Internet of Things: Intelligence Enabled

By | Nov 15, 2013

The Internet of Things is following in the footsteps of Moore's Law toward cheaper and more powerful computer chips. Economical machine sensors with enabled communication technology are approaching commodity price points where all things can have a connection. This feeds into predictions of over 30 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, as quoted by Samir Alam in BizTech2.com.

The production, transmission, cloud storage and analysis of continuous, real-time data pushes business demand for intelligence to be extracted from the huge amounts of data. The resultant machine intelligence is not seen as a substitute for human analysis and supervision but as an augmentation that supervises and controls repetitive, predictable tasks.

Midwife for the Machines

In an article on Computerworld, Stephen Lawson questioned how difficult to manage will be the transition to an intelligent Internet of Things. In these early days of connected everything, people are spending a significant amount of time babysitting the devices. End users are expected to act as network administrators, managing connection details across numerous protocols and interfaces. Things are becoming connected, but people remain hands on when managing the complexity of the connections.

Early adoption of the Internet of Things looks like an increased workload for technology management rather than a productivity increase. A supportive ecosystem of IT systems to manage connections and the data will be key to reducing manual intervention from users or IT staff.

Data versus Intelligence

Predictions of an intelligently connected world are on track, but it is not yet here. While the supporting technologies are advancing, they are not necessarily advancing at the same rate for all things. Smarter computing solutions for some business areas such as supply chain monitoring and the building of environmental controls are already significantly advanced. Analytics and cloud data support are also maturing along with these early adoption areas, and each is starting to provide meaningful intelligence for businesses.

The evolution of an Internet of Things is predicted to be rapid and is likely to quickly overcome current technology shortcomings. The integration and alignment of data with business needs is essential for success in creating business intelligence because attaching sensors to everything does not automatically extract meaning from data.

In preparation for the future, IT professionals who identify the knowledge that can add value to the business via monitoring are positioned to take advantage of emerging technologies. Additionally, working with business units to identify which of their needs would be solved with this additional data builds the business case to invest at an appropriate point in the evolution.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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