The new Apple Watch is getting a lot of attention from consumers wanting to know what it can do. Today, you can send a tap, a sketch, or even your heartbeat — and everyone expects the number of cloud-based apps to grow, much like the iPhone. Welcome to the consumer Internet of Things (IoT), connecting to wearables like this as well as to the latest TVs, smartphones, home appliances, etc.
Similar in concept, but with different behavioral models, there’s also an industrial IoT segment. And don’t be surprised to hear later about new models for the IoT cropping up for other segments, like medical or retail. A reason for different IoT models is the need to address specific functional, device, and network requirements. Unlike the consumer IoT model, for example, industrial environments may have non-IP devices and networks, and require a higher level of data security.
Consumer and Industrial Data Come Together in the Internet of Things
The idea of joining together different IoT business models came up during a panel discussion on “Real World: Life of Data from Sensor to Analysis,” which also included National Instruments and Airbus Industries, at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin, Texas. According to the study “Segmenting the Internet of Things (IoT),” by Moor Insights & Strategy, multiple domains could be bridged at the cloud level so analytics software would work on data from all of them at the same time.
Figure based on Moor Insights & Strategy’s report “Segmenting the Internet of Things (IoT)”
Why would you want to do this? Here are a few use cases:
- Field Service Engineer: Reads an equipment manual stored on the industrial IoT using Google Glass* connected to the consumer IoT.
- City Resident: Checks the readings from pollution sensors placed throughout the city (Industrial IoT) from her/his iPhone (consumer IoT) to avoid unhealthful conditions.
- Airplane Mechanic: Uses an intelligent wrench (consumer IoT) that verbally calls out when a bolt has been tightened enough, according to the manufacturer spec (industrial IoT).
Proactive Failure Analysis for the Internet of Things
In my opinion, one day we’ll see both manufactured products and the machines that made them connected to the cloud. This high level of connectivity, combined with data analytics, will allow manufacturers to monitor their products in the field to a degree not possible via human capabilities alone.
Imagine your smart television is able to continuously report its status to the manufacturer, allowing issues to be fixed automatically with remote calibration or a software patch. Or perhaps a reliability issue resulting from an out-of-spec tool can be remedied after just a few TVs report problems, instead of only after thousands of units have been returned to stores.
With the ability to combine different IoT business models, there’s no telling what else is in store for us.