The Internet of Things (IoT) is made up of a network of smart devices and sensors that can be used in everything from medical equipment, drones, and handheld tools to autonomous vehicles, cargo, and industrial machinery. The data they collect (such as patient health data, industrial pressure and temperature readings, moisture levels, location, and more) may be aggregated, cleaned, and analyzed using big data tools. These tools use machine learning and AI to extract insights and trends from large data sets that can help guide decision-making, improve processes, lower costs, optimize resource allocation, and enhance productivity.
There are tens, if not hundreds, of billions of connected devices in the global IoT network. Big data analytics tools and platforms take unstructured data collected by these devices and organize it to inform business and organizational decision-making. Business leaders in a wide range of industries may draw value from the insight-driven decision-making and efficiency that IoT devices and big data tools enable.
The Value of Big Data Within IoT
IoT and big data are no longer the nice-to-haves they once were. The explosive growth of smart devices deployed in the field and the power of connected solutions have made them a must-have, and they are transforming industries as disparate as education, healthcare, supply chain, and manufacturing. IoT and big data may have evolved somewhat independently, but they have become increasingly interrelated over time.
In the insightful words of Andrew McAfee, the world is one big data problem. Consider the following:
- The big data space is estimated to be worth $64 billion, an almost tenfold increase since 2011.
- Trillions of gigabytes need analysis on an annual basis.
- A recent Accenture study found that almost 90% of companies surveyed consider data to be an asset for their organization, but too many companies (over 35%) do not fully leverage the data they have. With the right big data and IoT tools, this data can be turned into a competitive advantage.
The IoT Big Data Process Flow
The first step in the IoT data flow is IoT devices and sensors generating or recording influxes of unstructured data.
Next, this data is transmitted to a distributed database (sometimes called a data lake) where it can be analyzed using tools such as Hadoop MapReduce or Spark.
User-friendly reports can then be generated to guide business decision-making.
Much of the information in data lakes is unstructured and collected from the Internet, however, and many business and industrial processes must perform the real-time analysis needed to guide proactive or reactive decision-making to capture its value.
These actionable insights must be generated quickly, which is why the IoT systems and the big data processing platforms you use must be designed to handle the type and scope of data you collect or generate to give you the edge you need. When done correctly, you can efficiently examine vast volumes of data to reveal trends, identify patterns, and uncover unexpected correlations.
Benefits and Use Cases
Here are a few examples of how you can leverage the power of IoT devices and a performant big data solution in different industries.
- Improve ROI by extracting insights from your data to improve business processes.
- For healthcare, predict patient needs, improve patient monitoring, and redesign how you provision services such as telemedicine. Kajeet offers robust, secure IoT connectivity solutions for healthcare.
- Avoid manufacturing downtime with predictive maintenance and advance ordering of replacement parts. Reduce the total cost of ownership by reducing inventory and warehousing costs associated with machinery and materials.
- Automate simple tasks such as customer support.
- Improve tracking, supply chain, logistics, and scheduling using GPS sensors and RFID tags. These innovations can help reduce storage/warehousing costs, optimize delivery routes, and improve customer experiences.
- Serve custom or targeted ads and generate better recommendations. Think of sending ads regarding sales or store timings to customers in a certain geographical area based on their shopping or browsing history.
- Improve crowd management at, for example, theme parks, to reduce wait times.
- Enable smart fleet management, such as the connected vehicle solutions offered by Kajeet.
- Implement air quality measurement to fight pollution, as has been done by New York City and many other metropolitan areas.
- In sports, gather detailed athlete information before, during, and after competitions or performances, mitigate the risks of injuries, anticipate future performance, and enhance player longevity.
- In aviation, detect mechanical issues, avoid delays, keep passengers safe, monitor baggage movement, and measure and control cabin pressure, temperature, and humidity levels.
Small changes, even one as small as a 1% change in the volume of an end product (the Hershey company famously saved $500,000 by making such a change in their candy-making facility), can lead to significant savings over the long run.
Moving Forward with a Solution
Before implementing an IoT-driven smart solution for your business, you must consider whether, where, and how you can potentially use interconnectivity solutions, data, and business or customer metrics to enhance organizational performance. Take time to identify your goals, which may be anything from lower customer wait times to faster ordering processes or lower inventory or storage costs. Next, you must evaluate your current IT infrastructure and devise a plan for adapting those systems to the needs and requirements of the high-volume, real-time processing needs of smart IoT devices and the big data platforms that they work with.
As such, big data and IoT programs are more than just an IT issue; they are ultimately business decisions that require an understanding of your current capabilities and future needs. However, businesses and end-users can greatly benefit from IoT and big data implementations when they are done right. Businesses can improve profitability and productivity while reducing costs, and customers and end-users can enjoy more relevant information, real-time recommendations, and useful guidance for everything from where to eat or where to go to how to save time or find better alternatives.
To learn more about how Kajeet enables IoT solutions across a variety of industries, and to get started with a program that is right for you, contact a Kajeet Solutions Specialist.