The Internet of Things sounds quite like a buzzword these days, but as it does not seem to fade, we may need to pay attention to it. In fact, we stepped into this connected world a while ago since connected devices outnumbered people on the planet in 2009. Since then, the number of objects that are enabled with sensors has kept on increasing and will keep on doing so from 1.9 billion devices today to an estimated 9 billion in 2018.
Even companies which are not directly developing connected devices, but use real-time information to provide services like Uber, are taking part in this IoT revolution. The Internet of things changes the business models of many industries. Connected devices create a lot of data that companies can leverage to create better products and services. If this data is detailed, up-to-date and easy to reach, then companies can develop solutions that are tailored to each of their customers.
The Internet of things holds a promise for more relevant solutions and therefore valuable and more profitable products and services. Forrester states that 40% of companies are adopting or plan to adopt machine-to-machine technology within two years. And for these companies, accurate data will be a critical success factor.
As the Internet of Things keeps on expanding and drawing more attention, a few companies are looking ahead and started tapping this need for accurate data. With such an amount of data created, aka Big Data, the Internet of things is putting current data infrastructures through the test. Some companies predict that our standard communication protocols could not support this future Internet. Indeed, when the World Wide Web was born, scientists developed the HTTP protocol to pull and use data. But, HTTP was designed to deliver static content which is very different from Big Data and from the uses we have of it today.
This is why ad-hoc networks are considered to be the answer to these looming issues. Ad-hoc networks would enable decentralized wireless nodes to communicate with each other in a collaborative way. Nodes would collaborate to establish unicast or multicast communications between a source node and one or several destination nodes. A few companies are investing in this opportunity. They are looking for new database infrastructures and protocols to get the most out of Big Data. Ideally, they will come up with a standard solution that will be easy to implement everywhere and will enable all connected devices to communicate with the same protocol. Companies also have to take into account some specific concerns related to this type of data like security. Indeed, Big Data is at the same time more sensitive and needs to be more easily reachable; this calls for a flexible security approach.
This opportunity to create an ad hoc network for connected objects is just emerging but will reveal itself to be unavoidable and profitable in the coming years. Just look at what TripIt was able to achieve. This app is able to inform a customer of a delayed flight before his own airlines because TripIt’s network is more efficient at analyzing data. Another example of this is Sigfox: this French start-up which is creating a global cellular network for connected objects just raised $21 million in Series B.
Other companies than Sigfox are investing this market, like Google but also smaller players. Kaazing, which pitched for their solution during the PRIME event last week, is also working on a 2-way communication gateway that is secure and extremely scalable called WebSocket.
You can be sure that this is just the beginning and that more and more companies will work on providing accurate data faster by developing the ultimate standardized network to support the Internet of things.
This article is partially based on a webinar Kaazing organized two weeks ago: Building Real-Time Internet of Things Applications for the Enterprise