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What is the Internet of Things?

Tires That Send Text Messages on a Network of Everyday Objects

The Internet of Things refers to the worldwide network of connected devices and sensors that provide data to each other and their owners. From a thermostat that “reads” the weather report to sensors monitoring the fuel efficiency of a transoceanic barge, there are many useful applications for the technology.

A fully realized Internet of Things requires smart devices capable of broadcasting data, a network on which to carry and store it, and powerful analytics software to gain insights. Companies are hard at work preparing this infrastructure, as technology research firm Gartner predicts that 25 billion “things” will be connected to the IoT by 2020.[i]

The amount of information generated by smart devices and machine sensors can be staggering – far beyond the capability of analysts to decipher on their own. In addition, data from different sources is often delivered in conflicting formats. In order for the IoT to be useful, data integration and business analytics applications must prepare the information for review.

[i] Gartner Press Release, “ Gartner Says By 2020, a Quarter Billion Connected Vehicles Will Enable New In-Vehicle Services and Automated Driving Capabilities", January 26, 2015.

Saving Time and Money Through Real-time Insights

The Internet of Things promises to help consumers and businesses in two ways. The first benefit is continuous insight into the performance of appliances and machinery. For example, your car might send a text message to tell you the tire pressure is low.

The second goal uses the stream of information to discover meaningful patterns. This type of analysis aims to identify common signs that indicate a component is about to fail. An analytics program may notice that a cruise ship engine becomes less efficient several weeks before it breaks down. Performance insights can help companies prepare maintenance plans and save money – after all, it’s much easier to service a ship when it’s in port as opposed to drifting on the Pacific Ocean. See how Caterpillar did this.

Whether your company is responsible for the devices, network or software, the Internet of Things will demand innovations to function at its full potential. Smaller semiconductors, faster cloud servers and intuitive software are all part of the equation.

Analysts are bullish on the financial benefits awaiting businesses involved in building and improving the Internet of Things. Gartner forecasts that by the year 2020, product and service providers will have generated $300 billion in incremental revenue from their Internet of Things initiatives.[i] 

Pentaho and the Internet of Things go hand-in-hand. Pentaho Data Integration seamlessly blends machine-generated data with other elements of your IT system. Broad support for Hadoop distributions, NoSQL stores and additional database technologies enables PDI to deliver clean data wherever you need it. The full Pentaho Business Analytics solution organizes and models IoT data for end users. The complexity of the network is kept out of view so you can discover insights that matter.

[i] Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Says the Internet of Things Installed Base Will Grow to 26 Billion Units By 2020", December 12, 2013.

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