The Future Of The Internet Of Things And Data Management

Current Look at Layered Internet Of Things Models

First, let’s take a look at the current capabilities of the Internet of Things. The upper layers in the general layered Internet Of Things capability models contain enterprise cloud solutions that enable information technology. At the lower levels, there are many individual items that support technology in this area. Where information and work technologies converge, there is the frontier computing layer.

Today, these peripherals provide computing power as well as real physical things in the realm of working technology. By adding artificial intelligence to the peripherals, you can now discover the value of these local IoT networks without actually leaving the network. This can provide benefits such as low network latency, real-time computing, and greater autonomy on such local IoT networks.

For example, edge devices can run analytics and business processes on IoT LANs for real-time decision making. At the same time, they can serve as physical communication gateways that allow simple things like sensors and actuators to use low-power communication protocols.

Where is most of my data going now?

Edge computing is already indicating a shift in direction, keeping data and intelligence closer to their original owner on an IoT LAN. However, today most of the IoT data still moves at the corporate information technology level, where most of the information resides. In any case, the original information is not relevant to their owner.

More broadly, this applies to many production linkages in which central enterprises benefit most from assets, rather than from the actual owners. Think of corporate banks that keep your money safe by refinancing it, or social media platforms that can sell your data to third parties for profit.

Sending, receiving and tracking data

Now suppose the refrigerator participates in multiple IoT networks as we now define them. In one of these networks, a shipping company uses an IoT peripheral – a device in a truck – to provide a gateway for temperature-sensitive goods to send that data to its company’s corporate cloud. The company provides quality assurance services as it transports these goods as part of their broader path through the supply chain.

What if these products want to track their temperature data outside this part of the journey? What if a truck is a self-driving vehicle that also wants to participate in many other IoT networks? The data is now stored in a variety of separate enterprise solutions. It cannot be simply split and reused as the real people in this scenario would like to see, the truck and the goods.

Data ownership revolution

When the Internet of Things converges on a blockchain of transactions, it gets very interesting. With a blockchain, trust and ownership of data can be returned to a person. For example, today’s supply chains must trust each party involved in the quality of goods and the transfer of data between those parties. By combining the blockchain and the Internet of Things, data and events throughout the supply chain can be stored on the blockchain of transactions by the goods themselves. You can trust the data, not the parties involved. Smart contracts (computer algorithms) can be used to provide services such as executing transactions without relying on intermediaries.

In our truck example, the product itself might own its temperature data, tagging it on a blockchain throughout the journey, rather than trusting every single party like a freight company. This is fundamentally different from today’s robust but secure enterprise cloud solutions, which can also use this data for purposes that products were never intended for.

When information can be owned by IoT data, helping it to break out of disparate corporate solutions, it can be used in many other IoT networks and decide for itself which available networks would be useful to use.

Will there be intelligent software agents?

There are intelligent software agents. When the Internet of Things is combined with both blockchains of transactions and such agents, it becomes even more interesting. Since these various software agents interact and make autonomous decisions, they can now do so with reliable data and without having to reconcile it with a central control.

Instead of disparate, layered and static corporate Future Of The Internet Of Things networks, it is about the dynamics of interconnection. Data can move in any direction based on how the data owner disposes of it and what data other software agents are looking for. Agents can store and share data autonomously, initiate smart contracts, and even reward each other for their services. Data not only belongs to a person, but also becomes an asset that he can exchange with others.

Selling my data, economy of things

We already know that data can be valuable, as today’s businesses, social media platforms, choose which data to sell to advertisers and which not. In the future, we might consider IoT data on the blockchain of transactions as a “digital asset”. It is data that represents something of value, such as monetary value or utility on the web, when we look at cryptocurrencies. In our case, IoT data is a utility in a dynamically and interconnected IoT network.

In our example of a smart van, this could be the value in the location data that now belongs to the truck, as well as the temperature data that now belongs to the item being transported. There are already blockchain solutions that explore this concept of data markets, providing first steps for use among real users to own and assign a price to their data for use by other users.

Can data become a new resource?

At the moment, the data is only available in the vaults, and is owned and financed by the enterprise. With many IoT devices expected to be used, it is not hard to imagine the number of new IoT data value creation combinations that remain to be learned. It is not easy to understand and impossible how to deal with statically disparate corporate IoT networks now. Once we get data from storage, and it actually belongs to a person, this data can become a major disruptor of our daily life. With the potential for rapid growth in data, more intelligent and interconnected autonomous systems and data sourced from storage, and the use of technologies such as blockchain transactions, data could become a major resource in the digital era.

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