There really isn’t any industry these days keeping out of big data’s reach. Businesses and consumers are finding that sensors and data collection can be useful for everything from complex tasks to the most mundane happenings. You can receive a text when you’ve left your doors open or your lights on. You can even
get a phone call when you’re about to have a heart attack.
I went to “All Things Connected,” a Washington Post forum that brought together some top experts on the Internet of Things (IoT) to talk about how we live in an increasingly connected and some call “smarter” world. My 30,000-foot view: The IoT is a technological balancing act.
Data, sensors, and a more connected world (aka the Internet of Things, or IoT) can enable a lot of great stuff. From the manufacturing perspective, it’s possible that CNC machines will soon be able to train operators independently, without the use of an instructor – a great way to address the burgeoning skills gap. MTConnect has enabled connectivity between equipment and devices on the shop floor, allowing for better data collection and analysis. Companies are monitoring the performance of their machines and tooling as a way to optimize efficiency and productivity.
But what about the “dark side” of big data? Data breaches at a number of large retailers has certainly raised concerns about identity theft. Privacy has become a major concern, with wariness coming not just from private citizens, but also from businesses who are concerned about corporate espionage. Additionally, while users are asking for technology that is approachable and user-friendly, ease of use often does not match up with security. As Michael Sutton, VP of Security Research for ZScaler said at the event, “Usability often runs counter to security, which is currently the biggest issue facing the Internet of Things.”
With big data touching just about every sector of industry, the tide is not going to stop. Today, the potential appears limitless, and you can guarantee some very interesting times ahead as businesses and consumers find their way through this exciting and sometimes daunting uncharted territory.