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What is the next data challenge – Using IoT data

If you thought big data was a data integration challenge, just wait for the Internet of Things (IoT). Depending on who you listen to, there will be between 25 and 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The amount of data generated by that number of devices is going to be enormous, with manufacturing and logistics environments comprising the majority of the IoT device base. To make use of all that IoT data will be a significant data integration challenge.

What is IoT?

Simply put, IoT is the process of digitizing the physical world. A McKinsey report define it as:

“sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems. These systems can monitor or manage the health and actions of connected objects and machines. Connected sensors can also monitor the natural world, people, and animals.”

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, IoT isn’t just for large enterprises or governments, it’s something SMBs can use.

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Data issues of IoT

What is becoming clear is that integration between IoT and other systems will be important to ensure maximum value. Gartner reports that one of the main problems currently experienced in IoT projects is the integration of the IoT platform to enterprise applications and services. In addition, the real value of IoT applications is going to come from using the data from multiple devices to make decisions based on that data.

The challenge organizations will face is that existing or legacy technology will struggle to deal with the IoT data surge.

Firstly, you cannot use traditional technology infrastructure or approaches to handle IoT data. The volume and velocity of data from IoT systems can not be handled by standard on-premise databases.

Secondly, when it comes to integrating the data with other systems, an enterprise service bus (ESB) does not have the dynamic scalability or the ability to deal with near real-time refresh rates required to handle IoT data.

Because new technology solutions will be required for IoT, Gartner predicts that for the next two years:

“half the cost of implementing IoT solutions will be spent integrating various IoT components with each other and back-end systems.”

Architecture for IoT

According to analysts, there is no one vendor that has an end-to-end solution for IoT. Because an IoT implementation will require a number of independent solutions, mostly in the cloud, a distributed architecture has been proposed.

distributed-iot-architecture

We believe this is currently the best approach to implementing IoT. Cloud-based systems like Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub provides the bi-directional communication with IoT devices, authentication, device security and management. Flowgear handles the integration from the hub to enterprise applications and other data requirements.

As an integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), Flowgear is designed to run at a much higher cadence than an ESB, and because it is built for the cloud, does not come with legacy infrastructure baggage.

Choosing Flowgear as the integration engine for an IoT project

Peace of mind

You cannot talk about cloud computing without talking about security, particularly when focused on the topic of integration. Data is a company’s most important asset and needs to be protected when at rest or in transit. In the cloud, companies start communicating outside of their firewalls and deal with a number of different vendors. How confident are you in those vendors’ security systems? Flowgear’s entire delivery mechanism has been encrypted from day one so you can be sure your data is secure both inside and outside the firewall.

Data control and easy compliance

Businesses are subject to a number of pieces of legislation pertaining to data sovereignty, security and storage. Complying with all of these regulations becomes difficult when dealing with many different vendors. The Metadata Gravity Engine within Flowgear allows you to tag data to ensure it stays where it’s meant to stay.

Encrypted data movement

How you get data in and out of the organisation is also crucial. When working in the cloud, you’re dealing with a number of external services and you may not know who is running those services or how they are secured. Flowgear’s DropPoint software agent sits on premise and encrypts outgoing data without compromising the integrity of the firewall.

Convenient logging

Everything needs to be auditable these days, especially if companies are to comply with the abovementioned data legislation. Businesses need to be able to account for their data, including who accessed it and what changes were made to data sets. Flowgear allows you to do this and provides granular recordkeeping of activities without putting the data at risk.

Benefits of multi-tenancy

The cloud is ultimately a community of best-of-breed providers, allowing businesses to choose which solutions they want to use from a host of different providers. The same is happening in the integration space.

Flowgear offers an agile way of building integrations that allow businesses to securely and confidently integrate applications and move data around.

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