Data analytics is a critical component to any IoT roll-out. We look at five reasons why it’s so important.
Data analytics has been implemented in the business world for some time, enriching all industries from manufacturing to marketing.
The amount of data available to analytics programs has vastly increased with the rise of smartphone technology, but the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to take this data deluge to new heights. With home appliances, health monitors, transport infrastructure and many other everyday items soon to be equipped with online connectivity, the insights available to businesses will be staggering. Analytics software will enable organisations to make sense of the IoT data explosion and we’ve explained how below.
Analytics will be more relevant to businesses than ever before as the amount of data being supplied increases. Businesses will need to invest in cutting edge analytics software in order to process, analyse and store this increase in data, sometimes generating insights in real-time.
Matt Davies, technical evangelist at Splunk, told Internet of Business that organisations will need to make changes in order to cope with IoT data volumes.
“The world’s data will amount to roughly 44 zettabytes by 2020, 10 percent of it coming from IoT,” he explained. “When you consider the variety of sources it can now be pulled from, it’s easy to see why collection, storage and insight generated from an unprecedented number of connected devices will be challenging. Accommodating this volume will mean completely changing tools, processes and technology.”
It is clear that without a new breed of analytics tools, it will be impossible for data scientist to generate the necessary insights from IoT data.
Data volume isn’t the only reason that businesses are utilising analytics in increasing numbers. The Internet of Things also promises to deliver data in a wide range of different formats and types, again presenting a challenge to anyone wishing to analyse this information. As a relatively new phenomenon, the Internet of Things has no clear industry leader and no standardised technology protocols. Older analytics tools that rely on SQL databases will need to be replaced by new tools capable to processing the diverse datasets being produced.
“Collecting data – data that is essentially ‘unstructured’ – is of course only part of the challenge,” says Simon Coombes, Chief Technology Officer of Gooee. “The ‘value’ comes from being able to analyse, interpret and re-present that data in a way that has true meaning and worth. It is this that will define a successful IoT platform.”
Businesses will need to use analytics to generate insights because, with the Internet of Things, the stakes have never been higher. Analytics has already been used in industries like retail and finance, but the Internet of Things promises to broaden its scope into other areas such as healthcare.
According to a recent study by MarketResearch, IoT deployments in healthcare are set to reach $117 billion (£81.6 billion) by 2020 and there are a number of examples where the technology is already being put to good use.
Wearable devices are able to collect and send patient data to doctors in real-time and RFID sensors are helping provide greater confidence in the pharmaceutical supply chain. With more data becoming available all the time, medical IoT devices combined with analytics tools could be used in the future to not only identify health issues, but ultimately cure them.
Of course, one of the first things that companies look for in a new technology is how it can drive revenue and business growth. With IoT and analytics working in tandem, businesses can generate far more detailed insights about their customers and what motivates them, ultimately leading to innovations and increases in sales figures.
Greg Hanson, vice president of business operations EMEA at Informatica told Internet of Business that analytics software is already being used to boost revenues in industrial and agricultural environments, but that other sectors also stand to benefit.
“The beauty of the IoT lies in real-time data analysis, effectively giving businesses a birds-eye view over mechanical processes, fleet locations, warehouse conditions – even employee activity,” he said.
“If organisations can understand not only where data is being used and how, but also what’s the intent and context behind this usage they can drive new product innovations, tailor product and service offerings for individual customers and create new growth areas for the business.”
Present and future success
The additional data provided by the Internet of Things not only enables organisations to generate real-time insights that benefit them in the present, but also helps them to foresee future business trends in advance. IoT sensors combined with predictive analytics will also be able to tell businesses when physical components are likely to fail, enabling them to carry out vital maintenance work before disruption occurs.
Meteorologists, retailers, urban planners, medical professionals and many other roles stand to benefit from the influx of IoT data. By employing predictive analytics, businesses can look to the future with greater confidence than ever before.