The Internet of Things and Big Data are two of the most impactful technologies today. Although they represent different concepts, they can be used complementarily to improve products and services in various industries. This article covers the symbiotic relationship of IoT and Big Data and elaborates five compelling examples of the technologies working together.
IoT and Big Data have been buzzwords in the tech world for some time now. Thanks to rapid improvements, use cases have multiplied, making both technologies increasingly essential for today's organizations. IoT has dazzled businesses and individuals alike by showing what "things" can accomplish if they band together. Meanwhile, Big Data analytics has become a crucial strategic requirement for forward-looking companies to maximize returns and minimize costs.
With 46 billion connected devices
, the Internet of Things is a significant technological advancement. IoT has applications in virtually every industry, from agriculture to factory automation, to consumer retail, all of which involve collecting tremendous amounts of data. However, IoT data is only as valuable as the analyses that can be derived from it.
By incorporating Big Data analytics, IoT solutions can go from merely revealing the current status to offering detailed insights about the past, present, and future of a process or event.
How Can IoT and Big Data Work Together?
The Internet of Things and Big Data are different technical fields. IoT describes an intricate web of decentralized devices that collect real-time event and condition data and transmit it over an internet connection. On the other hand, Big Data entails massive volumes of information gathered from numerous different types of digital sources. Analysts estimate the digital universe currently has more than 44 zettabytes
(352 trillion gigabytes) of data, most of which has been created over the past two years.
The main purpose of IoT solutions is to offer real-time, continuous monitoring and control. For example, a driverless car uses connected devices to monitor surroundings and initiate the proper responses to remain safely on the road and complete its journey. In this case, information is not accumulated for bulk analysis. Instead, if sensor data points to a potential accident, the car must interpret that information without delay and instantaneously trigger the appropriate response.
Nevertheless, although IoT largely focuses on real-time data collection and processing, Big Data tools can make IoT solutions more useful, particularly in the long term. When deployed together, IoT and Big Data analytics provide valuable insights into ongoing processes and help users accurately predict future outcomes.
One example of an IoT and Big Data alliance is predictive analytics in industrial settings. IoT systems gather and aggregate equipment performance data, which is then analyzed to reveal trends that help anticipate future failures. As a result, companies can be more proactive about machine servicing and avoid costly downtimes.
Top Five IoT and Big Data Use Cases
Players across numerous industries are increasingly merging IoT and Big Data to create impactful results. Here are five exciting examples of breakthrough products that demonstrate the power of IoT-powered Big Data solutions.
1. FieldView – The Climate Corporation
FieldView enables users to collect real-time field data from sensors and farm equipment, store it in on-premises or cloud servers, and share insights with other users through an array of wireless connectivity options. As a result, farmers can acquire data on the fly and use analytics to refine crop planting and maintenance activities.
Through a partnership with drone manufacturer AgEagle Aerial Systems, FieldView also integrates advanced aerial imagery to give users a comprehensive view of farm operations from as many angles as possible.
2. ORION - UPS
UPS equips its massive delivery fleet with IoT systems that record over 200 data points, including delivery times, locations, in-transit vibrations, and fuel consumption. This data is then aggregated and processed into insights that help the company improve operations, save costs, and reduce its environmental impact.
For example, the ORION (On-road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) system combines a myriad of sensors with analytics to optimize routes, depending on dynamic factors like cancelled orders, changing weather conditions, or accidents. That way, UPS drivers can maximize the deliveries they make while out in the field.
3. CARTO – CARTODB Inc.
CARTODB is a location intelligence solutions developer that provides GIS, mapping, and spatial data science tools by innovatively integrating field sensors with cloud data analytics. With the CARTO platform, companies can harness the power of spatial data to gain useful insights for optimizing all sorts of location-dependent activities, including billboard deployment, market segmentation, and supply chain planning.
Cities can also use CARTO insights to improve public services like transportation and waste management.
4. Smart Nation – Singapore
Singapore is pursuing a smart nation strategy that, when fully implemented, will create a data platform for the entire country using a widespread network of IoT devices. The connected devices will funnel all kinds of data into a centralized platform, which will then use advanced analytics to convert the data into useful information for every government department.
Although such a model may not be implementable in many other parts of the world, it paints an exciting picture of large-scale data warehouses and how organizations can integrate disparate data sources to provide comprehensive insights.
5. Community Seismic Network – Caltech
Caltech is working on a next-generation methodology for creating accurate maps of seismic activity in the earthquake-prone regions of California. Labelled the Caltech Community Seismic Network, the project aims at collecting as much seismic data as possible by distributing earthquake sensors to neighborhood volunteers.
The data these sensors collect is aggregated and analyzed to create increasingly reliable seismic maps, with which authorities can predict earthquakes and take proactive measures to minimize losses.
The future of IoT and Big Data
IoT and Big Data have a meaningful relationship that will become even more significant down the road. As connected devices continue to multiply and data analytics advances, businesses will have more opportunities to use IoT solutions to gather relevant data. According to Deloitte
, IoT is the most impactful tech disruption for organizations, followed by artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and Big Data analytics. Therefore, every modern-day business must consider these technologies to survive and thrive in today's increasingly digitized and competitive markets.
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