The Internet of Things (IoT) describes internet-connected objects such as electronics, HVAC systems, wearable devices and even buildings, all of which possess sensors to record and/or transmit data. This data can then be used for a plethora of purposes, such as gathering statistics, measuring trends, alerting about problems and planning growth.
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Because of its universal potential, IoT is projected to undergo a massive boom in the years ahead. Gartner states 4.9 billion devices will be connected via the Internet of Things in 2015 alone, with the bulk of these appearing within the consumer and vertical business industries. Furthermore, "manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three verticals using IoT in 2015" and "by 2020, the ranking will change with utilities in the No. 1 spot, manufacturing will be second and government will be third, totaling 1.7 billion IoT units installed." Gartner anticipates over 25 billion IoT devices will be in use by then.
IoT not only appeals across a broad base of industry sectors and fields, but it can deliver a wide range of technological functions as well, with opportunities in the cloud, security, capacity, growth, environmental and consumer-based device segments. This means big change ahead - and some critical decisions to be made - for various roles within the organization including managers, financial staff, network administrators, storage technicians, security experts and, of course, data analysts.
It's certain that IoT will be tied to big data, which as defined on TechRepublic as the "massive amount of rapidly moving and freely available data that potentially serves a valuable and unique need in the marketplace, but is extremely expensive and difficult to mine by traditional means." Through its flexibility, IoT can fill in where mining difficulties exist. As IoT spreads across almost all industries it will trigger a massive influx of big data and spawn new methods for harvesting, analyzing and using this information.
In this survey we delve into how IoT is being used to collect data, the benefits it can bring, and what it means for the future of big data analytics. The research report will be published in a special report in March.
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Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.