The growing ease of adding sensors, microchips and communications modules to nearly any object is spawning the Internet of Things. Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be 25 billion connected devices on the planet. What kind of things? Watches, clothes, appliances, cars, industrial equipment and more, including some products and applications we haven’t even envisioned yet.
These billions of connected devices have the power to remake our world.
One recent example is a prototype toy dinosaur that connects to IBM Watson, the machine learning system that has defeated world chess champions and won the TV gameshow “Jeopardy!” The dinosaur can converse with children and answer questions, pose puzzles, assess learning and develop a type of personality based on a child’s likes and dislikes. The powerful combination of a child’s imagination and a supercomputer can remake education and even shape that child’s sense of what is possible.
Each new type of thing added to the universe of connected systems generates its own silo and/or stream of data, either structured or unstructured. To realize any value from that new data, analytics is needed to extract meaning from it.
In fact, the power of the Internet of Things isn’t just that isolated devices can now communicate. The power is that, as a result of the devices being connected, new levels of insight into everyday transactions, events and processes can be achieved.
To enable insight into the ecosystem of “things,” a layer of intelligence that spans the silos and streams of data from individual sensors is needed. That’s where situational intelligence comes in.
We’re already seeing situational intelligence for connected devices remaking the world of utilities. The data from smart meters, communication networks, fault detectors, SCADA systems, video feeds, social media, lightning sensors, weather satellites, GPS locators and many other devices is being correlated, analyzed and visualized to provide unprecedented insight to utility professionals. That insight helps them serve their customers better, save money, reduce carbon pollution, and keep the power grid secure and resilient.
We’re also seeing situational intelligence transforming the supply chain. Sure, we’ve been able to track our packages for a while now, and after a storm delays a flight, we’ll be informed that a package may arrive late. But by using situational intelligence, shippers are now able to anticipate weather delays, and reconfigure their network routing on-the-fly to meet delivery commitments despite the weather.
Increasingly, we’ll start to see situational intelligence spread throughout the economy to industrial processes, retail interactions, government services, telecom, healthcare and more. The possibilities are nearly infinite.
The Internet of Things has the power to remake the world, but much of that power will remain untapped without situational intelligence to span disparate streams of data and generate new insights. Situational intelligence was made for the Internet of Things.
I’ll be writing more in this blog about how situational intelligence helps us derive new levels of insight from the Internet of Things. Stay tuned.