In this second blog in Jéan’s IoT playground, I want to introduce an overview of my understanding of the ‘big picture’ of the Internet of Things, why it is different to our understanding of end-to-end computing models up to recently, what enabled this big change, why it is a revolution, how big It is, what we have learnt in the past that is useful to understanding this ‘revolution’ moving forward, how deep we are into this revolution, and, in my view what are the big un-answered questions of IoT. There are major implications for society, I will express my views on these….
I will try to do interchange of ‘practical views’ and ‘overview views’ over the next few blog posts, blog about my project at home to increase efficiencies and drop costs, and sketch the bigger picture of IoT, and draw parallels between my home IoT project, and its business application.

The big picture…. Part 1.
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IoT – is about ‘Cyber-Physical’ systems, which this organisation (1), defines as:
“Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are integrations of computation, networking, and physical processes. Embedded computers and networks monitor and control the physical processes, with feedback loops where physical processes affect computations and vice versa”.
And further: “CPS integrates the dynamics of the physical processes with those of the software and networking, providing abstractions and modelling, design, and analysis techniques for the integrated whole”.
Further, in my more practical view, the 'Internet of Things' are about:

a) A sensor and a ‘SoC’ – system on chip, that monitors the real world and its processes;

b) An omni-present network, where other processes, SoC’s, and systems can interact with each other, even if the network is shaky, requiring mesh, or other approaches;

c) The ‘Big Data’ that is created by all these sensors, which will become a rich data environment where inter-relation of processes can be mined, explored, and modelled;

d) The ‘Analytics’ of this data created by sensors and SoC’s, its interaction with business processes;

e) And, lastly, the ‘Action’ or behavior change that an actuator, or sub-system, or later on the whole system will make as result of the cyber-physical connection.


What is different this time around?

What then is different now, compared to some years ago?
Well summarised by SAP, in this (2) article, 5 digital trends are changing business and are enabling the possible:

a) Hyper-connectivity - Every business partner and every machine is connected and will allow better collaboration and data collection for miners as a basis for agile production and customer interaction;

b) Super computing - The limits of 20th century computing power are gone. Networking and in-memory computing allow organizations to make use of the data already being collected – to put data to use for better prediction and analytics;

c) Cloud Computing - Technology adoption and business innovation now move at lightning speed as result;

d) Smarter World - Sensors, robotics, drones, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence are the new normal. This will allow for increased automation in areas which would not have been imagined;

e) Cyber Security – new practices and data protection mechanisms are the bedrock of such systems moving forward.
In Part 2, more about the revolution, Industry 4.0, what can go wrong.
-----------References:
(1) - http://cyberphysicalsystems.org
(2) - http://www.digitalistmag.com/digital-economy/2016/02/01/5-digital-trends-changing-business-enabling-possible-03977910

Originally published on 06 May 2016