The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming fast, and is set to reshape everything from healthcare to manufacturing. A 2015 IBM survey of more than 5,000 business professionals from 21 industries found that 57% of C-suite executives place IoT in the top three most important near-term business trends.
At the foundation of IoT convergence is the data extraction possible from the hundreds of types of intelligent devices connected to our networks. The information they collect is used to drive business processes and decisions. An IoT-enabled lighting system that collects data, for example, can adjust itself automatically based on ambient lighting levels, weather conditions, current occupancy load, and anticipated workflow patterns. And as more data is gathered over time, the system can “learn” patterns about occupants’ habits and lighting needs, and adjust accordingly.
But without a reliable connection to the network, these intelligent IoT devices are simply “devices.” They can’t monitor the surrounding environment and make instinctive adjustments. They can’t provide data to us for better decision-making. If network connectivity isn’t dependable, then business processes will suffer – and the investment an organization makes in IoT won’t be worth it.
Once an IoT device collects data, the information is sent to the cloud where it can be monitored, searched for atypical events and inconsistencies, and combined with other data sources. Over time, as additional data is collected, it can be used to forecast events with confidence, such as device failure or potential process breakdowns, and take steps to prevent or improve them.
Not only do IoT devices capture and transmit data to the cloud for easy access, but they can also receive commands back from the cloud. Based upon the information uncovered in the data and sent back to the device, IoT devices can take immediate action to correct a problem or fine-tune a process.
With devices connected to LANs outnumbering people connected to LANs, wireless connections surpassing fixed LAN connections and Power over Ethernet (PoE)-enabled device connections exceeding locally powered device connections, IoT brings more connected devices to the network than ever before. And with how our connected devices are being leveraged for competitive advantage, IoT is shining a spotlight on the importance of system uptime.
All of this data being collected by IoT devices needs to be stored somewhere, accessible and available 24/7. In a world where devices are constantly collecting and analyzing information, increasing pressure is placed on data centers to provide high levels of availability and expandability.
Data center outages will negatively impact the ability to collect data from IoT devices – and make it difficult to share useful information with customers or staff. For example, in a hospital environment, IoT devices like wireless scales and blood pressure monitors can feed directly into online medical records for accurate recording, remote monitoring and better patient care. If your hospital’s data center goes down during a patient’s surgery, not only will you not be able to collect and record accurate data from that patient during surgery, but you may not be able to access critical health information if a health emergency were to occur. Valuable time could be lost if you can’t access the patient’s medical device history to make a crucial decision.
Whether caused by human error, a power outage, cooling system failure or natural disaster, system uptime is the key to success when implementing an IoT strategy. Learn more about the services and solutions Belden offers to ensure system uptime so that your network – and the devices connected to it – operates like it should.
And don’t forget to download our free white paper – Internet of Things: The New Convergence & the Challenges It Brings – to learn what IoT means for your networks and data centers.
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Throughout his career Stephane has worked in the telecommunications industry; in R&D, product management, training and marketing. Since 2014, Stephane as Director Technology and Applications is focusing on technology roadmap and ideation, networking applications and trends, and standards engagement.