Whatever there is to be said about the development of connected devices in recent years, it is obvious that the attitude behind the Internet of Things (IoT) has been mostly visionary up until this point. Some products have had more success than others, but on a broad scale, the adoption of IoT tech has been a slow process. Many people still don’t know how the conceptual term “Internet of Things” could apply to their lives, and to some, the idea even appears trite and unnecessary. However, the buzz surrounding connected technologies cannot be disregarded due to the fact that more devices are hitting the market every month, with tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google leading the bunch with their respective platforms and hubs.
These products have definitely excited developers and consumers alike, as many have pointed out, and have accelerated the recognition of the Smart Home. The big question now is: “where is the IoT?” It would seem a bit presumptuous to say that we’ve arrived considering the strides that have yet to be made in adoption of devices, yet so many product headlines continue to read “the IoT is here.” The IoT is not an event or a bar to be reached, but the continuing interconnectedness of objects in our environment. So it’s no wonder that, in the early stages of IoT technology, widespread acceptance is still forthcoming. Developers should be more worried about continuing to search for progressive solutions and adaptations to the expanding platforms. One of the big areas for growth in IoT products has been widely referred to as Edge Analytics.
The “Edge” is a term that could easily be lost in the technical jargon of networking capacities, but it is a simple idea: the sort of computations and data sorting that used to require a server, can now be accomplished on the connected device itself. “A simple example is monitoring a camera. If you think about a video camera set up to count cars at the intersection of two roads, you don’t really need to watch video of the cars going by, you only want the count and timing of cars.” (Forbes) Moving analytics closer to the Edge provides a number of benefits. First, bandwidth costs money, and the growing amount of data that will be sent via sensors and other devices is not going to make this expense any cheaper. Developing a product that can monitor and synthesize information valuable to its local functionality will be much better off than the product that will have to send the data away before it can act. This is the second benefit of moving toward the Edge, and this Idea has been called the latency of a product, or its time to action. Products that can act quicker, and with a higher data reflex will be the most progressive in their market. “You no longer need to land the data for analysis; you can now take analytics to the data, while it is in motion” (SAS)
Depending on the application, developers may want to consider a number of different options when thinking about how to move analytics closer to the Edge with their products. Gateways have also become incredibly powerful, and have taken on a number of characteristics that used to only be present in servers. In all cases, the ability to analyze and respond quickly to sensor data is at the heart of the IoT. Connectedness is given more power when it is able to respond in a cohesive and accelerated way to the information present, and acceptance will rise with the recognition of this capacity.