There’s been a lot of hype around the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT). Organizations are certainly hearing the message that there are more devices connected, more users utilizing cloud-based resources and a new data-on-demand generation requiring constant connectivity. The world and how we connect with it is constantly changing. This also means incorporating once dormant electronics with the cloud. This is the concept behind IoT: complete interconnection on an intelligent cloud platform.
At the recent Cisco Partner Exchange, an interesting topic was brought up: cloud-connected recycle bins. Not just the bins, but the trucks as well. This created a highly efficient waste management system with very little overhead and direct impact on the company’s bottom line. Trucks knew which were full, which could be dynamically rerouted, and which bins needed to be emptied. Suddenly, these “things” that were never cloud facing are now creating direct business efficiencies.
There are other advancements as well. For example, Tesla already supports HTML5 on their center console. Soon, these kinds of capabilities will expand to even more interconnected IoT end-points. Sounds cool right? But what does that mean for your business? How does that impact your organizational model? Ultimately, how can a major organization prepare its own infrastructure for so many interconnected things?
- Creating a new business and cloud plan. Accept the fact that the world will become completely interconnected and you’re on your way to creating a next-generation business plan. Leaders in the enterprise world are the ones that listen to their end-users, keep pace with their own technological capabilities, and always innovate. Understand that more devices and end-points will be coming online. Know that the way a user process information will continue to change and evolve. Finally, create an aligned technology and business vision that can take you 5 to even 10 years out.
- Incorporating logical optimizations. There are so many ways outside of adding hardware to improve your IT infrastructure. Logical optimizations like allowing VMs to utilize RAM as a storage repository allow you to conserve resources and optimize your entire environment. The great piece here is that you begin to abstract physical resources and allow them to go to the application which needs them the most. In the future this could be applied to a number of different use-cases spanning devices, users and locations.
- Integrating automation. With so many new things connecting into your data center, management and control operations must become more efficient. This is where automation through policies and virtual services can really help. Right now, entire physical platforms can be dynamical re-provisioned to allow a new set of users to come online from a completely different time zone. Or, an intelligent load-balancing service automatically points incoming users to a new data center when a primary location has reached maximum connections. The point here is that the admin can now perform proactive tasks to keep your business running optimally.
- Working around a new type of user and device. In a few years it’ll be common for household appliances and other various everyday devices to connect into a cloud environment and process information. Throughout all of this the user will continue to evolve and change their methods of consuming data. The challenge will be for the business to keep up. One way to be ready is to create a business and IT environment that is capable of dynamic change.
- New methodologies around security. There is absolutely no doubt that security will continue to play a huge role around IoT technologies. Next-generation security solutions are already gearing up for a number of new types of connections, devices, and services which are being pushed through the modern data center. New types of virtual security appliances can be dynamically provisioned throughout a data center to support very specific services like IPS/IDS, DLP and even application firewall deployments. These new security features can span from a private data center all the way to a pubic cloud and everywhere in between. Remember, no security platform is ever 100%. The best way to stay secure in an IoT world is to be proactive, constantly test your own systems, and incorporate data and device security best practices whenever possible.
The number of devices coming online every year is very impressive. In June, Cisco released their Visual Networking Index report which helped paint a clear picture to the truly emerging IoT trend.
- The number of devices connected to IP networks will be nearly twice as high as the global population in 2018. There will be nearly three networked devices per capita by 2018, up from nearly two networked devices per capita in 2013. Accelerated in part by the increase in devices and the capabilities of those devices, IP traffic per capita will reach 17 GB per capita by 2018, up from 7 GB per capita in 2013.
- Globally, mobile data traffic will increase 11-fold between 2013 and 2018. Mobile data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 61 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching 15.9 exabytes per month by 2018.
- Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2018. By 2018, wired devices will account for 39 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 61 percent of IP traffic. In 2013, wired devices accounted for the majority of IP traffic at 56 percent.
- Global Internet traffic in 2018 will be equivalent to 64 times the volume of the entire global Internet in 2005. Globally, Internet traffic will reach 14 gigabytes (GB) per capita by 2018, up from 5 GB per capita in 2013.
The term “IoT” does have a lot of marketing and hype around it. And yes, some organizations are still confused by what it really means to them. However, it’s important to understand that IoT will impact users, organizations, and how we communicate with everyday devices in general. The home is becoming more interconnected - your car can stream Pandora radio, your recycling bin is letting you know it’s full, and your refrigerator just placed an order for milk and eggs. Over the next couple of years our world is going to get a lot more interconnected.