Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Everything of Data

When do things change from hype to reality? Or when is it just more hype?  I have previously discussed how Big Data is changing everything; it had moved from simple hype to complicated reality producing very interesting results. The latest hype is the concept or the reality of interconnecting all of our data via the Internet of Things (IoT). This concept is one which should improve how things work. Not just businesses but I mean machines, distribution systems and people. I have to admit that I truly love the idea of being able to share information in a way that is meaningful and impactful through sharing insights and recommendations and ultimately improving our lives. We live in a complex world; now imagine your data becoming your life optimizer. 

The notion that all the data morsels we generate in our everyday lives and all of the sensors in our machines generate lots of information but generally these components never talk to each other. This connection between individuals, public sources, businesses and in our infrastructure grid can connect in a seamless way on to work together for a better individual experience and a improved global performance.  We can have simple things like our home dryers waiting until the power grid has a lower demand before starting to dry your clothes. Or that a doctor in a remote part of Canada can search a medical database of all medical symptoms; their treatment an outcomes to tailor a healthcare program for a sick patient. The interactions and benefits which we can ultimately achieve is limitless.
The question of hype is one which truly valid for IoT. We need to consider how can we share and share in a way that benefits people, governments and businesses. We have the technology today to begin the sharing but in reality we also live in a society where sharing information in this way scares people. They ask why should their confidential information be shared? I say why not. To quote Mr. Spock; “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”. We need to consider the up side and manage the risk of sharing.

Big Data has brought with it new challenges and new problems. The security of big data in Hadoop clusters is one which is evolving on a daily basis. We have options to encrypt, to restrict and to limit who can see what but the security of Hadoop is also quite basic and requires additional products like Kerabos to help in providing some security, but in many ways Big Data is available and if someone wants to get at it they will have an easier time then trying to break into a well-secured Oracle database. Then again Oracle does have a 25 year head start on Hadoop.

So is the Internet of Things hype? I don’t think so, I think it’s more of a dream state. One where data can live together and provide value well beyond its original intention. So it’s one dream that I hope to help bring to reality.