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Will IoT technologies take over the data center's future?

The Internet of Things is coming to a data center near you. Do you know how to get ready for the surge of new technologies?

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Modern Infrastructure: Internet of Things coming to an infrastructure near you:

Internet of Things initiatives will add billions of intelligent and autonomous devices to data centers worldwide...

in the next decade.

According to analyst firm IDC's report, Internet of Things 2013 to 2020 Market Analysis: Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars, IoT technologies and services spending will generate global revenues of $4.8 trillion in 2012 and $8.9 trillion by 2020. IDC's calculations include intelligent and embedded systems shipments, connectivity services, infrastructure, purpose-built IoT platforms, applications, security, analytics and professional services.

IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things to be approximately 212 billion "things" globally by the end of 2020 -- including 30.1 billion installed autonomous things. This is largely driven by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data across consumer and enterprise applications.

As devices become more plentiful, continuously connected and thoroughly instrumented, the impact of IoT technologies is significant across a wide range of sectors, said Nik Rouda, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

"Adoption may be uneven, and in some cases still distant, but the trend seems increasingly inevitable," said Rouda. "It's actually kind of hard to picture many activities that couldn't be quantified [through IoT] to provide meaningful insights."

Some of the areas where Rouda sees near-term effects from IoT technologies include the following:

Healthcare: This includes activity monitors like the FitBit, clinical study data, emergency response and in-home senior care.

Transportation: This involves geospatial and time-series tracking fleets of vehicles' location and condition.

Food and beverage: IoT is useful for tracking consumables from their point of origin through processing and distribution to check quality and perishability.

Ways to get ready for IoT

Rouda offers this list of actions to consider on your way to the Internet of Things.

  • Define the target use cases. Be specific; engage IT, the lines of business and clients; and get buy-in.
  • Evaluate the return on investment for the business. Add up all costs, internal and external, and figure out how the data will actually be monetized.
  • Define the data collection and environmental requirements in terms of the type of sensors, power, temperature range, etc.
  • Define the data management and analysis requirements.
  • Define governance and retention requirements.
  • Prototype, pilot and test a solution -- and make sure it's doing what you expect!
This was last published in December 2014

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