Industrial IoT and Big Data
Devices that can collect data from their environments are increasingly getting cheaper to the point of the devices being almost giveaways from large web shops with modern hardware. Cloud platforms provide the second half of the equation, with infinite space and computing power as well as dedicated native applications for IoT development and low maintenance pricing.
Together they represent a potent mix of gunpowder waiting to be ignited by innovation and new business models.
Here at Innovation Lab almost all of my clients are talking about the enigmatic cloud-connected sensors available, and how to use them for business leverage - and the applications are many. Cheap sensors for non-critical areas of production. Non-critical in this context refers to the places where it has been deemed too expensive to establish a sensor, given both hardware costs, and the expensive custom designed data infrastructure that for historical reasons need to be hosted on-site.
Recently, I visited a production company that has complicated machines to create their products. The machines are configured by hand-on screens and can run autonomously for hours without supervision. They produce vast quantities of data that can be read from a serial RS232 port. Furthermore, the vibrations can be detected from the chassis from new cheap, high-quality sensors.
I'm going to make a prototype - as I have already done for a financial institution that wanted to track mobile phones - and a solution provider, who wanted to track vehicles. When I'm finished, there will be many more projects just like these.
The market for connected devices and the willingness to explore and experiment is blowing up. It is without comparison the biggest landslide in modern industrial IT. All the hurdles of transmission, storage, processing, and collection of data have been taken care of. The tools are mature, transparent, and cheap - both in regards to investment and running costs.
If you want to understand more about Cloud Computing, connected IoT devices, and the data processing that goes on top of this, do get in touch. Also check out Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix for hosting and data crunching, and Texas Instruments development kits for rapid prototyping of possible applications. It's like Lego. Modular, easy, and fun.