There is more information monitoring and data generation produced by “things” today than ever before. The data is being analyzed and used productively by businesses & governments and homes & cities. The use cases for energy conservation, public safety, transportation, and the environment are numerous and have already had an impact on the way we live, work, play, and learn.
20 years ago we started working with the early concepts of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. At the time, we were using the SNMP protocol to monitor items. When I read about the “Trojan Room coffee pot” at the University of Cambridge (the first webcam) and the Internet Toaster, it started my thinking. Several years earlier in high school, I wired up a stage for a playhouse comedy for a friend where I remotely monitored & controlled several items on stage. All of this I’m sure added to my career in network services and information.
There was also the Aprils Fools edition Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP) 1998 which I think also spawned some real products. And one of its responses, “418 I’m a teapot” is still baked into languages and “used” today. It was used by a Russian technology person in MIL.RU when Russia invaded Ukraine as they responded with that error to web requests from outside Russia. The technical response is “short and stout” and let’s hope for a short time and quick resolution to this conflict.
Doing it Smart
The idea of “Smart”, begins with data collection, proceeds with analysis, and at some point, should produce intelligent information that can be acted upon. As I stated, more data is being generated today than at any point in the past. It is the decision making from this data that has gotten more difficult.
Data-driven decisions are the basis for any great company today. While there is room for intuition or gut feeling decision making, with few exceptions, these cannot be made without a data-driven platform producing the choices to be made. We are collecting more data today than we ever have, and it makes some of the jokes about “Big Data” of several years ago seem surreal. Today we have the benefit of new AI and machine learning where this data can be digested and made smarter before it’s presented for evaluation and decision making. This is a role of today’s IT professional.
I follow companies today such as Snowflake which offers a cloud-based data storage and analytics service. Its services have been a popular topic of conversation and while other names are mentioned, I’m hearing and seeing Snowflake at least 50% of the time. In a microcosm of vertical analytics, this is also why I got involved with a casino analytics company a couple years ago. Getting the data has become easier and easier, making the data useful is now our number 1 goal.
Another friend updated me on his IoT data marketplace, Terbine, which I believe there is a need for. Looking through the current version, I was already drowning in the data available looking through all the feeds and datasets. We now not only need to sift through data, but we need to sift through what data we are going to use and analyze. I fear we do not have enough data science specialists around. We need to make this simpler.
I have a passion for this type of work. When creating physical security solutions, we leveraged IoT devices to monitor and control the security and automation environment. Detecting friendlies and opening doors upon arrival or detecting intruders and releasing a fog-type mist to disorientate was fun to work on. Using surveillance to detect occupancy or how long the line at the register is also on the list. Even working on APIs to interface different applications and databases to provide a single picture of operations can fall into this area. Work still needs to continue here.
The best is yet to come
There is still a lot to come in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to improve business innovation and provide the operational insights to make decisions. This remains on the top items of any business executive today and the ones that figure it out the best will drive their companies to further success.