Rain makes the desert wet but in the end where does all the water go?

I am working on a new book on the Internet of Things right now. I keep wandering around the desert of information. The ecology of a desert is the perfect description for the world of IoT right now. If there is rain, and right now there is a lot of marketing rain, the desert really doesn’t know what to do with all the water. So for a time it creates pools of water.

There are pools of IoT focused around specific business cases today. It is interesting which business cases are exploding. The Android phone and iPhone are driving a significant IoT shift (personal information) and the technology consulting firms are driving another shift (adding the Industrial Internet of Things, the Law Enforcement Internet of things and so on). It remains however about connections.

Back in the dark ages of computing connections were fragile. For example your data connection to the universe could quickly disappear just from the sudden need to make a phone call. “hey something’s wrong with the phone there is no dial tone just a hissing noise.” We solved that with DSL and Cable modems (and now fiber optics) but in the end all that did was increase the amount of incoming and outgoing traffic. Frankly the traffic on my home Internet today is one reason I haven’t dropped the Satellite connection, our network gets bogged down with Netflix and Amazon instant video pretty badly on a Friday and Saturday night.

That tenuous connection is what hold’s all of this together. In two of my books Transitional Services and The Syncverse I talked about looking at things differently. In particular the ways the Internet of things (IoT) could better expand our connections. I also cautioned there and many other places that in the end the limit will be the system of connection.

Gartner published recently an interesting teaser for their IoT report, that the average home will have more than 600 sensors in it soon. I am hoping that many  of these sensors will be smart sensors. If I have no change in what I am watching I don’t publish information. If they are all chattering at once and there are 1 or 2 teenagers in the house the next thing beyond Netflix will make your home network topple over. The first change has to be everyone allowing users of Internet connections the same upload and download speeds. Not filling your routers cache with pending uploads reduces the load on your router overall and increases your available bandwidth a little. Not enough for all the sensors but better.

The total available space for connections has to exceed the total number of connections and the required bandwidth for each connection or you end up with caching and buffering. Smart sensors that know only publish changes are one step. The changes they publish would be noting above or below the range you establish as normal.

As I said it is in the end all about the connections.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.