The enthusiasm for the Internet of Things (IoT) is like big data déjà vu. Cisco Systems Inc. and Verizon Communications and Oracle Corp. paraded out anecdotes of how sensor data will ensure easier urban parking, less invasive medical procedures and even decent wine.
“Folks in Napa are starting to instrument their vineyards,” said Jim Grubb, vice president of emerging technologies and chief demonstration officer at Cisco. And they’re not just slapping a sensor here and there, “they’re instrumenting every single vine in their vineyards.” That’s saving vintners 30% on their water bills, according to Grubb, because “they’re only watering those grapes exactly the right amount.”
There were other, even more compelling examples, like equipping “ingestibles” or “smart pills” with the ability to take photographs or to monitor heart rhythm from inside the patient’s body or blending data from disparate sources to uncover why a certain area might trigger asthma attacks.
Still, similar to the initial buzz around big data, IoT discussions evoke excitement about the wonderful possibilities: New business models! Competitive advantage! Deeper insights! And they often leave out what’s practical, as Poul Peterson, chief infrastructure officer for Corvallis, Oregon-based BigML Inc., noted during a panel discussion on data analytics. Attaching sensors to every grape vine, cargo ship, train car or transformer, “that’s not too hard,” he said. But “how on earth do you get to that last step?” … (Read more)