Internet of Things

A Rough Guide to The Internet Of Things

Internet of ThingsThe “Internet of Things” (IoT) is gaining momentum and we’re seeing more and more vendors roll out visions and product to support it.  On Tuesday, April 30th, IBM announced an appliance to enable companies to manage and route the millions of machine to machine (M2M) small data messages created by the Internet of Things.

Big Blue uses the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) format in the IBM MessageSight appliance to process over 13 million messages per second created from up to as many as a million connected sensors or smart devices.  While this may seem like a lot, it’s really just a starting point for the M2M trend.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Internet of Things is a real shift and that we’re rapidly moving into a world where everything is connected.  When everything is connected, it allows devices to be smarter, applications to be more predictive, and will change the way we work, live and play.

One of the main questions that I’ve been asked about the Internet of Things is how these devices would connect.  IBM’s answer is that all of these things will connect using MQTT delivered by the MessageSight appliance.  The appliance not only collects messages but also queues and filters the messages based on the MQTT format.  The MessageSight appliance also plays the role of “Internet of Things” router, as the box can be programmed to route the messages to different locations based on the content of the message.

Over the next decade, we’re going to see the number of machines and devices connected to the Internet absolutely explode and we’ll see 10s of billions of devices become Internet connected as the Internet of Things moves from a vision to reality.

As part of the launch, IBM gave an example of how auto manufacturers could use MessageSight to help manage servicing cars.  A car could be built with thousands of sensors in it to help diagnose problems.  Today when the check engine light in your car comes on, one needs to take the car to a dealer or a mechanic, have the code read, then take action.  In world where everything is connected, the car could automatically notify the dealer and the dealer could notify the customer of what the problem is,  as well as recommend whether the car needs servicing or not.  It’s like OnStar on steroids.

IBM isn’t pushing this initiative alone either.  TIBCO, Cisco, and Red Hat have thrown their hats into the ring and are backing the MQTT standard.  Those partners should give this appliance some credibility as customers start to experiment with what’s possible.

As I said before, the Internet of Things is a real trend and we’re on the verge of a huge change in our lives.  We just need to open our minds and imagine “what’s possible” when we live in a world where everything is connected.

Image credit: dadallone (deviantArt)

About the author
Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and with long term strategic advice. Kerravala provides research and advice to the following constituents: End user IT and network managers, vendors of IT hardware, software and services and the financial community looking to invest in the companies that he covers.