When you cut through the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s the Internet of Sensors (IoS) and resulting data that matters most, according to developers at The Technology Partnership (TTP). “The IoT is, to a large extent, a solution looking for a problem, rather than the other way round,” said Steve Taylor, a senior consultant at TTP. “There’s simply no point in objects talking to each other just for the sake of it and the IoT only provides the communications backbone. An Internet of Sensors looks more like the roots of a tree, with sensors of all types at the extremities, capturing and feeding data upwards to the main trunk – the Internet.”
Connecting things over the internet is certainly not new. TTP has been working on machine to machine (M2M) and even organism to machine applications for over 20 years, from sensors to monitor cow herds to sensors in orthopaedic joints and F1 engines. “The IoT hype is supported by silicon vendors eager to dream up new applications for chips,” added Taylor. “But that’s putting the ‘cart before horse’. It’s more important to look at the needs first and then create systems around them. In this world, small changes in the sensor map can lead to very significant commercial gains.”
Taylor points to Google that has proven the business case for data-mining everything we type, do, say and breathe in order to gain better insight into our lives, actions and needs. Business managers throughout industry now want to replicate this with their products and assets. There’s a huge amount of data which is not being ‘listened to’. In heavy industry for example, saving a few percent of energy by improved temperature modelling can be worth billions.
“Certainly there is a need to pump more data to the Cloud, to gain greater insight into systems and how they perform in reality,” added Taylor. “This information is extremely valuable, particularly if you can blend local sensor data with historical data.”
“There is a great business opportunity for both established companies and start-ups as the new connected world evolves, but it’s those who think first about real world information and how to capture and harness it – those who think about the IoS and not the IoT – that will emerge as the winners,” concluded TTP’s Taylor.