A Day in the Connected Life of the Internet of Things

Applications have become the lifeblood of today’s businesses. Gone are the days when you had to pay bills by mail, or walk inside a bank branch to transfer money. And hailing a rideshare requires just a few taps or swipes on your mobile phone or smart watch.

My Experience with IoT

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I experienced firsthand how the Internet of Things is impacting our daily lives in ways most people don’t imagine.

My day started with a short walk to the AppDynamics office. On the way I stopped at a famous restaurant chain to grab breakfast. I soon realised I couldn’t get my order quickly, as there was a long queue of people waiting to be served.

Not a great start to my day, I thought.

Then I noticed a timesaver—a kiosk where I could place my order. I used it to bypass the queue, and within a few minutes I had received my croissant and smoothie. Nice!

This is just a simple example of how connected devices in retail can enhance the customer experience. Of course, the global potential of IoT is far greater.

IoT is Everywhere

At home we rely on virtual assistants to interact with a multitude of connected devices, such as smart bulbs, robot vacuums, security cameras, door locks, thermostats, electric roof windows, and blinds and shutters to create a healthier indoor environment. But the smart home is just one of a vast variety of IoT use cases. Take kiosks, for instance. We use airport kiosks to check in and drop off our luggage. Movie theatre kiosks allow us to easily pick up tickets we’ve bought online.

The list of connected devices making our lives easier grows longer each day. Popular and emerging IoT use cases include:

  • Smart cities using IoT sensors to collect data, combined with advanced monitoring and analytics to enhance government services
  • Smart grids—utility companies leveraging IoT technology to improve power quality and reliability issues, as well as customer interaction
  • Industrial IoT—bringing automation to the factory floor; leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), cloud computing, and self-optimizing equipment and facilities
  • Connected cars sharing data with other devices inside and outside the vehicle—including other vehicles on the road
  • Connected health with telemedicine and remote assistance
  • Smart supply chains delivering IoT-driven operational efficiencies, including improved asset tracking, forecasting, and fleet and inventory management
  • Smart farming to enable precision agriculture
  • Smart retail—better inventory management, predictive equipment maintenance, customer interaction, and more

Almost 31 Billion Devices by Next Year

The number of connected devices worldwide has soared in recent years—from 15.4 billion in 2015 to 26.6 billion this year. In 2020, that number is expected to reach nearly 31 billion. Global spending on the Internet of Things will reach $745 billion in 2019, a 15.4% increase over $646 billion in 2018, IDC estimates, with IoT spending topping $1 trillion in 2022.

But for IT operations, the Internet of Things brings a new set of concerns. Transmitting massive volumes of data collected from an ever-growing number of connected devices—and then storing and processing this data in the cloud—can lead to high bandwidth usage and increased costs. And while edge computing, which occurs at or near the source of the data rather than back at the datacenter, can help mitigate these issues, businesses must gain visibility into applications running on IoT devices, regardless of their physical location.

A related concern, according to a recent Gartner report, is that infrastructure and operations teams may be unable to use tools designed to monitor traditional applications, networks and systems in their IoT ecosystems.

New Tools for IoT

AppDynamics IoT monitoring extends visibility to connected device applications, delivering performance diagnostics and usage analytics that enable IT teams to better understand and resolve IoT performance issues.

By providing insights into device and user behaviour, AppDynamics not only helps validate business outcomes, but also enables you to understand how application performance impacts your business. It provides end-to-end visibility—from connected devices and applications to backend services in the private, public or hybrid cloud, and even in serverless environments.

AppDynamics IoT monitoring allows business to determine which KPIs to measure in relation to device type and hardware/firmware version, and lets developers decide when, where and how to collect data from IoT devices, including those on the edge.

IoT Monitoring Use Cases

Here are ways that AppDynamics can help businesses with kiosk and point-of-sale (POS) applications:

Edge Performance Management
Gauge device health by monitoring errors, network requests, and usage—all while extending and correlating business transactions to edge devices and ensuring a smooth registration and hand-off.

Release Validation
Release newer versions of software and compare business KPIs to ensure the edge is always up to date.

Device and User Segmentation
Gain visibility into specific devices, platforms, data and users to ensure a consistent user experience across your entire ecosystem.

AppDynamics also monitors many business KPIs, including:

  • Conversion rate
  • Average transaction value
  • Device uptime
  • Sell through
  • Sales count

 

The AppDynamics Device Dashboard (below) allows you to monitor important KPIs, device status, and custom device application information. You can use filters to drill down to view metrics for a specific device.

AppDynamics also monitors other important information, such as:

  • Device ID
  • Firmware version
  • Software version
  • Event type
  • Errors by type

 

The Network Requests Dashboard lets you view outgoing network requests and details, and helps you analyse network request metrics.

The Errors Dashboard enables you to view crashes, exceptions, and custom errors, both fatal and non-fatal. You can view details for a specific error event and download the stack trace for debugging.

Today, POS and kiosks are the first line of revenue for many companies in retail, travel, financial and other industries. Learn how AppDynamics IoT monitoring can improve your operational efficiency and enhance your customers’ experience!

Internet of Things: The 3 Whys of IoT

Businesses are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables them to get closer to their users by delivering services right to the edge—think sensors on a remote oil pipeline, or the smartwatch or fitness band on your wrist—for a better customer experience. The number of IoT-connected devices worldwide is expected to nearly triple in just six years, from 26.66 billion today to 75.44 billion in 2025.

This explosive growth will continue for the foreseeable future, too, as surging demand for connected-IoT hardware expands across consumer, business and industrial markets. According to ReportLinker, a French market research firm, Europe by 2020 will be the global leader in terms of IoT usage, accounting for 36% of all connections, followed by the Americas at 28%.

Why IoT is Complex

Although the Internet of Things delivers tangible benefits, the ROI, integration and management of this burgeoning ecosystem is not only complex, it also can be a barrier to market growth, services adoption and organisational change. Edge devices contain a wealth of information, but too often they’re seen as a black box and are underutilized. When performance problems occur, businesses lack diagnostic tools for real-time visibility. And while edge devices deliver a critical avenue of interaction with customers, they often require a large initial investment and a lengthy, uncertain ROI.

Why AppDynamics for IoT

Cisco and AppDynamics understand the IoT is a crucial strategy for many businesses. We seek to help drive your digital transformation efforts by demystifying IoT services. Digital transformation is about simplifying the customer experience, an effort involving significant investment and greater backend complexity and distribution, including more dependencies and an exponential impact on scale. The question therein lies: How can this complexity be understood?

Here’s where AppDynamics helps some of the world’s largest enterprises understand their customer interaction. The only constant is what customers do. Every touch or click sets off a transaction with the potential to initiate thousands of lines of code, and trigger hundreds of API calls that connect tens of hundreds of interconnected microservices, each residing in a different location and leveraging multiple container-clustering technologies.

With AppDynamics, you can unlock the value of IoT by following the Business Journey from start to finish, understanding the behaviour of embedded application devices, networks and users. By harnessing real-time visibility and end-to-end monitoring for edge devices and gateways with business correlation, you can better understand device performance, communication, and interaction—both in capturing data and diagnosing how business objectives are impacted.


End-to-end visibility, from IoT device to backend.

Typical IoT use cases include:

  • Edge Performance Monitoring: Monitor the health of devices with critical metrics such as errors, network requests and usage, whilst correlating this data with business performance indicators.
  • Device and User Segmentation: Gain insight into specific devices, platforms, data and users to ensure a consistent user experience across all segments.
  • Release Validation: Obtain empirical evidence of how a software release impacts not only performance, but also the business.
  • SLA Compliance: Ensure devices are compliant. Send the right data on time, consistently and to the correct endpoints.

At AppDynamics, we don’t just make the IoT comprehendible, we go one step further and correlate insights collected from IoT endpoints with business-relevant data to provide context. This helps organisations:

  • Drive down operational cost
  • Reduce downtime by offering remote diagnostics
  • Increase operational efficiency and insight by knowing what IoT devices are in use, and what data is being sent, how often, and when

Why IoT is Important Now

The accurate market perception of IoT is that it’s a necessity—a key component of digital transformation. Whether a business is looking to reimagine the ways it interacts with customers, or is moving from one business model to another, the IoT is usually a core part of that transformation. Whether a customer is an automobile manufacturer, a bank, a credit card processing intermediary, an industrial robot manufacturer, or a retailer with POS devices, the IoT is present.

Every business is looking at how the IoT can be leveraged, introducing new levels of complexity to an already intricate ecosystem. It’s estimated that 50 billion devices will be online by 2020, whereas only 0.06% of all devices are actually being leveraged as connected devices, according to Cisco. With the Internet of Things at the epicentre of most organisations’ digital transformation strategies, the IoT represents an enormous investment from the business, with equal levels of opportunity.

Bain predicts the IoT market will more than double between 2017 and 2021—from $235B to a staggering $520B. There are, of course, barriers that limit the adoption of IoT analytics solutions, including market competition. But putting that to one side, all vendors will experience similar limitations with IoT adoption, including security issues, integration with existing technology, and uncertain ROI, Bain forecasts.

AppDynamics offers many advantages here. Consider return on IoT investment: AppDynamics’ BusinessIQ makes this determination far easier by correlating the performance of IoT services with business performance indicators, carving a realistic route to ROI.

When it comes to IT/OT integration and security, Cisco provides best-in-class solutions. And as part of Cisco’s portfolio, AppDynamics can deliver a cohesive IoT solution to our joint customer base.

Learn how AppDynamics IoT monitoring can provide real-time visibility, diagnostics, and analytics for your connected device applications.

Internet of Things: From Buzz to Billions

Initially introduced as a solution for enterprises looking to solve issues with industrial grade switches and gateways, the IoT is rapidly becoming a vast, global system of interrelated devices designed to address economic, environmental and societal challenges.

From smart water solutions that leverage performance sensors to measure water use and quality, to devices that monitor robotic arms on manufacturing floors, the IoT is everywhere. Edge computing and IoT are dictating how enterprises, government agencies, hospitals, plant floors and even farms are doing business.

Accenture forecasts the industrial IoT market will top $123 billion by 2021, and McKinsey predicts the IoT ecosystem will eventually be worth $581 billion for information and communication technology (ICT)-based spending.

Since its introduction, one critical component of the IoT has changed: products no longer exist in isolation. New technologies enable products and services to interact and learn from one another, bringing added complexity to backend infrastructures. As a result, enterprises are looking for a tool (not a toolbox) to help monitor, manage and monetize their IoT investment.

According to a recent consumer survey by CSG, end users are embracing connected devices and IoT technology in their daily lives. The majority of respondents (60%) said the IoT’s greatest appeal is its potential to make their lives easier. And with the rapid growth of the IoT market, new applications are reaching home, office and city environments, making it more important than ever for businesses to ensure optimal application performance.

But there is a strong need for help in solving critical application issues on the edge—problems of great concern to end users. A 2018 survey of U.S. consumers by security firm F-Secure found that 66% of respondents have delayed purchasing IoT home devices due to privacy or security concerns.

Indeed, the IoT revolution is already underway. The question is, are you ready?

Preparing for IoT

The goal for successful IoT deployment is to create the ultimate customer experience for end users. The AppDynamics purpose-built IoT SDK puts enterprises in the driver’s seat. Developers decide when, where and how often data is sent, and the business side determines which KPIs to measure in relation to device type, hardware and firmware version. Sometimes an agent isn’t the answer; smart devices and sensors have CPU, memory and consumption limitations, so being able to control data behavior is a great strength of the AppDynamics IoT SDK.

Not sure if your customers or prospects have an IoT play? Remember, just like every business has become a software business, every business will become an IoT business. Traffic lights, parking meters, irrigation systems, smart buildings, connected banks, factories, railways and bathrooms…believe me, I could go on and on.

Learn how AppDynamics IoT monitoring can help you secure your share of the growing Internet of Things market!

Top Takeaways from KubeCon + CloudNativeCon

The Emerald City played host to the North American edition of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018, bringing together technologists eager to share their knowledge of Kubernetes and Cloud Native topics. The event, hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), sold out over a month before it opened, a strong sign of growing interest in all things cloud.

The figurative 800-pound gorilla at the conference was, of course, Kubernetes (written shorthand as K8s). Perhaps to soften K8s’ reputation for complexity, Phippy the yellow giraffe and her animated friends were on hand to join the CNCF. Popularized by Matt Butcher’s and Karen Chu’s “The Illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes,” Phippy was brought onboard to help developers explain resource management in distributed Cloud Native applications to friends, family and whoever else will listen.

The Omnipresent Cloud

Cloud computing continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and with the rise of IoT and edge computing, the cloud is showing up everywhere. Thanks to the hard work spearheaded by the CNCF, cloud-optimized platforms—everything from public cloud infrastructure to a secure private cloud in a datacenter—are now open to a broader range of workloads. You may be interacting with a Cloud Native workload right now, in fact. From your car acting as an edge cloud (or node)—making sure you arrive safely and timely to your destination—to the infrastructure powering this blog, the cloud is ubiquitous and evolving.

Projects Charging Forward

As noted by Aqua Security technology evangelist Liz Rice in her keynote, the CNCF has seen tremendous growth in recent years with the number of projects, with this year’s Seattle attendance more than doubling the 2017 turnout in Austin. Key projects are advancing, too. Envoy, which provides a scalable service mesh for communications between microservices and components, and Prometheus, an open-source systems monitoring and alerting toolkit, became graduated projects this year, joining Kubernetes at the CNCF’s highest maturity level. In addition, a year-over-year comparison of the CNCF Landscape (an interactive guide of Cloud Native technologies), shows more icons being squeezed onto a single webpage—a good indication of more CNCF projects and vendors being brought onboard.

If Kubernetes is Happy, Are You?

The Kubernetes Web UI can give you a quick view of cluster health. And if you don’t see any red on the dashboard, all’s right with the world…right? Not necessarily. Cluster health only tells part of the story. Kubernetes is designed to be generic for a wider swath of workload placement. Applications that hog cluster infrastructure by triggering an autoscaler can go unnoticed until the cluster limits are reached. Advancements like Operators can help make Kubernetes more application-specific, but too often the end-to-end picture of the user journey is incomplete. AppDynamics can add value in monitoring both the Kubernetes platform and workloads placed on Kubernetes clusters. The efficiency and health of your Kubernetes platform, and the complete picture of the user journey—which can transverse Kubernetes and non-Kubernetes workloads—can be monitored with AppDynamics.

Focus on Your Customers

With technology changing so rapidly, it’s easy to feel left behind if you’re not adopting the latest stack. At the conference, Aparna Sinha, Google’s Product Manager for Kubernetes, gave an excellent interview on trends and capabilities of Kubernetes and KNative. A lot of what is driving this rapid change is direct feedback from Google’s customers.

Organizations of all sizes are striving to strengthen the customer experience, but often it’s challenging to justify technology infrastructure to meet business or customer outcomes. AppDynamics is the premier platform for monitoring and enhancing the user journey across your Cloud Native applications. We’re continuing to expand our level of automation in orchestrators such as Kubernetes and Mesos, and we’re working to enable these platforms to take truly autonomous actions to enhance the user experience.

AIOps: Decision Center for Orchestrators

AIOps is one of those buzzwords that seems to be everywhere these days, and for good reason. The power that AIOps brings is its ability to guide orchestrators to act by analyzing and hypothesizing outcomes. Kubernetes and other orchestrators like Mesos and Nomad are very good at action (e.g., triggering a scaling event). Where they fall short, though, is in analyzation because, again, they are trying to capture a wide swatch of workloads. The worst case scenario is that an autoscaler keeps getting triggered within a cluster—perhaps due to run-of-the-mill memory pressure or network saturation—and the resource manager can’t place work anymore, leading to a queue of unfulfilled requests. Depending on the organization, a frantic Slack to an SRE would not be far behind.

With AIOps, this event could be avoided: the system could spot the trend and redeploy a version of the application and application infrastructure better suited to the load. Coupled with the power of Cisco’s stack, AIOps-infused AppDynamics will soon be more resilient without operator intervention.

Better Together

AppDynamics was excited to partner with Cisco at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon to run joint sessions on Cisco Cloud Center and the AppDynamics platform. We’re increasing our cross-pollination with Cisco Container Platform and Cisco Cloud to monitoring and manage the next generation of workloads, too.


Ravi Lachhman, in Cisco’s booth, gives a presentation on Cloud Native infrastructure.

If the pace of Cloud Native innovation keeps up with CNCF expansion, next year is certainly going to be exciting. AppDynamics and Cisco are the engine that helps combine technical decisions with business outcomes. Be sure to sign up for and watch Cisco’s Cloud Unfiltered Podcast, which includes interviews with the key technologists moving cloud workloads forward.

See You in SD!

We’re excited to see what next year has in store for the CNCF and Cloud Native workloads. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2019 will take place in sunny San Diego, and we hope to see you there. Don’t forget to fire up your favorite learning platforms such as Katacoda and Cisco DevNet to sharpen your Cloud Native skills. See you in San Diego!

Conversational Technology: Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the Google Assistant

One of the big laughs from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where the crew from the future travels back in time to 1986 San Francisco, happens when Scotty is put in front of a PC and the chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise speaks into the mouse, “Hello, computer.”

In the 30+ years since that film came out, society has undergone a digital transformation. Now the average half-asleep user can roll over in bed and call out from under a pillow, “Hey Siri, start the coffee.”

The dawn of the Internet of Things (IoT) brings your daily environment alive with smart home and smart office devices. However, it’s up to innovative app developers to introduce creative controls for these devices. Here’s a look at the tools developers are using to integrate their software-defined innovations with the big four conversational platforms: Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft, and the Google Assistant from Alphabet.

The Top 4 Virtual Assistants

Siri

In 2010, Siri was one of the first functional virtual assistants, quickly acquired and branded as an essential Apple function. Siri had been built on the shell of DARPA’s Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes, or CALO. In Scandinavian languages, Siri means “beautiful victory,” and in Swahili it means “mystery” — but both could be nods at its origin in the Department of Defense. More practically, Siri’s name is also derived from its parent organization, SRI International.

Apple’s SiriKit helps developers integrate their apps into iOS and the early experiments in smart home infrastructure. Siri handles the voice-based user interactions and natural language recognition functions. It connects the app with the camera, ApplePay, VoIP calling, and other related services.

Alexa

When Amazon was developing the Echo device, it needed a wake-up word that wasn’t likely to be confused with other mentions. Tests with the name “Amazon” tended to generate responses whenever a commercial for Amazon came on TV and would start buying items at random. Alexa was chosen for the virtual assistant when it was released in 2014, but users had the option to change its name to Echo or Amazon.

Amazon has created an Alexa Skills Kit, a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples for developers who want to build onto the Alexa platform. They also offer a Smart Home Skill API for streamlined control of smart home technologies like cloud-controlled lighting systems or rooms with variable thermostat settings. This code is designed to run in the cloud, not on the Echo or the user’s mobile device.

Cortana

The same year Amazon put Alexa on the market, Microsoft demonstrated Cortana at the Build Developer Conference. In 2015, Cortana was included as part of the operating system in the Windows 10 desktop and mobile platform update. This year, Cortana will be integrated with Microsoft’s Skype. Microsoft is trying to catch up with other conversational platforms through superior personalization. Cortana’s Program Manager, Marcus Ash, said, “Millions of years of evolution tell us that relationship means personification. If you don’t put a face on it and make it emotional to people, it’s just hard to believe that people will tell us information that will make Cortana really great for them.”

Microsoft has an advantage with decades of developer research to build a comprehensive software kit. Integrating Cortana in Your Apps at the Microsoft Virtual Academy has videos, slide presentations, a free trial of Visual Studio, and various other resources for developers. It even goes into testing procedures and error handling. Unlike Siri, which only works with Apple’s iOS apps, Cortana works with common applications like Hulu Plus and Facebook.

Google Assistant

When Google, Inc. reorganized itself under a parent organization called Alphabet in 2015, it freed up the Google brand to redefine itself. While Alphabet goes on to invest in wild ideas, from humanoid robots to extending human life spans, Google is turning into a virtual assistant. In direct opposition to the other three platforms, Google’s assistant doesn’t have a female name or the illusion of a personality behind the algorithm. Google’s Jonathan Jarvis explained, “We always wanted to make it feel like you were the agent, and it was more like a superpower that you had and a tool that you used. If you create this personified assistant, that feels like a different relationship.”

The Actions on Google program has a single API that can support various Android devices including phones, tablets, and watches. It includes both Direct Actions, where the user asks for something specific, and Conversational Actions, where the user asks for something general and the Google Assistant engages in a conversation to gather all the details. Google demonstrated the Conversational Action with an Uber request, where the Assistant moderated a conversation with Uber about where the user is going and which kind of Uber service they want to take them there.

Converging Trends Driving Conversation Platforms

Though most of this tech has been available for years, 2017 should prove to be an exciting year in conversational platforms as these five trends converge:

1. Mobile Natives

The success of chat apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik are driven by an entire generation of mobile-native consumers, comfortable with messaging and interacting with their devices.

2. Language Recognition

Chatbot personalities and AI natural language processing are far more accurate than ever in understanding speech and context-aware requests.

3. Mass Personalization

Sophistication in sensors and wearable tech have made mass personalization and predictive assistance both possible and profitable.

4. Secure Online Payments

Blockchain and related online payment tech have integrated themselves seamlessly into messaging and third-party apps.

5. Always-On Interface

Notification intelligence has advanced to the point where it can reliably serve as an always-on interface layer across devices.

Best Applications for Smart Home/Smart Office

Some of the most useful applications available to users without programming experience involve Alexa recipes on If This Then That (IFTTT.com). These should inspire developers to go further.

  • Phone Finder: This connects to the iPhone Finder on iOS, but is limited if the ringer is off. For Android, you can combine recipes to turn up the volume and play music.
  • Lock the Doors: At night before they go to bed, users can direct Alex to make sure all the doors are locked.
  • Change the Lights: To make sure you get the message when a timer goes off, even if you don’t hear the alarm or are outside, Alexa can change the lighting to make sure you see it.

In the office, Microsoft projects that Cortana will be able to streamline your day at the office and make everyone more productive by discovering where time is wasted. For example, you will be able to ask Cortana who is in the office and when they are out of a meeting. Cortana will also be able to help assemble teams for collaborations, discovering who has the best skills and experience needed for each project. It will do this by culling information from emails, company documents, web searches, and software authorizations.

The big news from Google is their Google Cloud Speech API, which will be set up to handle more than 80 languages. The intent is to integrate with any application in real-time, streaming or batch mode. The API will be able to support communications from any device that can send REST or gRPC requests, including phones, PCs, cars, TVs, and other IoT devices. Google claims that this tech will be able to identify and respond to commands even in noisy environments, which could open it up to other types of work environments and public areas. Initially the API will be free, but Google plans to add tiers of paid service levels later on in development.

The future of Apple’s Siri is likely to include a standalone device to compete with Amazon Echo. Apple suggests that Siri will be able to search through images and videos to find either personal photos or an applicable YouTube video. Siri also demonstrated an ability to understand vaguely worded commands like, “Tell Nancy I’ll be five minutes late with WeChat.” A vision of what’s possible is the MapMyRun app from Under Armour. The next version will allow users to tell Siri to start, pause, and resume a workout among other functions. The built-in brand loyalty of users on iOS, OSX, and Apple HomeKit makes Siri’s growing openness particularly attractive for app developers.

The Default Interface for the IoT

Virtual assistants will have to be the average user’s primary interface with the IoT, at home or in the office. There will be at least 28 billion IoT devices by 2020, so knowing how to integrate your applications with conversational tech will be a critical skill set in the very near future. As people grow more dependent on these assistants, you’ll need more sophisticated application performance monitoring (APM) software for continuous delivery. Maximize uptime and use dynamic baselining to predict abnormal behavior patterns before they compromise performance. AppDynamics is positioned to handle what’s coming next, so make sure your innovative creations don’t get left behind.

Learn More

Learn more about IoT with this eBook, “Breaking Down the Internet of Things.”

The Internet Of Things Will Generate Terabytes Of Data. What Will We Do With All Of It?

In less than 5 years, “the Internet of Things will transform the data center,” says Gartner. This transformation is predicted to trickle across industries and affect business models, how we market products and even inspire new technology developments. With a sensor on absolutely everything – from cars and houses to your family members – it goes without saying there will be some challenges with these massive amounts of data. Furthermore, there is a lot of uncertainties associated with IoT because of this data. Is it even useful? How do we use it? And, one of the more important questions, how secure is the data in the cloud anyway? Fortunately, developing management tools to hone all of this data have helped to answer several of these questions.

Data mining for faster interactions between a smart object and its user

First, it is important to understand what data mining really means. By definition, data mining, or knowledge discovery, is the process of analyzing large sets or databases of information. To put this into perspective, imagine that you have a cabin in the mountains, and you want to put sensors in this cabin to tell you the temperature every 6 hours. Now imagine you are the owner of a vacation home renting association, and these sensors are in hundreds of homes which you are responsible for overseeing. Hundreds or even thousands of homes generating data every 6 hours. A helpful blog post describes how this information gets to be useful once you can identify patterns and trends in your data, which may help you save money or uncover an issue. Comparing values against one another at different times they are collected (or at different locations) is one way to do this. As the owner of so many vacation homes, you can gain insight into why certain cabins may be too hot or too cool to identify an issue in your heating and cooling systems before your guests complain.

Second, let’s consider “real-time.” Accessing this data in real-time will make all the difference for mission critical applications. Let’s go back to the cabin example. If your cabin is not ready for winter, wouldn’t it be great to access an alert in real-time so that you can avoid a pipe bursting? IoT applications like this require real-time data. In fact, most IoT applications are not even considered to be “IoT” unless they include some kind of mobile app or dashboard not only offering real-time data, but also real-time analytics tools. It may be noteworthy to point out that “real-time” means something different in every application. In an “Emergency! Call 9-1-1!” scenario, real-time must be instantaneous – as in less than a millisecond. While other applications, such as remote tank monitoring, may take several seconds. The level of urgency will determine how much the application developer will invest in high-speed technology (whether it be cellular 2G vs. LTE or Bluetooth vs. WiFi).

IoT is changing how we analyze data

To keep up with the IoT boom, we need to make sense of person-to-smart-object interactions as fast as possible so we can learn, adjust, and continue to add value to our connected lives. Leveraging historical IoT data is key for identifying behavior patterns that may reveal ways to save money on applications, increase efficiency, and simply make our lives easier. Being able to analyze and sort data as it is being generated is no longer a vision. Huge amounts of data will be analyzed “in the cloud” or on IoT devices as events occur. IoT businesses have to adopt trends like these to stay competitive. After all, IoT isn’t just about connecting things to the internet; it’s about generating meaningful data.

Gaining actionable insights from data

With all of the connected cars, houses, watches, health monitoring devices, trackers, etc., there will be an unfathomable amount of data on the table. Now what? Because so many things are being connected to the internet, collecting insights that guide you on your next business move are key. In fact, Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner argues, “IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time. Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges.” This is clear to everyone in IoT: Interpreting these terabytes and terabytes of data will be a nightmare. And doing it in a timely manner, dare I say it – in real-time – will be absolute hell. Businesses need tools to help them make smart business decisions with this IoT data. Doug Strick, Internet Application Admin at Garmin, admitted, “We knew we needed a tool that could constantly monitor our production environment, allowing us to collect historical data and trend performance over time. Also, we needed something that would give us a better view of what was going on inside the application at the code level.” Garmin is definitely not the only business out there with these needs.

Just looking at all of the data being generated from one application can be overwhelming. The daunting task of analyzing this data could take anywhere from days to weeks. Even worse, many people are stuck with tools that are cumbersome to use. This not only slows down business, but it opens the door to potential pitfalls and issues. So the questions remain, how do we relate business to performance, and how do we get that answer in a timely manner? There are some tools that exist today. For example, AppDynamics offers an analytics platform that allows users to take data from their IoT applications and manipulate it — in real time — to produce visualizations and reports. The ability to go from raw data to useful business data, and to produce a report in less than 5 minutes completely eliminates the time-consuming process of data analysis.

Being in IoT is a race, not a marathon!

That might sound backwards, but anyone in the IoT space would agree – it’s a race to productization and deployment. Understanding data and applying it to your business can take careful planning and time that you likely don’t have. Businesses are preparing themselves for the reality of IoT – or catching up to the competition who are already working with IoT driven data. That preparation will include an investment in data management tools to make the most of an IoT strategy. Harbor Research predicts that if you have connected products with no long-term data services strategy, then “you’re in the Pervasive Internet of Things booster rocket… when the booster runs out of fuel (product-centric profits), you’ll fall back to Earth. And that’s going to hurt.” Learn more about how IoT is changing how we live and take care of business, check out my previous blog post. Next time we will discuss how the Internet of Things is enhancing experiences everyday in smart cities. Stay tuned!

Internet of Things (IoT): Changing how we live and take care of business

Harvard Business Review published a blog about the Internet of Things (IoT) and markets where IoT has grown strong. Blog author, Simona Jankowski, wrote, “IoT is expected to connect 28 billion “things” to the internet by 2020, ranging from wearable devices such as smartwatches to automobiles, appliances, and industrial equipment.” That kind of development is enough to spur an evolution in how we live on a daily basis.

As of today, we are already quite connected. You can go for a run wearing your fitness tracker to record your endurance, heart rate, and overall activity. When you get home, your house leverages historical data combined with your preset preferences, to automatically adjust the temperature and get the shower going for you. Your shower shuts off, notifying your coffee maker to start brewing and you’re almost ready for your day – all thanks to recent innovations in IoT, but it doesn’t stop there. You drive to work, and your IoT-enabled dashboard in your car notifies you of some bad traffic up ahead, and directs you through an alternative route.

Enjoying how effortless some of life’s menial tasks have become, enables you to move faster in your day-to-day activities and focus on other tasks at your job. The best part is that these devices don’t require you to do much of anything at all. In fact, you may become so dependent on these, that you forget your old ways of doing things. Now, you’re more aware of your health, you live more comfortably, and you get to work a little bit sooner than you used to.

The real value of living with IoT comes from what you can share with others. Data sharing has expanded the possibilities of ways to connect with people. Not only do you get data on how much energy you save with your smart home, but you can also compare how much you save to your friends and neighbors. For businesses, data sharing opens the door to even more ways to monetize the Internet of Things.

Big Data is a buzzword thrown around a lot over the past few years. With the billions of devices that have been predicted to become connected, Big Data is about to get really, really big. “According to computer giant IBM,” as reported by the BCC, “2.5 exabytes – that’s 2.5 billion gigabytes – of data was generated every day in 2012.” For enterprise businesses, this could mean identifying ways to optimize services, cut costs, or even create new services. Take the idea of the Smart City as an example. Existing IoT companies focused on data analytics, hardware, and software are partnering to address this idea, working together to create smarter cities. Imagine if your city could give you status updates on traffic patterns, pollution, parking spaces, water, power, and light – all in real time. Access to that data could improve the economic and environmental health of the city for its entire community. Making connections, and making sense of data generated from those connections, will continue to drive these ideas not just for smart cities, but also for the utilities industry, fleet and automotive, remote monitoring for industrial plants, and so much more.

Most developers, either independent or for an enterprise business, know that monitoring these devices is crucial to ensure optimal performance of your application. With IoT specifically, leveraging third-party APIs will add to the complexity of your environment, making end-to-end visibility extremely vital. Take some advice from experienced developer, Ian Murphy. Murphy writes about the top 5 questions you should ask before using a third-party API. Among these questions, he answers on topics you must think about such as latency and uptime, as well as longevity of support for that API. There are a few other undesirable outcomes from using third party APIs, including poor user experience. Be sure to be thoughtful and thorough to make the most of your connected devices.

The Harvard Business Review concludes that those who “make the connections possible and to process the vast amounts of data” will be the real winners of IoT. However, the real winners of IoT are everyday users and adopters. The more the Internet of Things becomes more accessible to consumers, or the average Joe, the bigger its value will become. The interconnectedness of all ‘things’ will increase the complexity of application environments and introduce terabits on terabits of new data.

Stay connected by subscribing to the blog in the upper right to receive the next discussion on the trends of new IoT management technologies to help make sense of data generated by IoT.