IoT: Sensors working overtime
It’s not just the data, it’s what you do with it that counts. Organisations everywhere are striving to get to grips with what the Internet of Things could mean for their products their infrastructure, and the devices their customers and employees carry with them.
I was at London’s ExCeL centre recently for a new event, Smart IoT London. It’s part of an expansion of last year’s ‘festival of the expos’ that now sees exhibitors and speakers from Cloud Expo Europe, Data Centre World, Cloud Security Expo, and Smart IoT all vie for the a share of the same crowd. Which does rather make for somewhat confused delegate profile!
However, notwithstanding the somewhat jarring juxtapositions of fire suppression system manufacturers rubbing up against wireless sensing node specialists, the various ‘theatres’ dotted around the hall(s) fielded a packed programme on a wide range of IoT and cloud-related subjects.
There, I spoke with the Met Office’s CIO Charlie Ewen. He was at Smart IoT to talk about his organisation’s Weather Observations Website (or ‘WOW’). In this age of APIs and services, however, it’s now no longer just a website. Nor does it solely concern itself just with the weather. Apparently the proliferation of roadkill hedgehogs can act as a good proxy for creeping climate change. Observations are still key though, whether automated from myriad instrumented and connected ‘things’ , or simply logged manually by interested citizens.
But, as my colleague Neil Ward-Dutton wrote in his recent blog The Internet of Things: Where’s the value?, an obsession with data streamed in from a network’s physical extremities isn’t IoT’s whole story. To stand any chance of benefiting from the insights you might glean about the behaviour of interconnected physical objects out in the real world (be they small mobile devices, larger objects, or vast swathes of infrastructure), organisations need to get a handle on how sensor-based analytics can align with their wider interests. Then they need to close the feedback loop so that strategic decisions can be made off the back of what all this new sensor data is telling them at speed, at scale, and all at a fraction of what it would’ve cost a couple of years ago.
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