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IoT gathers steam, but adoption barriers remain

Teresa Leung, Computerworld Hong Kong | July 15, 2013
Vendors have high hopes for IoT, expecting related offerings to bring in new stream of revenues. One of these vendors is Big Blue, having introduced its Internet of Things appliance during its Impact 2013 event held earlier this year in Las Vegas.

Vendors have high hopes for IoT, expecting related offerings to bring in new stream of revenues. One of these vendors is Big Blue, having introduced its Internet of Things appliance during its Impact 2013 event held earlier this year in Las Vegas.

IBM MessageSight is a major technological step forward in the firm's Smarter Planet strategy, said Big Blue, adding that it's designed to help organizations manage and communicate with the millions of sensors found in mobile devices and machines such as automobiles, traffic lights, oil refineries, pacemakers, buildings, and kitchen appliances."

According to IMS Research, there will be more than 22 billion Web-connected devices by 2020. "These new devices are expected to generate more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data every day," said Marie Wieck, general manager, Websphere, IBM.

Information consolidation
Based on IBM-built Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) technology--the machine-to-machine equivalent of HTTP, IBM MessageSight acts as a director that receives information and updates from a sensor, routes it to the right location inside an organization and then delivers a response back to that same sensor. "This allows organizations to consolidate all of the information in one place and more easily glean insights to make better business decisions," said Wieck.

The appliance can support up to 100,000 sensors, mobile devices or machines at one time, and scale to manage up to 13 million messages per second, said IBM, adding that clients like Ford and Sprint evaluated the appliance while it was in beta.

Pivotal's IoT offering
IBM isn't the only vendor that eyes the IoT pie. Pivotal--an EMC spin-off now backed by VMware and GE--has also announced a PaaS offering called Pivotal.

Expected to hit the market in Q4, Pivotal is built to provide firms with a platform where they can deploy cloud-based big data applications that pull in real-time data from different sources, then turn that data into useful information.

According to Michele Pelino, principal analyst at Forrester, industries with significant focus on IoT/M2M initiatives today include utilities, manufacturing, and transportation/fleet management.

Some of the drivers behind these IoT initiatives include improved asset management, improved energy utilization, carbon emissions management, lower device and communications costs, and the increasing number of networks that support IoT, she said.

Hurdles to adoption
But a variety of supply and demand issues must be addressed to speed up IoT deployment, Pelino pointed out.

One of the issues is how a company can justify the business case and capture IoT benefits. "Many firms have questions regarding the measurable business value of IoT offerings," said Pelino. "Smart grids are often identified as a key opportunity, but most deployments are driven by government regulation rather than on a stand-alone business case."

 

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