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Where's the data in an IoT world?

One thing that is a common thread among IoT applications is that while there is a very high quantity of devices, or “things,” if you work backwards in the application design — you’ll find fewer things involved to pull it all together. This concept isn’t new, in fact it’s something that is a very accepted practice over the years when new applications and technologies are introduced. It’s a simple analysis of the benefit of a technology service, coupled by the applications and components introduced to deliver that benefit. In an IoT world, these things are numerous and make the view of most applications and use cases having a number of moving parts.

Many may think that where the data resides is not important in the scheme of things. There is an opportunity to challenge this approach when you consider the benefits of identifying the data, keeping it available and using it for more efficient IoT use cases. If this compels you, it should.

Take, for example, this view of how an IoT solution could be delivered. It’s a flow from devices to gateways that provide connectivity to these devices, a private network or the internet, and some back-end data service that manages and provisions this application:

Where is the data in an IoT world

While this flow is simple, many industry-specific applications can use this architecture to do what these things need to do. Pieces and parts of it may change, but in many situations this is a simple flow example.

Where it gets interesting is when the entire IoT flow is analyzed and the data is identified, business innovation can occur. Take, for example, a system that provides sensors in parking garages. The data these systems can provide is incredibly useful; data that may indicate that during certain timeframes, weather conditions or during special events the traffic patterns change. Maybe there is a boost in valet parking when the weather is poor. Maybe certain parking areas fill up quicker and traffic control systems can predictively balance out parking traffic based on sensor data. This is just one example, but it underscores a significant fact: There is business value in this data.

Finding where the data resides in an IoT world is a worthwhile endeavor. Putting it to use and keeping it available will prove to be even more valuable to maintain a competitive edge and better serve stakeholders of all types.

Does finding the data in an IoT application appeal to you? What can you do with these data points? Share your comments below.

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