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Enterprise IoT

Posted by marklittle Jul 30, 2014

It may seem strange to think of enterprises and IoT, but there are already many companies looking to use the data they obtain from "edge" devices, such as sensors, in their day-to-day business. Of course as a result we've all heard of Big Data and how it plays here with the need to store Petabytes of information so that analytics can be performed on it, both in realtime and batched. But this is just the start of where enterprise and IoT will intersect. When I talk about Enterprise IoT I'm implicitly thinking about the kinds of scenarios I've discussed before around JBoss Everywhere. Now of course we should abstract away the specific technology because you could do this in a variety of ways. However, the use cases remain.


Today people consider edge devices as dumb; message exchanges are best effort; they're typically stateless; they do one thing well, such as read the ambient temperature; they only know about one endpoint with which they exchange data; they can't be easily (field) updated; network bandwidth is limited. All of these restrictions are imposed by the limited scenarios we have today, or the limits of the technology. However, if the last 50 years of software and hardware evolution have told us anything, it's that both of these problems will change and probably more rapidly than many people believe.


I believe we are in the very early years of IoT and as technology waves of the past have shown us, these are typically the periods where advancements come quick and furious. Why should edge devices be limited by memory or processor? A Raspberry Pi today costs $30 but in less than 18 months something equivalent will be sub $10 and the form factor will look more like an RFID chip. Developers will want to store more data on these devices so they can do local processing (prediction), maintaining state to help them determine what to do next. They will become much more autonomous, with some of them having peer-to-peer relationships with other devices, clients and servers within the IoT cloud. These devices will communicate with each other. They may work together for fault tolerance and reliability, sharing data, requiring consistent updates to that data. And they'll need to be much more secure so they cannot be hacked or spoofed. Certain message exchanges may need to be delivered reliably as well as capturing an audit trail for non-repudiation purposes.


The potential for Enterprise IoT is significant and only limited by our imaginations. In just the same was as two decades ago edge devices of the time evolved into today's enterprise critical laptops and servers! And of course I want to see JBoss and Red Hat technologies and communities leading the way.

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