The Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived—and it’s here to stay—with its network of RFID tags, machines, appliances, smart phones, buildings, and many other devices with embedded technology that can be accessed over the Internet.
So what is IoT exactly? IoT is the concept of a seamless, all-encompassing and ubiquitous network of devices with the goal to facilitate smart co-ordination between the devices themselves as well as between the devices and human users. These devices are typically constrained devices such as sensors, but also more sophisticated ones like smartphones are considered part of the ecosystem. By accessing and processing the data that comes from these devices you can create enormous opportunities for your business.
Infinite possibilities for all industries
The IoT landscape is large and heterogeneous. In general you can categorize IoT use cases and applications into four areas, each with an increasing scope, from a single person to large entities:
- Personal IoT: the scope is a single person, such as a smartphone equipped with GPS sensor or a fitness device that measures the heart rate. This is one of the fastest growing, consumer-oriented areas of IoT.
- Group IoT: the scope is a fairly small group of people, such as a family in a smart house, co-workers in a van or a group of tourists. This is one of the most challenging areas and is still in its early phase.
- Community IoT: the scope is a large group of people, potentially thousands and more; usually this is in a public infrastructure context, such as smart cities or smart roads. This is a young and potentially promising IoT area.
- Industrial IoT: the scope can be within an organization (smart factory) or between organizations (retailer supply chain). This is arguably the most established and mature part of IoT.
Concrete use cases and IoT application areas
- Agriculture - sensors can be deployed on farm machinery in order to provide data about the equipment, soil temperature, moisture, etc.
- Buildings/Smart Homes - Building sensors be used to help facility managers become more proactive about ensuring that their buildings operate at peak efficiency.
- Communities – Smart cities make use of parking space availability systems, intelligent traffic monitoring systems, intelligent highways, weather-adaptive street lighting, and more.
- Healthcare – Infant monitors, smart diapers, pills with ingestible sensors are just some of the IOT-based devices.
- Manufacturing – factories with sensors can improve operations, product quality, and decrease safety hazards.
- Smartphones – can control everything from door locks, thermostats, light bulbs, vacuum cleaners, and more.
- Utilities – smart water meters can be used to reduce water leaks. Smart electric grids can adjust rates depending on usage.
- Wearables – Smart watches, fitness trackers and health monitors may become primary source for human-related data, and can also be used in sports, retail, travel and manufacturing.
IoT meets Hadoop: key considerations
As an enterprise, how do you really gain real business value from the Internet of Things? Your ability to process IoT data at scale requires an integrated software, hardware, and networking approach that includes Hadoop in order to prevent project delays and increased costs.
Here are several key aspects of enterprise-grade Hadoop that will take on increasing importance as you start to zero in on how to best leverage IoT data:
- Hadoop should be able to search all enterprise data with easy ingestion through various APIs. With MapR, you can use different APIs to ingest search data into Hadoop, including direct streaming writes using NFS, HDFS API, HBase API or even Flume. The MapR Converged Data Platform comes with prebuilt crawlers for the HDFS (MapR) interface and with an extensible framework for building new connectors, so integration with existing enterprise infrastructure is easy.
- Hadoop must be able to handle small files beyond 100M. HDFS is limited to 50M files for NameNode, which is grossly inadequate for processing trillions of expected files. With MapR, you can process up to one trillion files and associated search indices on one Hadoop platform.
- Hadoop must be able to support real-time operational analytics. With MapR, large-scale, 24 X 7, low-latency applications can impact your business in real time, whether for revenue optimization, risk mitigation, or cost control.
- Production success with Hadoop requires a platform that stores data as system of record. Only the MapR Converged Data Platform provides a system of record while providing enterprise-class reliability with instant restart, snapshots, mirrors and disaster recovery.
It’s clear that many businesses today are in the position to leverage IoT for a distinct competitive advantage. By working with MapR and our growing network of partners and system integrators around the world, you can reduce the complexity of IoT data ingestion, management, and analysis, so you can focus on enhancing your customers’ experience, optimizing your business processes, and growing your bottom line.
So how can the Internet of Things concept transform your business and give you a competitive edge? And where do you begin?
- Understand what data you have, and identify the various data sources.
- Develop a data collection strategy that supports streaming writes. You’ll also need to develop a plan for protecting the data cost effectively and efficiently, as well as a plan for saving historical data indefinitely for future use.
- Start small with one application, and define a few simply analytical problems that do not require vast amounts of data.
- Ready to scale? Scaling with MapR is a simple “Wash, Rinse and Repeat” process, meaning that you can scale your project linearly by bringing up new servers in hours instead of months.
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