The Internet of Things puts the big in big data.
The internet has always been about connecting things. Today more things—more internet-enabled devices—are connecting to the internet in more ways and for more reasons, and estimates for device growth are big—really big. And more internet-enabled devices means big data gets even bigger.
In the early days of the internet, workstations and desktop PCs connected to servers via a wired internet. Later, internet connections were made from smaller and more-mobile devices, but regardless of the thing making a connection, internet-communicated information was for the people using those internet-enabled devices.
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Enter the Internet of Things (IoT). The term is a new and evolving one, but at its core, IoT is about the variety, mobility, and ubiquity of internet-connected devices as well as an addition to who or what is communicating on the internet. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication—where devices such as sensors and actuators communicate directly with other internet-enabled devices—is a big part of IoT.
Recent internet-enabled device growth has been driven by smartphone and tablet adoption. But as M2M devices for telematics, home automation (thermostat, lighting, security, appliances, and so on), health/fitness, and more get connected, these small devices will become the big driver in this area.
Estimates put the number of devices connected to the internet today at more than 9 billion. And as noted in this issue’s “Navigate the Internet of Things” interview with Peter Utzschneider, vice president of product management for Java at Oracle, analysts predict upwards of 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, generating zettabytes of data each day.
Regardless of daily data volume and the size of each data point, business leaders will still need to see how their M2M communication is working, how it can provide better customer service, and how it can save more time and money, among other things. IT departments will then be called upon to provide business analytics on these massive data stores and generate results that lead to business benefits.
There’s good news about what IT can do to help businesses manage—and take advantage of—the explosive growth in devices and data, however.
In his Oracle OpenWorld 2013 keynote address (available on demand at bit.ly/1aCFRoM), Oracle President Mark Hurd addressed this issue, and he interviewed Oracle customers who are dealing with big data challenges today and succeeding with Oracle solutions. In the same keynote, Oracle Executive Vice President Thomas Kurian talked about current and future Oracle big data and analytics solutions—including Oracle Database, Oracle NoSQL Database, Oracle Business Analytics, Oracle Big Data Appliance, and Oracle Exalytics—and about different ways to use those solutions to analyze and benefit from big data.