturers to make the Industrial Internet a reality, engineering teams need to be able to compare this data the equipment’s original geometry schematics drawings and simulations, files that might have been generated as far back as the 1970s or ‘80s — it is not uncommon for industrial machinery to have a 30 year-plus lifecycle.”
Peaxy itself is employing patented technology to help firms aggregate telemetry with these massive simulation and geometry datasets, placing them all into a single directory.
So let’s be kind to the likes of Software AG and Wipro, there is much work to be done here and these firms are focusing us on the new developer coalface. Let’s even be kind to the likes of Italtel and Cisco who this week announced guess what? An IoT partnership to work on technologies for smart manufacturers to open industrial plants to IT enterprise applications. We just need to get a few core realizations under our belt.
So as social enterprise entrepreneur Aral Balkan has said, “There is no Internet of Things. There is only the Internet of Data.”