Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

The IoT for the Rest of Us | @ThingsExpo #BigData #IoT #M2M #API

Part 2: The thing I have figured out so far is that, unsurprisingly, the IoT is a journey and not a predetermined destination

Today is another exciting day as an Evangelist to a Big Data company, because I love me some data and I love making it accessible to everyone. I got it in my head that I wanted to take my other "how to," start to finish, make it an easy-for-everyone approach to analytics, and build something that would do the same for people interested in IoT. So I went ahead and started on my IoT journey today in the way I figured it was best. I bought a bunch of sensors and components and a Raspberry Pi (R-Pi) 3, yes I am turning into a hipster nerd. I had asked around to some folks I knew who were doing cool R-Pi projects and they all said that it was relatively easy to get into and get going.

The thing I have figured out so far is that, unsurprisingly, the IoT is a journey and not a predetermined destination. Even now as I sit here with buyer's remorse, thinking, "oh crap. Did I get the right things? Will I be able to really figure it out?" I realize that the underlying issue of IoT adoption is that there just isn't a lot of simplified and accessible IoT information out there for someone like me, the average Joe who wants to play with things that produce data. I am not overly dumb, and I can code a fair bit, and I have a good understanding of Big Data technology, but now, in my "grown up life phase" I have embraced the concept of "where is the thing I can buy that does the thing I want it to do without me having to figure out complex concepts/write code/hack things in my free time?" The stark reality is that in IoT land, that simply doesn't exist.

This lack of simple-to-buy, consumer-driven IoT functionality is compounded further because a lot of the information that you could use to understand the larger IoT is really confusing if you have been around IT for any length of time. What I mean is that as I have really dug into "IoT," I am realizing that what a lot of people mean by "IoT device" and the actual "Internet of Things" involves a pretty big grey area, and because they are being used interchangeably, figuring out what information applies to which type of IoT can make getting started with your own projects really difficult (and that's before we figure out how to actually configure and build the hardware and code and everything else, but more on that in later blogs!)

Allow me to explain this potential point of confusion as simply as I can:

On one side, you have "The Internet of Things" or IoT. What most people mean when they say this, based on the available research and published information, is devices that use a network of some sort to communicate to a central something (server, log, application, bit bucket, etc.), which is also commonly referred to as the Industrial Internet. The misleading word in both of these phrases is "Internet" since the Internet rarely, if ever, provides the transport layer for these communications. Additionally, while the conversations around IoT as a concept are very much in vogue right now, these types of networked devices have been around for a long time. I remember a friend telling me of his first IT gig at a major tractor manufacturer where he would have to climb around and through the dusty bits of the factory looking for devices that needed patching and rebooting. Many of these were the actual assembly controls and factory logistic machines themselves, and this was during the late '90s. So the IoT that everyone is talking about as though it was new, in the sense of devices that talk to each other, has been around for a long time. What is new and highly exciting in this field, that has emerged in the last few years, are the new analytics processes being built to use this data. It wasn't that long ago that the vast majority of this data was simply logged or dumped onto a server somewhere and completely ignored unless something went horribly wrong. With the advent of more processing and better analytics this has shifted into the realm of process optimization data sets, as well as a host of other insight-driven business decisions based on this once throw-away data.

The second "IoT" focuses more on the devices themselves, and currently has a more commercially focused vibe. Connected devices that drive some sort of app or behavior-modifying experience (connected car, toothbrush, thermostat, fitbits etc.) are really more the focus here, and the hyperbole around them is grandiose even by hype standards. Yes I am talking about the socks that track running patterns, or the sport bras that monitor your heart rate so the doctor knows how healthy you are, or the ridiculousness of the connected toothbrush that doesn't monitor anything, it just reports whether it was turned on for 3 minutes... While there are many that are a very, very good idea (I have repeatedly said that the connected car is LONG overdue), many of them are equally, to put it kindly, monumentally dumb.

The one thing that is coming out of this group that is critically important, however, is the idea that the experience of the user has to be part of the overall IoT story. By and large Industrial IoT devices are driven by a single consumer (like a factory worker or plant manager) who innately knows and understands the information being collected and very likely the device collecting it. In contrast, the commercial device-driven IoT has to appeal to a broad consumer base who likely know very little about both the device and the information it collects. This need to make devices smarter and more accessible for everyone is ultimately a great thing for the world, and brings me back to my own IoT project.

What I wanted to do is kind of insignificant or even dumb really. I have a west-facing balcony and a lot of plants that dry out really fast in the relentless afternoon sun in Colorado. I want to know when they are getting near to dry so I can water more efficiently (and not have them die from the heat). That's all. Simple, direct, actionable information that I can consume. I had hoped to just find some pre-canned sensors, or some sort of packaged "Garden Monitor System 9000" that did the trick, but when I realized none exist it became clear I needed to build my own. After all I want to both understand this nascent world of IoT/Industrial Internet, and I could not simply buy something that will keep my plants alive. And that is where we are now, my friends. I am waiting for my kit to arrive in the post, sometime in the next few days (thank you #PrimeDay!). From there we will embark on this adventure together, and I will keep you up to speed on my progress every step of the way!

Tweet me @Charrold303 if you have similar projects, R-Pi experience and hacks or just want to talk #UrbanFarming, #IoT or anything else about data and becoming #DataDriven.

More Stories By Christopher Harrold

As an Agent of IT Transformation, I have over 20 years experience in the field. Started off as the IT Ops guy and followed the trends of the DevOps movement wherever I went. I want to shake up accepted ways of thinking and develop new models and designs that push the boundaries of technology and of the accepted status quo. There is no greater reward for me than seeing something that was once dismissed as "impossible" become the new normal, and I have been richly rewarded throughout my career with this result. In my last role as CTO at EMC Corporation, I was working tirelessly with a small group of engineers and product managers to build a market leading, innovative platform for data analytics. Combining best of breed storage, analytics and visualization solutions that enables the Data as a Service model for enterprise and mid sized companies globally.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...