The 'Internet of Things'

Esmeralda Swartz

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Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data Intersect By @MetraTech | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

The concept of Internet of Things (IoT) is not exactly new, but when it intersects with other buzzworthy technologies

Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data Intersect to Create the Internet of Agents Application Economy

The concept of Internet of Things (IoT) is not exactly new, but when it intersects with other buzzworthy technologies such as Cloud and Big Data, combined they reach fever pitch. It is the convergence of these three technology areas that will be the topic of this month's #IoTuesday Twitter chat, co-hosted with Mike West, Research Fellow with Saugatuck Technology, on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.

The Internet of Things was first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton who co-founded the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which created a global standard system for RFID and other sensors. He is given credit for the term Internet of Things to describe a system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors. But prior to this auspicious start, we can trace the concept of a network of smart devices to 1982 when a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University was modified by industrious students to become the first Internet connected appliance. And the application? To tell students when cold soda was available.  Although in technology and Internet years, 1982 is ancient, what has not changed is the basic human need for the application-providing reliable, fast and actionable information to drive a decision. Fast forward to 2014 and analyst firm IDC forecasts that the IoT market will grow to $8.9 trillion by 2020 with anywhere between 30 to 50 billion connected autonomous things, making the potential growth opportunities staggering as sensors, technology and networking come together to enable things to swap information and usher in the new application economy.

Today, billions of everyday objects talk to each other over the Internet and most things come equipped with some type of network connection option and a variety of things-thermostats, TVs, the clichéd talking refrigerators and coffee maker, and even toothbrushes have a unique Internet identity. Electricity meters can talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Health monitors can keep an eye on your heart rate. Water pipes can warn of a fall in pressure. Industrial equipment can self-diagnose. The Internet-connected toothbrush can help you understand the areas you typically miss when brushing or when it's time to change the toothbrush head. Doting parents can even check if their children have been adequately brushing their teeth. The toothbrush example provides a foreshadowing of just how pervasive IoT will become in our daily lives. The IoT tsunami will drive a new applications economy to augment already familiar applications from Apple, Facebook, Google and Uber (worth noting founded just in March 2009).  We have reached the pivotal point where smart things can learn and even anticipate and react to our needs and we can expect a new generation of companies to make use of IoT to create novel new applications.

In this new emerging IoT world, humans will set policies and rules that define desired outcomes, while the execution of minute-by-minute decisions driven by those policies will increasingly be handled by automated service agents. We have always had services, but now we have services with connectedness. Being online means that these services can potentially be decomposed, repositioned, resold or bundled with other services by another service provider that can do a deal with the service originator. They are all mashup material. Connectedness means that every agent that is created has the potential to work with other agents to conceive and deliver services, and create new combinations of services. Agents collaborating with agents allow for services encapsulated within other services, service components extracted from one service and built into multiple others and so on.

We have shifted from the simpler monitoring of things to things providing critical information that can be utilized for analytics and corrective, proactive automated action. And, of course, the vast amounts of data generated by intelligent things means that the cloud, things and big data are tightly intertwined. The cloud plays a critical role in enabling intelligent machines to operate more effectively, and for data to be used by machines themselves to self-diagnose and self-repair. Analytics platforms for managing data produced by intelligent machines and sensors will convert data from machines and turn it into new offerings for consumer and corporate customers. Global enterprises in aviation, health care, energy production and distribution, transportation and manufacturing will have the ability to manage and operate machines in the cloud. These solutions will be offered in a cloud-agnostic-way and can be deployed on premise at a customer site, in a provider's cloud or in a third-party public cloud.

The inexorable march of cloud computing, IoT and big data will provide plenty of opportunity for innovation. As software and sensors running on everything from industrial machinery to household appliances continues to advance, we are entering an era where agents (services) can control the actions of connected intelligent things. A household appliance and a homeowner can provide a utility control of the appliance through software APIs that can grant permission to the utility. As a result, the relationships between devices, device manufacturers, their owners, and service providers will become increasingly more complex. Physical access and one-off contracts will be replaced by software that can support the frequent negotiations for access to things and the data they generate in an agile and scalable way.  As IoT agents evolve in sophistication and functionality they will effectively become applications that serve both humans and machines to create the application economy for the consumer and Industrial Internet.

Want to join December's #IoTuesday Twitter chat?

Follow @MetraTech on Twitter and join our chat on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT using the #IoTuesday hashtag.

Help spread the word!

Invite your IoT-enthused colleagues and contacts to the conversation by tweeting, "Discuss the convergence of #cloud, #data and #InternetOfThings during @MetraTech's #IoTuesday chat with @MikeWestCloud at 1 pm ET on Dec. 16."

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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