IoT has been developing steadily for decades. We started with a huge federal injection to the Utilities to move to Smart meters and ever since larger pieces of the puzzle have begun to fall into place. Unlike previous endeavors however no one really knows where this is all going. When the Wright brothers first took off they did not foresee that 65 years later we would land on the moon, their focus had been on always proving that man could fly. With IoT we are proceeding down a path where multiple technologies really needed to coalesce for anything to really be achieved. Cloud capabilities moved us substantially in being able to manage extremely large sets of data and process large amounts of information but Cloud services really accelerated that so we can quickly stream large amounts of data.
Previous data solutions relied on information being available at a specified latency. Business users could see retail sales the previous week or month but not often up to the minute. Indeed, even if they could see up to the minute information, they did not have the capacity to act upon that information. The next wave of technology helped substantially with the maturity of AI and ML for analysis and response. With algorithms that can learn and respond suddenly we can now respond in real time to many different scenarios at the same time.
Point solutions needed sudden integration to many other solutions which drove large software companies to consolidate and buy end to end components. When the acquisitions began a lot of solutions became available for enterprise level analytics at a scale that was previously unimaginable. Pieces of the puzzle came together but there really was not a solid direction for where we were all going with the next generation platforms and capabilities.
The direction we seem to be going in is one that really brings together streaming large amounts of data, multiple points of information, escalations of privacy concerns, geolocation and historical trend data to form a complete view of the customer or person. Previous data and information about a person was limited to what an individual company could gather, so a retail chain may understand what you prefer to buy, the colors, fabrics and the frequency but they do not have a lot more information. A larger chain that sells grocery and other retail can put together a better picture through analysis of your eating habits and your purchases, whether you are focused on health or relaxation etc. Online giants such as Amazon have an even better understanding of your needs through a larger touchpoint of behaviors. These are part of an even bigger puzzle and that is currently referred to as they Internet of Behaviors.
The Internet of Behaviors is about a complete understanding of a person through movement, habits, purchases, fiscal responsibility to be able to support, sell and conform products and services to that individual. While we are moving towards this there are a lot of obstacles that still remain but Technology is not one of them. We could track a person completely, know where they go, who they visit and what they prefer to drink, eat and do for leisure. While this might seem disconcerting it is also a great way to understand how technology can enable us to be ourselves as well as drive efficiencies that support green initiatives.
While autonomous cars are becoming inevitable the support structure for all of them has yet to be realized. One clear solution is that cars will become transport more than an individually owned product. If you have an IoB solution that can understand your conversations (Alexa, Google) you can begin to complete solutions between cars and conversations such that if you are talking to someone on the phone and say you will be right over then transport will be available and pulling up outside as you leave (since you can be tracked heading to the door etc). These allow for a myriad of options such as no longer needing a garage, or thinking about parking. Conveyance can be just walking outside and knowing it will be there. No long lines waiting to get out of stadiums etc (ok maybe less lines). The issues of privacy across multiple data sets will always be an issue but as we begin to manage data privacy at a corporate level we need to think through what can be shared so our lives can be enhanced by technology and not constrained. The Internet of Behaviors can allow us a huge amount of freedom and new abilities but we will need to sort through multiple privacy issues.
IoB can also be scaled to manage many city and state level needs such as traffic management, contagion tracking and testing as well as bringing city scale efficiencies to buildings that can share information. The idea of the Digital Twin has been around for a while but that is for individual buildings, the need for combining data across many buildings will allow for efficiencies and services at a scale that current systems cannot manage. If you bring AI and ML to these larger data sets the quantum leap into a whole new level of goods and services becomes apparent. So while the IoT train is still moving it is the IoB one that is waiting to connect and usher in a new level of service that we are still trying to understand even as we move inevitably towards it.
About the Author
Asim Razvi is the head of data management and data strategy at Onis Solutions with over 25 years experience in delivering world class solutions in data to clients. He has architected some of the largest hybrid data management solutions for the Fortune 100 and also worked closely to deliver Business Intelligence strategy assessments to them as well. He works and collaborates closely with a number of CDOs and maintains a busy schedule of events and speaking engagements. Outside of work he trains outdoors to maintain a healthy lifestyle and spends time with his family in the wilds of the California mountains.
Vice President Lead, Data Management