Opportunities Abound

by Stephen Brobst

Sensor technology is at the heart of the Internet of Things. And when you have “things” that produce data by communicating either machine-to-machine or human-to-machine, you have business possibilities and applications that otherwise would not be possible.

We’ve experienced huge increases in the amount of data that’s available. You’re now able to measure behaviors—not just from humans but also machines and vehicles. Sensor data is going to dwarf all other data types in terms of size and value. The value creation will be huge.

Big Returns

Industries will be greatly impacted by sensor technology. The applications are almost limitless. Soon you’ll be able to track almost anything, including inventory in a store, parts in the supply chain, a package that you mailed and even your pet.

A big opportunity is using Internet of Things data to improve, create and re-invent industries and processes. Possibilities abound for eliminating and automating processes using sensor data. By collecting and analyzing diagnostic data from a vehicle—a car, plane or train—you can perform preventative maintenance to avoid costly breakdowns.

Sensors can measure temperature, humidity, vibration and all kinds of criteria to improve manufacturing, services and so on. The insurance industry, for example, can use sensors to better understand driving behaviors. Gamification using sensor data in healthcare could be huge. Technology is also emerging that lets you sensor-enable the human body. You can collect data related to vital signs, exercise and activities to allow people to proactively improve their lifestyle and healthcare. This data provides an industry opportunity to lower the cost of healthcare while enhancing the quality of care.

More Data for Your Dollar

The volume of data created by the Internet of Things will be unlike anything we’ve seen before, and we have to provide storage and scalable access to the information. That’s what Teradata technology is designed to do. With advanced discovery capabilities in Teradata® Aster solutions, you can perform interesting analysis on sensor data that’s not easily possible with straight SQL. The ability to expand SQL, such as using SQL-MapReduce®, allows you to do path analysis, time series analysis and discover insights in the sensor data that cannot be easily found using traditional analytic frameworks.

Of course we also have to drive down costs. With the Teradata Unified Data Architecture™ we can store sensor data at a very low cost in an Apache™ Hadoop® file system. We use open-source technology to prepare the data, and with Teradata compression technology, we can squeeze it into a small amount of space, which reduces storage costs.

It’s exciting to see where the Internet of Things is heading. As sensor use becomes more widespread, we’ll be able to measure more things. That data will make business processes and methods much more transparent and open to optimization.

Stephen Brobst is the chief technology officer for Teradata. 

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