Big Data is an all-encompassing term used to describe the collection of large and complex data sets. As Kirk Marko of Forbes notes, the rapid advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) means our data supply – both as individuals and businesses – will be shifting into overdrive.
“Data collection and connectedness [are being] added to all manner of objects, whether home thermostats, industrial equipment, or even livestock,” he explained. “Yet, the plethora of data raises the serious issue of how best to actually use it for informed, optimized business decisions.”
Indeed, the IoT is generating voluminous amounts of unstructured data, making advanced analytics absolutely critical to understanding a dynamic and intricately complex Internet of Things.
“A key enabler of the IoT is the emergence of Big Data technologies for analytics that enable enterprises to glean insights from significantly larger data sets at less than 1/10th of the cost of traditional database technology,” Goldman Sachs researchers wrote in a detailed analysis recently published by the firm.
“As the amount of data collected by connected devices swells, we expect increased investment in analytical platforms and visualization technologies that will allow business managers to make sense of the information and react to it.”
According to Rambus Fellow and futurist Rich Page, the industry must formulate an integrative strategy to expedite the coherent analysis of Big Data.
“The current approach to Big Data will likely undergo a salient shift to meet the evolving needs of IoT devices such as wearables,” Page told Rambus Press. “Achieving an accelerated, contextual response – rather than stitching together a disparate series of reactions – should be the primary goal. “
For example, says Page, wearable devices are already capable of sending basic medical data to a physician who can then offer a diagnosis, generate an appropriate prescription and schedule a follow-up appointment.
“However convenient and advanced this technology appears, Big Data in the age of the IoT is clearly capable of more. Let’s imagine the following scenario: someone has been remotely diagnosed with minor back strain by the doctor via a mobile app,” he continued.
“Upon receiving an alert, a smart, connected car can be instructed to automatically adjust the seat appropriately to make the ride home more comfortable for the individual. Perhaps the strained back reacts badly to extreme heat or cold, prompting the individual’s smart-home thermostat to set the temperature appropriately in anticipation of his or her arrival. A fully-equipped smart house would also be capable of running a hot bath, warming up a massage chair and moving relevant medications to the front of the refrigerator or medicine cabinet.”
Perhaps most importantly, emphasizes Page, vital data gleaned from wearables could be utilized in the near future to help users detect, prevent and treat developing medical issues before they become chronic.
“Complex data sets generated by wearables and monitoring devices would likely feature a broad spectrum of real time patient data including temperature, heart rate, sweat and oxygen levels, blood sugar levels and even sleep quality,” he explained.
It should be noted that David-Michel Davies, executive director, The Webby Awards and Co-Founder of Internet Week, expressed similar sentiments in a recent Pew IoT report.
“When these technologies are not constrained to your smart phone, but part of a powerful biometric monitoring program that keeps track of your vital signs every second of the day and is accessible to you, your personal medical community and sophisticated computational power and software that can not only help you view the information and understand it, but also compare it to vast sets of other data so that it becomes not just an indicator of health or sickness, but even predictive.”
With the Internet of Things evolving at a steady cadence, the vast amount of data being collected and moved across networks will continue to push the performance of the communication infrastructure well into the future. As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, it is therefore essential to address the key needs for storing and transporting data in mobile clients and datacenters with low-power, high-performance memory and serial link interfaces.
“In addition to wearables, petabytes of information are continuously generated by a wide range of devices and platforms,” added Page. “This never-ending flow of data requires a corresponding increase in bandwidth capacity, as well as hardware-based solutions that offer a solid foundation upon which secure software and services can be designed and built.”