The era of IoT, or the Internet of Things, is upon us. In a January 2017 report, Gartner estimates 8.4 billion connected products will be in use this year. This is up 31 percent from 2016, and it is only set to grow. The consumer segment represents almost two-thirds of the overall apps in use (5.1 billion units).
The same study estimates that the future of business IoT—to the tune of 4.4 billion units by 2020—lies in cross-industry connectivity (think not just smart meters, but smart buildings, where lighting, security and HVAC systems interact). Business IoT in 2017 will drive almost $1 trillion in spending on hardware alone ($725 billion in the consumer segment), and both are set to top $3 trillion by 2020.
Where IoT and Big Data Will Grow
A 2015 McKinsey study breaks the IoT and big data growth into the following nine areas that span consumer, business, and public sector applications:
- Human. This is related to all things wellness, and includes wearables and ingestibles.
- Home. Think home security and management systems.
- Retail Environments. This encompasses anywhere that consumers make purchases, including restaurants, arenas, banks, and stores. Applications include in-store engagement, inventory management, and self-checkout.
- Offices. This area focuses on energy and security management of office buildings, as well as productivity improvements.
- Factories. This includes anywhere with repetitive work routines, including farms and hospitals, with applications focused on optimization, operating efficiencies, and inventory control.
- Worksites. Again, operating efficiencies (along with predictive maintenance and safety) are key here in this area of mining, oil and gas, and construction.
- Vehicles. This area includes aircraft, boats, and truck fleets. IoT will focus on design, maintenance, and operational efficiencies.
- Cities. Think urban environment infrastructure such as traffic control and resource management.
- Outside. This pertains to logistics, routing and navigation that happen in non-urban settings.
Overall, the economic impact of these areas is estimated to grow to $11.1 trillion by 2025.
We Have the Data… Now We Just Have to Use It
What do all these products, sensors, devices, and “things” ultimately mean? Data. And lots of it. International Data Corporation (IDC) market research estimates that IoT devices will create 40,000 exabytes of data by 2020. To keep this in perspective, in the year 2000, three exabytes of information were created globally. Total.
Still, most IoT big data is not used. The same McKinsey study cites an oil rig that only utilizes 1% of information from 30,000 sensors as an endemic example. Part of the reason is that firms use sensor data only for quality assurance purposes, and not for optimization or prediction. The biggest reason IoT and big data fail to be utilized, however, is lack of interoperability. Business computer systems—both hardware and software—aren’t made to exchange or process the vast amounts of complex information pulled from sensors.
Trifacta Is IoT Interoperability at Scale
Trifacta knows IoT isn’t just about collecting information. To harness the value of IoT and big data—and deliver innovation-driving insights—firms must quickly and expertly prepare and merge disparate, unstructured data.
This is why Trifacta is being used across industries to get the most out of IoT and big data. In retail, Trifacta helps join in-store movements with POS data to better personalize recommendations. Trifacta applies its data wrangling technology to transportation by culling and merging truck fleet sensor data to optimize routes, reduce emissions, and monitor driver behavior. It also combines countless multi-structured data logs with traditional data to hasten product development and improve an assets lifetime in factory settings.
With Trifacta, the universe of IoT and big data no longer overwhelms. Sensor data becomes the key to innovation, not an impediment to it.