The Next Big Thing: The Internet of Things

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Are You Ready for the Next “Big Thing?”

One of the biggest revolutions in technology is starting to take place now. It’s based on widespread, affordable access to the internet along with the availability of low-cost sensors that can be added to a wide variety of items that people never thought to network before.
 
Increasingly faster computers and high-capacity servers enable end users to easily collect and store massive amounts of data and then use advanced software to discover new patterns via “data mining.” This means our newly connected world is going to sparkle with small details about the environment coming from sensors in buildings, equipment, appliances and a multitude of objects both big and small, doing jobs that range from the mundane to mission-critical.
 
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things refers to a new development in the worldwide network of computers that people use every day to stay connected with family and friends, shop, look for work and start new businesses.
 
When you think of the internet, you may imagine accessing it on your laptop in a cafe via WiFi or how much your company relies on a big data center that stores information on thousands of customer interactions.
 
However, you can connect more than computers and webcams to the internet. Smart thermostats can broadcast environmental conditions about your factory to you over the network. Pressure sensors detect when patients get out of their beds in a hospital and automatically alert the night nurse to check on them. A refrigerator updates the family’s online shopping list when it detects product expiration dates are looming.
 
Any company that manufactures items or provides accessories or services for products made by other businesses will want to pay close attention to the developing Internet of Things to remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace.
 
You can imagine connecting nearly anything to the internet. For example, you can embed moisture sensors in the potted plants in your kitchen and get a text message when they are too dry. Consider enormous engineering projects that require constant monitoring by trained technicians. When you embed sensors in the structure, such as “smart concrete” that can detect itself cracking and undergoing too much stress or vehicle trackers connected to your city’s traffic system, enormous amounts of useful data are generated, stored and ready for analysis.
 
With so much data being captured from a wide variety of devices day in and day out, companies will need to ensure that they have sufficient computational resources to manage all the information pouring in. That’s why so many organizations work with cloud computing service providers, so they can expand server capacity or bandwidth at a moment’s notice, without causing any delay in operations.
 
Making sense out of the data and deriving novel insights from it requires sophisticated data mining software. If you don’t take advantage of big data analytics, you’ll get a much lower return on your IT investment. What’s worse, you will be at a competitive disadvantage when your rivals turn to big data to find gold in the information being generated from their devices connected to the Internet of Things.