How The Internet of Things Creates A Smarter, Connected World.
The growth of big data is accelerating as more of the world’s activity is expressed digitally across the globe. In fact, there are already an amazing nine billion connected devices, and that number is expected to explode to hundreds of billions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) reflects the growing number of these smart, connected products and highlights the new opportunities they represent. This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. It also applies to components of machines: for example, a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.
The internet is really just a mechanism for transmitting information. The big challenge is bringing the right things together by driving integration at relevant points and harnessing the full potential of data through the creation of new connections. It’s also critical to have integrated systems in place to securely store IoT data, analyze it for insights and then act on those insights in real time to make the right decisions. That’s whether you’re building a connected car, optimizing production assets or improving patient care.
However, it’s no easy task because as much as 90 percent of all data currently created at the edge of IoT — by smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices — is never captured, analyzed or acted upon. What’s more, as much as 60 percent of that data loses its value within milliseconds.
To address this issue, IBM is investing $3 billion over the next four years to launch a new Internet of Things unit. The goal is to help customers curate data generated by billions of connected devices to produce and deliver actionable insights.
IoT represents a new frontier of value for customers. Why? Because each system can become its own interactive, reactive, adaptive, intelligent network of not only things, but also places and people. All of these new capabilities are what’s behind the first-of-a-kind partnership announced this week between IBM and The Weather Company, which brings precision weather insights to enterprise decision-making.
By combining cloud computing and analytics expertise with weather data, companies in all industries will better understand the impact of weather on operations, anticipate weather events sooner and more precisely, and take action to optimize those parts of their businesses most likely to be impacted.
For example, with the right combination of precision weather prediction and predictive analytics insights, airlines and airports can better manage the logistical nightmare of delays caused by the weather. Flights can be re-routed or consolidated more efficiently. Equipped with highly specific information on wind, temperature and other factors, fire fighters can battle wildfires more effectively.
The first combined IBM and The Weather Company solution, in fact, will address a very simple but vexing problem for most people. It will enable insurance providers to build and offer opt-in mobile apps that send text messages to policyholders telling them to move their vehicles because of an impending hailstorm where property damage is expected. The alerts will increase the accuracy, precision and resoluteness of the forecast to minimize false alarms, ensure people take action, and, ultimately reduce the number and cost of claims.
How is all of this possible? Significant advances in weather science and cloud computing today can predict weather’s impact on individual businesses with greater accuracy, precision and resolution. Discrete forecasts for precise locations now can be provided at quarter-kilometer resolution, anywhere on the globe, with updates every fifteen minutes.
What’s more, the IoT allows collection of weather and related data from more than 100,000 private weather sensors, aircraft and drones, millions of smartphones, buildings and even moving vehicles.
Weather data is just the beginning. While the IoT currently connects more than a billion people, in just a few years, it will connect more than a trillion objects. Everything from cell phones, cars, roads, buildings, and even objects in nature itself, will have embedded technology and be connected to one another. Those connections will enable tremendous advances in how we understand how the world works and make smarter decisions to make it work better.
By Pat Toole, IBM