What is the Internet of Things?
When it comes to data and cloud integration, the world has seen few game changers like the Internet of Things (IoT). By the year 2020, the IoT will consist of over 30 billion IoT devices, and by 2025, that number will more than double. With so much data being generated from so many sources, conventional data management solutions simply can’t keep up. That’s a big problem for companies who want to harness the IoT to drive business and stay competitive.
Businesses and organisations of all kinds are being driven to adopt data integration and management tools that can provide the bandwidth, storage, and analysis power demanded by the IoT. In this article, we’ll explore the Internet of Things and take a look at why companies are choosing cloud integration to manage unimaginable volumes of IoT data.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things is a network of connected devices that generate and share data with each other. This includes:
- household appliances (smart tvs, thermostats, lighting, and security systems)
- smart speakers (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod)
- wearable technology (Fitbit, smart sneakers, Apple Watch, smart hats)
- medical devices
These are some of the most common IoT devices, but there are plenty of others. Pet feeders, yoga mats, salt shakers, toasters, mirrors, water bottles, baby changing stations, and even forks can now collect and share data across the internet.
Internet of Things - A Data Gold Mine
The IoT currently generates 5 quintillion bytes of data every day. The data generated by the Internet of Things provides businesses with a wealth of information that—when properly collected, stored, and processed—gives businesses a depth of insight into user behavior never before seen. The types of data businesses can collect through the IoT include:
- location, navigation, and speed
- usage, time, duration
- sound, vibrations
- light, images, optical
- proximity, presence
- position, placement, angles
All of that data can be migrated into a data warehouse where it's transformed into powerful business intelligence. Companies use this BI to design products, target marketing, and better understand customer behaviour. But even as the IoT promises to deliver a wealth of powerful data, many companies struggle to successfully harness and utilize all that information.
IoT — Big Data, Big Challenges, Big Opportunities
For most of us, the Internet of Things presents four primary challenges:
- Managing security and compliance
- Providing massive amounts of storage
- Analysing huge volumes of data (often in real-time)
- Integrating many types of data from an increasing number of sources
We’ll look at each of these below, as well as some of the ways that cloud integration can reduce or eliminate IoT-related data challenges.
Security and Compliance
The value of the IoT for businesses stems from its ability to deliver in-depth, personal, and you might even say intimate data about its users. But with that power comes serious concerns about privacy and security. Consider a healthcare system that uses the IoT to collect patient health information: that data is extremely helpful to the professionals who are taking care of the patient, but it’s also sensitive and vulnerable to loss or theft.
In addition to the risk of data loss or theft, companies and organisations must also take steps to ensure that they are meeting legal requirements for protecting user privacy and securing their data. One of the most useful tools for accomplishing both aims is cloud integration. A cloud integration platform can automate compliance and privacy protocols, while simultaneously deploying state-of-the-art security measures.
This is particularly helpful with the IoT, in which various sources generate many types of data, and companies may rely on local, hybrid cloud, or cloud-native storage solutions. Cloud integration provides the highest degree of flexibility and adaptability for managing all that data.
Today, there are more data storage options than ever. Companies may store data in on-premises servers, choose a cloud storage option, or a hybrid approach that combines the best features of both. The IoT requires data storage solutions that can deliver high capacity and adaptability. Companies need access to storage options that can handle unimaginable volumes of data, while providing the scalability needed to manage budgets. Cloud integration does exactly that: it provides access to a range of storage options (such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure, to name a few) and facilitates the ETL and migration processes needed to move data from one location to another.
Even if your company does a great job of collecting, securing, and storing IoT data, it won’t be of much value without the right data analysis tools. Many companies today choose to rent data analysis tools from third-party providers rather than develop their own. This model of pay-per-use reduces overhead and gives users access to the latest in data analytics technology.
Cloud integration provides a clear path to these analytic tools by helping users prepare and migrate their data from its source to the analytic tools itself. Equally helpful is the versatility that comes from cloud integration: users can seamlessly move many types of data from one application to another, in a very short amount of time. The result is more business intelligence with less lag.
One of the most important ways that cloud integration helps businesses make the most of IoT data is in its ability to combine and consolidate many data streams. This is especially critical with the continuing proliferation of IoT devices and the various formats in which they collect and store data. Cloud integration simplifies and automates the processes of data extraction, processing, cleansing, and migration. This helps companies avoid the investments in time and money that are required by manual or hand-coded integrations.
IoT - Data You Can Trust, at the Speed of Business
The IoT is already delivering more data than the world has ever seen. For organisations and businesses who depend on this data, the IoT promises more insight and business intelligence than ever before. That means more opportunities to connect with users, customers, patients, donors, and clients.
In order to take advantage of the data generated by the Internet of Things, cloud integration is quickly becoming a necessity. Whether that means accessing scalable storage options, migrating data from one location to another, or remaining vigilant for privacy and security threats, the cloud makes integrating IoT data faster and more reliable than ever before.
Talend Cloud Integration Platform gives users the power to harness data from any source and migrate it to virtually any application, location, or analytics tool. 900+ connectors make it easy to migrate data between applications while providing the agility needed to stay ahead of the IoT data curve. Download a free trial of Talend Cloud Integration Platform today and tap into the full potential of the Internet of Things.