The future of networking, and IT Infrastructure more generally, will be driven by machine to machine interactions that are the heart of Internet of Things.
Today Its Person to Machine
The current generation of networking products, protocols and architecure are driven by the fundamental assumption that a
human meat puppet will initiate connection from a client to a server. Consider:
- loading a web page
- accessing an app
- sending/receiving email
Traffic is generated when the meat puppet engages with content. At this point, network traffic is generated, server resources are consumed, logs & analytics are monitoring etc etc along the food chain.
Today, the IT market is driven by the demand of consumers because this is the largest market using IT products. Enterprise IT is much smaller market.
Soon, Its Machine to Machine
The term Internet of Things is a catchall term for the next transition in technology. I consider that “Things” replace “meat puppet” as the source of the traffic. These “Things” will use the “Internet” as the network at first. I can go with “Internet of Things” (IOT) as a workable definition of a movement or a comprehensive market trend while being nuanced enough to recognise the lack of a concrete definition.
Interaction Models and Things
Think carefully about the interaction model of IOT. Your personal health device works without your attention. It collects data as programmed and ships it to a remote application. No human required.
Things vary according to the purpose. There are ‘personal things’ like Fitbits and Apple Watches. There are ‘building things’ like locks, fire systems, temperature and airflow sensors, elecrtrical current monitors. There are ‘factory things’ where installed production plants will retrofit a new generation of sensors for visibility and analytics.
‘Office Things’ will monitor meeting room and desk utilisation, daily attendance, common pathways so that employers can track office efficiency and utilisation. Throw in some security things as well.
‘Infrastructure Things’ are upgrades to power lines, water reservoirs, natural gas flows, sewage status and more.
You get the idea.
Network and Infrastructure
All of these ‘Things’ will generate network traffic and use servers for storage/compute. No humans will trigger activities, it will all be controlled by algorithms in the devices or cloud applications that configure them.
This creates new patterns of resource consumption across our infrastructures. There is no “peak time” for a device. There might be “critical service” on emergency things like fire sensors. There could be zero service levels on “meeting room vacancy” thing (who cares if miss a few minutes of data).
Enabled by Software Defined
There is a key enabler for IOT and its the “software defined thing”. Everything that has been achieved in the last five years for software defined infrastructure has paved the way for the automated/orchestration of the ‘things’.
Consider how many ‘things’ are going to be deployed in the next two decades. Today, people think that three devices per person is a lot. Think about a building
The EtherealMind View
The machine revolution is well on its way.
Big companies are putting billions into thing-filled jelly wrestling pits so that they can attract partnershsips with companies who have “customer relationships”:
- Think GE and their industrial factory customers.
- Think Rolls Royce engines in various planes.
- Think Phillips and commercial lighting.
- Think Johnson Controls/Tycho and building management systems.
Infrastructure technology that can support the IOT products of these companies is a whole new market. Its a market that is vastly bigger than Enterprise IT with fewer customers and lower overheads because its a platform.
This week Cisco announce the USD$1.4B acquisition of Jasper to gain an established IOT platform that has established customers and relationships. Thats one of the biggest acquistions for Cisco since SourceFire four or five years ago and spending US dollars doesn’t happen often. Evidence that growth is anticipated in this market.