By Jason Hardi
Now more than ever, there is a buzz surrounding the “Internet of Things.” What is the “Internet of Things”? It’s a fast-evolving planetary infrastructure upgrade that is capturing and analyzing more data than ever.
More specifically, the Internet of Things, or “IoT,” involves an infrastructure move towards increasing machine-to-machine communication (called M2M) built on cloud computing, IPv6, 5G networks, and billions of mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connections to computer “smart devices.”
Just how many devices can IPv6 handle? According to Wikipedia: The length of an IPv6 address is 128bits, compared with 32 bits in IPv4. Therefore, the address space has 2128 or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses. Doing the math, this translates to 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 potential devices, each with a unique IP address. Read aloud this number:
340 undecillion, 282 decillion, 366 nonillion, 920 octillion, 938 septillion, 463 sextillion, 463 quintillion, 374 quadrillion, 607 trillion, 431 billion, 768 million, 211 thousand and 456
We live in a word where “smart devices” are everywhere, and with the IoT, smart devices will become ever-present: Always there, always on, and always exchanging data 24/7/365.
While the foundation of the IoT focuses around “smart devices,” in reality, these are nothing more than sensors and reporting devices that report data to the cloud, which supports “Big Data” algorithms and research.
Cloud-based applications leverage the data and enable real-time meta-data analysis on everything from tracking where you are, your purchases, airplane data, and more—all of which comes from sensors enabled by the push to build the next generation 5G network. The cloud enables the sensors to capture data anytime, anywhere.
Real-time examples of how this emerging technology can save lives include adding “smart sensors” to bridges to measure real-time stress, weather-related issues such as ice, cracks, and movements that can predict failure. Such information has the tremendous real-time advantage of saving lives before failure ensues.
The IoT has allowed real-time software updates of the next generation of electric cars: The Telsa. Now, instead of taking your car in for service, it is automatically updated at night when you sleep—always evolving and always updating.
According to Fool.com, major corporations have been investing in IoT for years. Monsanto and other agriculture companies use IoT to make planting and harvesting food easier, faster, and more efficient by utilizing data from sensors on farm equipment and plants, satellite images, and weather tracking in order to increase food production.
General Electric (GE) is using IoT to help liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants decrease their downtime by pinpointing potential problem areas before they become major issues—a savings of up to $150 million a year, according to MIT Sloan Management Review (Sloan Review, Big Idea: Competing With Data & Analytics Research Highlight October 21, 2016).
With the IoT comes ubiquitous real-time monitoring that can improve our lives and help make the world a safer place. While the possibilities are endless, they do involve a degree of discernment over just how much monitoring should be allowed when looking at practical considerations involving privacy of our lives and the ethics related to big data tracking.
At KAI Partners, we specialized in these highly complex integrated projects, where cross-functional technologies provide leading solutions in the cloud, complex network architectures, and highly evolved leading edge architectures.
About the Author: Jason Hardi has been in the Information Technology field for over 25 years. Prior to that, he started his working life as a Marine Biologist. As a Marine Biologist, he saw the need to develop an early advanced statistical analysis program for biologists. The application, formerly called “Hyper Stats,” was subsequently marketed and sold at colleges across the country. Following this, Mr. Hardi entered the Information Technology field as a System Operator working in mainframe shops and has enjoyed advancing from entry-level positions up to Project Director and Advisor.