Looking to the Future: The Internet of Things

IOTThanks, Al! OMG! Just think – if Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet, where would we be today?

Years ago, as mankind ventured into space for the first time, satellites were launched, first by the former Soviet Union and later the U.S. The key to these early expeditions, later to be followed with manned flights, was the telemetry that allowed the satellite to transmit data back to us on planet Earth. Without telemetry, satellites, manned capsules and space shuttles would simply be objects in orbit. With telemetry, these same incredible projects became powerful orbiting laboratories, beaming incredible data, complex measurements, and amazing images for analysis by scientists on the ground. From Sputnik to Voyager to the lunar lander to the Mars rover – every mission provided massive amounts of data, as our exploration of the universe continues to progress.

Of course, the key to our success in exploring any new frontier – space or otherwise – is that the collection and transmission of the data is only half of the equation. To collect, analyze and interpret that data, we must be listening. Satellite dish antennas and other signal collection arrays take in massive amounts of streaming data, and complex computer programs interpret that data, translating it into understandable and useful information, reports, and high-resolution images.

Today marks the dawn of the next great exploratory revolution – the Internet of Things, or simply IOT. Today smart, connected products, sensors and data collection devices of all kinds are interconnected in a variety of ways. Some are M2M – machine to machine – while others report their data real-time for monitoring at remote locations or for more sophisticated analysis and reporting. Whatever the application, IOT collects massive amounts of data. The key then is to manage that “big data”, translating it into actionable intelligence that can form the basis for automated or human-assisted decision making.

From medical diagnostics to smart farming to new product and service development – the possibilities for interconnectivity, data collection and communication through the Internet of Things and the resulting data bonanza are quite literally unlimited. How many exciting new companies will be born as we move through this exciting new frontier? Just wait and see!

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