Edge Analytics Driving IoT Adoption

(Image: Jirsak/iStockphoto)

(Image: Jirsak/iStockphoto)

Is your child's teddy bear spying on you? In yet another embarrassing example of connected "things" being improperly secured, exposing their owners to privacy breaches, more than 2 million voice recordings of children and their parents have been exposed online.

CloudPets, the makers of connected teddy bears, and a poorly-secured database are being blamed as the culprits.

While consumer connected devices are capturing the big headlines, there's plenty of adoption of connected things in business and industry as well.

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the Analytics of Things Market to grow from $4.85 billion in 2016 to $22.65 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 31.53%. The firm said that two driving forces for adoption are making IoT and its data more efficient and end-to-end automation. Business and industrial applications include energy management, predictive maintenance and assets management, inventory management, security and emergency management, sales and customer management, building automation, infrastructure management, and remote monitoring. There's a lot to unpack there for analytics pros.

A new IOT IT Infrastructure Survey from market research firm IDC also highlights the importance of solutions working with existing infrastructure as well as new architectures such as edge analytics.

"Given the strong uptake in IoT based technology solutions, enterprise IT buyers are looking for vendors who can add IoT capabilities to the current networking and edge IT infrastructure," said Sathya Atreyam, research manager, Mobile and IoT Infrastructure at IDC in a statement.

"Further, success of IoT initiatives will also depend on how IT buyers can effectively leverage newer frameworks of low power connectivity mechanisms, network virtualization, data analytics at the edge, and cloud-based platforms."

Data analytics, both at the central office and at the edge will play a key role in driving the adoption of IoT solutions.

IDC noted that the top vertical industries deploying IoT solutions were telecom service providers, high-tech, manufacturing, and construction industries.

Data analytics will play a key role in driving adoption of these IoT solutions, according to IDC. The firm pointed to particularly to edge analytics as growing in importance to organizations evaluating such technology.

If a "thing" in the field -- maybe a thermometer -- is generating thousands of data points that are the same, does it make sense to send every single data point to the central analytics location for processing? Or would it be better to just send the data point that is an anomaly? What if the thermometer is one of thousands of thermometers? Edge analytics enables the analytic computations to be performed at thermometer or sensor location. Then only the relevant data is sent back to the central location for further analysis and processing. This configuration can be particularly useful at remote locations that don't have unlimited network bandwidth.

Data analytics and governance professionals will have a great deal to contribute to the conversation about alerts, privacy, and other issues that come with the territory when dealing with important and sensitive data.

Are you seeing IoT deployed at your organization? Does the analytics team currently play a part in this initiative?

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: IoT potential for industry
  • 3/17/2017 1:58:01 PM

I would not be surprised if companies will just store data on customer's online devices rather than put them in cold storage.   Many devices are online 100% of the time and it would not be difficult to do though inquires may take longer.

Re: IoT potential for industry
  • 3/14/2017 8:31:29 AM

There does seem to be something to the idea of how it "would it be better to just send the data point that is an anomaly." Once the data is showing all is well generally, start collecting the IoT data that show where there's a problem, and go from that point to making corrections in the procedures or devices?

Re: IoT potential for industry
  • 3/9/2017 11:29:33 AM

You're most welcome @Lyndon_Henry

<In Europe, of course, on-time punctuality is far more important for passenger trains, as it is in the USA.> Ah, yes, there's the rub for commuters on this side of the Atlantic, particularly in busy cities like NY.

Re: IoT potential for industry
  • 3/8/2017 5:37:46 PM


Ariella writes

I thought of you when I cam across this Financial Times article, "How big data helps German trains run on time: Sensors and analytics are making predictive maintenance work, for engineers and carmakers" ft.com/content/9fb0d378-6ad4-11e6-ae5b-a7cc5dd5a28c


Thanks, Ariella, for the reference — I've added the article to my information base.

This further underscores the basic contention of my 2015 blog article for A2, US Freight Railroads Roll on Analytics:

Gone are the days when rail traffic was predominantly handled with paper waybills, phonecalls, and signal lanterns. Many of today's most critical railroad operations are increasingly dependent on complex analytics.


While that article focused on freight railroads, the same can be said for passenger operations. In Europe, of course, on-time punctuality is far more important for passenger trains, as it is in the USA.


Re: IoT potential for industry
  • 3/7/2017 6:38:48 PM

@Lyndon_Henry yesterday I thought of you when I cam across this Financial Times article, "How big data helps German trains run on time: Sensors and analytics are making predictive maintenance work, for engineers and carmakers" ft.com/content/9fb0d378-6ad4-11e6-ae5b-a7cc5dd5a28c

IoT potential for industry
  • 3/7/2017 5:16:13 PM


I've consistently thought that IoT offers major opportunities for improving operational efficiency in industrial applications, especially where remote access is important, as in transportation.

The railroad industry provides a good example. A March 2016 article in the trade magazine Progressive Railroading, titled The Internet of Things: A world of opportunity for railroads, quotes a General Electric executive who explained succinctly why IoT is a valuable option for managing equipment and operations: "When you're talking about massive amounts of data like we are here, there's only so much you can house onboard a locomotive." 

The article, explaining why "Technology providers ... are lining up to serve passenger railroads", cites a new integrated operations management product from Cisco Systems:

In 2014, Cisco Systems unveiled Connected Rail, a solution designed to modernize aging rail networks, improve safety, drive down expenses and provide passengers an "improved connected experience." The technology, which integrates onboard, trackside, wayside, signaling and back-office systems, includes a positive train control component. The Cisco® IoT System comprises a range of products designed to address network connectivity, physical and cybersecurity, data analytics, management and automation, cloud-based application development and Cisco Fog Computing.


Obviously, security is a problem and hacking a major ongoing threat. But if adequate defenses can be maintained, it's easy to see how IoT adoption is being recognized as beneficial not just to transportation industries but to many others as well.