Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) go hand-in-hand. Both are expanding at rates that boggle the human mind.
John Greenough in an article titled How the ‘Internet of Things’ will impact businesses, consumers, and governments in 2016 and beyond shares some incredible estimates, referring to a 2015 BI (Business Insider) Intelligence report, such that there will be an unbelievable “…34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, up from 10 billion in 2015. IoT devices will account for 24 billion while traditional computing devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.) will comprise 10 billion.” An amount close to $6 trillion will be spent on IoT devices and their attending technologies over the next five years.
Already there are a mind-blowing 7.9 billion mobile devices on the Internet, according to a report from Cisco in 2015.
The amount of data flowing through all these devices is already beyond big. According to Arik Hesseldahl in an article titled Phones Will Drive Internet Traffic Past the Zettabyte Mark This Year, “The Visual Networking Index, a survey of global Internet traffic trends, predicts that the total amount of Internet traffic will break the zettabyte barrier this year, and will double again in 2019.” So what’s a zettabyte? The article goes on to explain that a zettabyte is equivalent to one billion terabytes, or one sextillion bytes (1 sextillion is a number equal to 1 followed by 21 zeros).
How will the IoT impact Big Data? An article by Kaushik Pal titled The Impact of the Internet of Things on Big Data lists four major areas that will be heavily impacted: Data Storage, Big Data Technologies, Data Security, and Big Data Analytics.
Kaushik states that the move to PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions for companies that deal with data storage is being driven by the IoT. “When we talk about IoT, one of the first things that come to mind is a huge, continuous stream of data hitting companies’ data storage.” In order to compass the flood, more and more capacity must be added and the only way that makes sense to do it is by way of the flexible and (almost) instantly scalable cloud-based storage technologies.
In terms of the impact that IoT is having on Big Data technologies, Kaushik states that “Organizations will have to adapt technologies to map with IoT data…From a technology perspective, the most important thing is to receive events from IoT-connected devices. The devices can be connected to the network using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or another technology, but must be able to send messages to a broker using some well-defined protocol.”
The IoT will have a great impact on data security, as follows: “As the IoT evolves, an unmanaged number of IoT devices will be connected to the network. These devices will be of different shapes and sizes and located outside the network, capable of communicating with corporate applications.” The need for developing a method of corralling the myriad devices and somehow keeping them secured and auditable is a tremendous challenge – the author of the article states that the IoT world is at present lacking in experience when it comes to security. Maturation, meaning real solid (or should we say relatively solid) security in this area will undoubtedly come about but only through herculean efforts.
Regarding Big Data Analytics Kaushik states, “IoT and Big Data basically are two sides of the same coin. Managing and extracting value from IoT data is the biggest challenge that companies face.” Actions on data from the IoT can include “event correlation, metric calculation, statistics preparation, and analytics.” Companies involved in handling data derived from the IoT must first get a handle on all that data by, for instance, deploying solutions specially dedicated to mapping, organizing, and viewing huge data sets.
It is fascinating to witness these developments in part because they present such great challenges. Yet, $6 trillion is in the forecast for IoT spending over the next five years. Brilliant, colossal efforts unprecedented in scope and in scale from the best and brightest human minds and engineering organizations ever assembled in the history of the world will usher in the new era.