IoT Analytics – the data is upon us


IoT Internet of things analyticsThe Internet of Things (IoT) must be right up there on the hype-o-meter, together with big data. It refers to a growing network of everyday devices – beyond computers – any consumer or industrial device, which is connected and can share information and perform tasks, even when you are not around. And the IoT is not just a passing fad, in fact, Cisco has stated publically that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet – that is a lot of data being generated into our networks and systems. So, given all this data, it only makes sense that we start examining the Internet of Things analytics, which, is essentially a reference to the transformation, measurement and analysis of all this data.

The devices and networks are ready. The flood of data is coming.

IoT analytics is an amalgamation of two major segments, obviously being IoT and analytics. As the data from IoT-enabled devices proliferates, there would be a growing need to conduct a more detailed analysis of the resulting large volumes of structured and unstructured data. IoT analytics is about extracting important information from the vast amount of IoT data generated by sensors and smart devices. It can play an important role in business process optimisation; therefore, the IoT analytics solutions can have a crucial role in almost every industry vertical.

However, collecting data and device interactions on millions of geographically distributed, sporadically-connected devices is hard, given there isn’t a particular collection point. Of course sensors, machine-to-machine and network data will play a larger role in analytics as the IoT becomes a reality. The challenge that exits is that currently billions of information actions are generated every second, which in most cases require processing and analysis.  So what are our options?

Well, Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins, was recently quoted around the need for intelligent network infrastructure.  According to him; “(So) now we will have not just datacenters but remote centers of data. We can’t always depend on taking the data back to the datacenter and acting on it because it has a shelf-life, its perishable, (as) the value only exists for a short period of time. We have to provide analytics out of the network that are only available in motion, at a moment of time.”

In my view, as IoT evolves from IT trend into IT practicality, the real value will lie in two aspects, namely the near-time analysis of all this data data and presenting the derived insights quickly and in a way that actually makes an impact to how organisations run their businesses, or more specifically, their operations.  While certainly, Internet of Things analytics is different to ‘normal’ analytics or even big data analytics – given you have to gather and analyse data from various events – remember there is still a lot of structured data being generated by the devices on the IoT. So then it becomes about using the right approach with the right ‘tools’ to gain and present the right insights?

In fact, the IoT Analytics market is said to boom. According to a recent market research report, with the nice short title of “Internet of Things (IoT) Analytics Market by Application Platform (Telematics, Wearable, Building Automation, Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare,), Solutions (Sensor and Gateway Analytics), Deployment, Process, Regions – Global Forecast to 2020”, by MarketsandMarkets, the global IoT analytics market is expected to grow from $4.85 Billion in 2015 to $16.35 Billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.48%. That makes for a lot of analytics products and services!

But just like the big data market, we can expect this to be a very volatile space, with new players creating a niche business and old established vendors failing to keep up with the pace of change.

The demand in this market is highly driven by the increasing penetration of connected devices and fast advancing analytics tools. Furthermore, the shifting interests in cloud deployment, predictive analytics for business, end-to-end automation, and consumer-friendly IoT analytics platforms are some other factors driving this market and creating value. Many niche players such as ThingWorx, AGT International, and MNUBO Inc. have emerged and are expected to evolve in the coming time. The IoT analytics market is still at an emerging stage and has started strong traction recently but it’s a promising technology in shaping the future. The increasing number of connected devices all over the world and cost effective deployment through cloud are expected to boost this market eventually. The latest trend in this market is the emergence of start-ups such as Measurence, ParStream, PLAT.ONE, Preferred Networks, ColdLight, and ThingWorx who are offering niche application platforms and solutions in IoT analytics.

The following applications are indicated to become important in IoT analytics:

  • Energy and utility management
  • Telematics
  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing
  • Asset optimization
  • Patience monitoring
  • Security management
  • Customer experience
  • Building automation
  • Wearable


Concluding remarks

Personally I see it more as starting off being focused on Intranets of Things Analytics, where organisations will want to analyse their own internal and connected sets of sensors and devices, before even getting vaguely interested to investigate what all is out there that can be tapped. (Good luck to anyone to dream up a new acronym for that one.)

But the reality is that the devices are ready, and for the most part so is the network infrastructure, so the question really is – are we ready for the influx of data?

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