The Internet of Things (often abbreviated to IoT) and big data are probably two of the most talked about concepts that are currently happening within tech and whilst they are not mentioned together that often they are most definitely two technologies that go hand in hand and their relationship is likely to blossom as each of them come in to mainstream use.
The Internet of Things
The Internet if things is really a concept that is there to explain how the Internet is evolving into something new and far larger than what we have seen so far. Whilst the Internet is mostly known at the moment for being a source of information – news, guides, programs and discussions – as new devices are being connected up it is evolving in to a connection medium that is connecting every piece of technology together.
This new Internet could be compared to the physical transport systems that we have now – roadways, train lines and subways – these transport systems connect our lives together and are used by all of us every day to get where we need to go. This new Internet is very similar in that it will connect every type of device together as well as many other things in between.
The reason it is called the Internet of things is because everything that you can think of will have an Internet connection.
At the moment the main uses for the Internet of things is in the control it gives us over these things – for example cars, electrical appliances, lighting systems and alarm systems are some common things that are now Internet connected and allow us to control them via the Internet wherever we are.
Big data is a relatively new concept or at least the extreme interest in it is relatively new. At the moment big data seems to be reserved more for large corporations and most people think that big data has no use in everyday life and isn’t something that concerns them.
Big data is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a large amount of data that can be gathered, stored and manipulated. The reason it has become so important is really because computers are only now powerful enough to handle and manipulate large datasets and actually get some benefit from the process. This is largely thanks to cloud computer and the fact that computer systems are no longer constrained by physical hardware resources.
Big data does tend to be used by large companies with the aim of gleaning some new information about business practices, profit margins or evening upcoming trends in the marketplace.
A good example of a real world use for big data was presented by Wal-Mart not so long ago when they used huge datasets and predictive analytics to establish buying patterns of their customers in various regions. They used the information to stock shops within each region much more efficiently and this increased their margins and made the investment in big data technologies extremely effective.
So how to big data and IoT go together?
Big data thrives on information and is really about using that information to automatically change systems for the better. The Internet of things is the perfect facilitator for big data because it enables all types of things do collect and transmit data.
As the Internet of Things takes hold it is likely to become one of the key suppliers for big data systems and this will be great for the consumer because it will make every day things much more efficient.
For example, the Internet of Things could provide information on all of the things we use such as electricity, water, internet, telephone, mobile phones, food and literally hundreds if not thousands of other things and that information could then be used to provide the best type of service for each of those resources.
It would be sort of like an automated real time version of comparethemarket.com and would mean that rather than consumers being stuck on a particular price plan for any resource that they use they could be automatically put on the best plan with the best provider. Even better than this IoT and big data might see all of these types of consumer services changing into a far more accurate per unit pricing model similar to the system used by HP with their instant ink service.