What is an IoT anyway?

David Harris 20-Oct-2020 14:26:39

Everything your business needs to know about the Internet of Things.

by David Harris, Account Director at DSP-Explorer


Liquid based metaphors seem to have become the norm when discussing the topic of dataWe are all well used now to discussing how it needs to flow in a steady stream, recognise that demand peaks and troughs in waves and of course all that data needs to reside somewhere like a lake (although pond or ocean may equally apply depending on your circumstances). 

All of that is of course well known and part of the de rigueur parlance that any IT professional uses dailyit would hardly be a revelation if the conclusion of this blog was that ‘it’s all about your data stupid’! 

Continuing with the water theme what may not be quite as well appreciated is that there is a literal tsunami of data coming down the line towards us all grouped together under the catch all term of IoT. 

What is the IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not a new term but much like other IT terms which have come before (think Cloud or AI) it's not particularly helpful in its own right, you can’t go and buy ‘an IoT’ in the same way that you can’t buy ‘a cloud’ or ‘an AI, which leads to the conclusion that IoT will mean different things to different businessesSo, what is at the heart of all this?

How does it work?

IoT has been around almost as long as technology itself. In its most basic form the concept of predictive maintenance is well understood and commonplace (if not ubiquitous) within certain industriesTake the example of an escalator in a busy underground station:  You deploy sensors to monitor mechanical operating parameters, be they temperature, vibration, pressure, acceleration etc. Next step in this scenario would be to deploy an edge compute device to process the data from the sensors, in our scenario here this is likely to be some variant of a rugged industrial grade PCThe edge device processes the data from the sensor and compares it against known nominal operating valuesOnly in the event of a reading outside of nominal would the data, in this case let's say an abnormal temperature reading, be processed onwards to a central data repository, collated with the readings taken across the whole estate where some meaningful insight into the health of the escalator can be derived and, if appropriate, an alert triggered for a pre-emptive maintenance check.

How is IoT relevant to your business?

All pretty straight forward so farIn fact, so commonplace has this become that whole industries have already been transformed into as-a-service models much the same as the IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS we’re so used to talking about in the IT market, refrigeration-aaS for Supermarkets or Aircraft Engines-aaS anyone? 

The escalator example is of course a simple one, the real challenges start with what IoT means to your businessWhat are the assets you’re monitoring? What is the data you’re trying to collect and derive insight from? How many and where are all the data sources? Is it even possible to deploy an edge compute device or will data need to be sent straight to the central repositoryThe answers to these, and many more questions, will stress the traditional IT resources of any organisation to the limit. 

This is where platforms such as Google’s GCP Cloud IoT Core can helpCloud IoT Core provides a set of fully managed and integrated services that allow you to easily and securely connect, manage and inject date from devices across the globe at a large scale, process and analyse that data in real time, and then act on it to improve your operational efficiency. 

Device data is captured by Cloud IoT Core and feeds into Cloud IoT services where you can do ad hoc analysis using BigQuery, easily run advanced analytics and apply machine learning with Cloud Machine Learning Engine, or visualise IoT data results with rich reports and dashboards.  

So, you’ve got your assets, you are collecting data via Cloud IoT Core, you’ve deployed Cloud BigTable to account for the data tsunami and started gathering insights via BigQuery & Cloud ML  so what nextWell that’s where DSP come in. 

DSP-Explorer are home to highly certified database experts. Our Managed Service offerings can help you to operate, manage and maintain your environment, as well as providing expert advice on optimisation, data migration, reporting and a whole variety of other areas to suit your business objectives and derive real value from that most critical of assets - your data.

After all, it’s all about the data stupid!

Get in touch with DSP-Explorer at enquiries@dsp-explorer.com to learn more about our services, or contact us via the form below.

by David Harris, Account Director at DSP-Explorer