Himanshu Bari is the Director of Product Management for DataTorrent. His prior experience includes working a Senior Product Manager for Symantec and Hortonworks, a Strategy Consultant for Panasonic, and a Senior Systems Analyst for Goldman Sachs.
The number of connected devices related to the Internet of Things is rapidly growing, raising the question of whether enterprises are prepared for IoT. While many enterprises may be overwhelmed by the influx of IoT devices, early adopters are embracing it. IoT allows for remote monitoring, diagnostics and improved contextual awareness with early adopters focused on verticals such as building and home automation, wearable devices, resource optimization and machine monitoring. Although we have seen many success stories from these specific industries, current data suggests the adoption curve will take an additional five to eight years to fully implement.
With IoT in the early stages, solutions need to account for three key qualities of the space at the moment:
Fragmentation: There is quite a bit of fragmentation of technologies involved in IoT solutions right now. At the highest level, fragmentation is driven by vertical use cases that require extremely specialized solutions. As a result, fragmentation spans across the chain, from the software to the device, to the sensor and even to the protocol level.
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High variability: IoT applications naturally start with an experimentation phase, making it difficult for enterprises to understand and plan for exact infrastructure investments. This raises the need for an infrastructure that is fungible, can be scaled incrementally and is on demand.
Wide distribution: “Things” are scattered all over the place based on their deployment needs. This raises interesting challenges in terms of providing connectivity, analytics, and mobility of the device, regardless of the location.
Keeping these three features in mind, the architecture of a successful IoT solution must provide end-to-end solutions, customizable options and a ubiquitous presence. Enterprises are struggling to maintain solutions on their own due to the lack of standardization. Successful IoT application rollouts need vendor support across the entire value chain. All the way from the sensors and the SDK to program them to the back end infrastructure that gathers, stores and analyzes the data in real time.
Next, the connectivity, analytics and integration must have the ability to vary significantly based on specific verticals and use cases. Due to the nascent and evolving stage of the market solution architectures need high levels of customization in order to provide value.
Lastly, regardless of where a sensor is physically located, there must be a reliable connection to a gateway that links to the application brain. Basic services like security, reliability, fault tolerance, consistency, scalability etc., should be available universally in the underlying framework across the entire IoT deployment. Tiering also needs to be supported for seamless scale out of deployments without bottlenecks.
Companies of all sizes are aiming to provide platforms that enable IoT applications that gather, store, analyze and distribute data. They provide a SDK for IoT app development and also the backend cloud infrastructure to gather and analyze the data. Enterprises need to find a way to implement IoT solutions that adapt and adjust at the speed of specific situations and businesses.
(Image credit: Mike, via Flickr)