As more and more devices become ‘connected’, the Internet of Things is moving from being a niche technology to become a significant part of the online world, both in business and in our homes. As it does so, the volume of data collected from a whole range of devices and sensors grows too. All of this presents some significant challenges for businesses.
The IoT puts increased focus on data storage, network bandwidth, security, accessibility and more. Organisations need to have a clear plan in place to manage their introduction of IoT devices and make sure that they focus on all of the above.
Handling data at the edge
One of the major impacts of IoT rollouts is the sheer volume of data that is generated by the devices. This places stress on networks and also the need to store and process the information. This can lead to delays in extracting meaningful information, especially if the data is being held centrally.
In order to tackle this, many enterprises are now turning to the use of edge computing. This means processing IoT data close to where it’s generated which helps to avoid issues with communication latency so that results are delivered faster.
Processing at the edge does present some challenges, however. Security is a major one, but there’s also a need for the right database platform. One that is capable of processing data at the edge, but at the same time can synchronise with the cloud or with servers in a data centre. Since edge devices tend to be less powerful, any software used also needs to have a lean footprint – possibly with the ability to run entirely in memory – as well as being able to handle large volumes of information in real time.
This has led some companies to look at a hybrid of edge and fog computing principles, which means effectively using cloud at the network edge. This avoids the need for siloed models which can lead to processing bottlenecks.
As the use of IoT devices becomes mainstream and the technology matures, we’re likely to see a lot of newer IoT-friendly technologies coming into play. These will include low-power networks, containerisation of applications and 5G mobile networks. We’ll also see increasing integration between business systems such as ERP and CRM suites and IoT devices, allowing for more accurate and timely control of industrial processes and business systems.
In terms of processing the data that the IoT generates, we’ll also see an increase in the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Combined with the edge techniques we’ve talked about above, this will lead to faster analysis and better return on investment.
Getting the most out of the IoT presents some management challenges of course. If your organisation is looking to get the best from the technology it needs to have the right team driving it. At Clifford Associates, we can help you to find the people you need to make your IoT investment work.
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