IoT and Big Data Convergence: How the IoT and Big Data Feed Each Other

The IoT-Big Data Convergence

You know about the Internet of Things. You know about Big Data. But, do you know what IoT and Big Data have to do with each other? Keep reading for an overview of the IoT and Big Data fit together.

Parallel Histories

The IoT and Big Data did not spring from the same shoot. They are distinct disciplines. But if you look at the history of each of these fields, you notice that they have some interesting features in common.

For one, both the IoT and Big Data have been around for years, but did not go mainstream until relatively recently. The concept – and the terminology – that define the IoT have existed since at least the late 1990s. People have been crunching numbers on a large scale since the same decade, which saw the introduction of Big Data technologies like the R programming language.

Download Now: Bringing Big Data to Life - What the Experts Say

Yet it was only around 2010 that Big Data started to become a major part of the enterprise IT world. And the IoT has taken off in just the past few years. The IoT and Big Data were also the products of the same impulse: The idea that the computers that are already all around us can enable innovations that extend beyond what the computers themselves were designed to do. In the case of Big Data, that means collecting large amounts of digital information – which is being generated by the computers, servers and other devices you use all the time – then analyzing it in a programmatic way.

Similarly, the driving idea behind the IoT is that everything – including devices that were once powered solely by analog technology or required human drivers – can be turned into a computer in order to maximum automation, consistency, and predictability.

Related: Peeking into Actual Adoption Rates of the IoT

The Convergence of IoT and Big Data

Today, the IoT and Big Data niches are more intertwined than ever. In many respects, demand for Big Data is driving IoT adoption and vice-versa – creating a powerful positive-feedback loop that is making both increasingly essential elements of the business world.

Which forces are driving this IoT-Big Data convergence and positive feedback? Here are the main ones:

  • More IoT means more data. This is the most obvious link between Big Data and the IoT. The more IoT devices there are, the more data they will generate, and the more data analytics opportunities businesses will have.
  • They’re both growing quickly. The number of IoT devices will grow from the 13 billion that existed in 2013 to 20 billion by 2020. Likewise, the big data industry is projected to grow from $10.2B in 2013 to $54.3B this year. (Source: SAS.) IoT and Big Data are both among the fastest growing fields in IT.
  • They’re both essential for innovation. Big data and IoT are now things you just can’t live without. If you don’t take advantage of Big Data , you’ll be blind to the challenges you face and the opportunities you could leverage. And if your devices remain “dumb,” you won’t be able to capitalize on all of the automation and efficiencies – such as automated data collection – that IoT devices offer.
  • They both increase the importance of real-time action. This might be the easiest commonality to overlook. But it’s also one of the most significant. Big data and IoT both enable real-time, on-demand action in a way that was simply not possible or expected in most situations just a few years ago. Data analytics can help a bank identify a fraudulent credit card transaction while it is taking place, or make it possible for an airline to adjust its flight schedule in real time to mitigate the effects of a weather disruption. Similarly, your IoT-powered home can shut off the valve to a leaky pipe the instant it detects a leak, or send you an SMS about a broken window the second it is smashed.
  • Common challenges. The Big Data and IoT worlds face the same types of challenges – such as the need to support a diverse range of devices and use cases. Responding to these challenges generates synergy between the two fields.

IoT and Big Data require a need for real time action

On that last note, it’s worth thinking a bit about how you solve those challenges. The key is integration. To succeed in both the Big Data and the IoT worlds, you should be able to work with information no matter which form it is stored in, which type of device it lives on, or how quickly it changes. That’s what Syncsort’s Big Data and data integration solutions let you do; they help you to move data easily across your infrastructure — including around all the IoT devices that are becoming a part of it.

Christopher Tozzi

Authored by Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has written about emerging technologies for a decade. His latest book, For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution, is forthcoming with MIT Press in July 2017.

1 comment
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