I love the first line of this Gigaom article: “Infrastructure is something that people are used to not thinking about.” But ignoring infrastructure is not an option when it comes to supporting the Internet of Things (IoT).
Consider the numbers. Currently, humans generate about 2.8 zettabytes of data a year. That’s 2.8 trillion gigabytes of emails, tweets, search queries, Facebook posts and online purchases. That number is expected to double every two or three years.
Add to that devices, sensors and other sources of machine data. Pundits project there will be more devices added to the Internet than people in the coming decade. By 2020, we’re expecting to have anywhere from 26 billion devices connected to the Internet, on up to 50 billion or even 200 billion.
What’s it going to take, to build an infrastructure robust enough to handle that volume of data?
That’s the main topic at the Gigaom Structure conference coming to San Francisco on June 18. Really smart folks are looking at how to build a back end to support hundreds of billions of sensors and devices – along with several billion people.
Some industry experts believe that building out an infrastructure for IoT will be much the same as building out a typical IT infrastructure: servers, storage and network connections hooking into the cloud, delivering scalability and availability. But what, some ask, if they could make it better than that? What if we could have a memory of each device, its history and data, so a device failure doesn’t result in a loss of data?
There’s opportunity here, says Gigaom research analyst Dave Ohara. He writes: “We need infrastructure that provides a sort of institutional memory of what you’ve done with your devices. Where do you think the money is in the infrastructure of IoT? A low-cost infrastructure that quickly gets commoditized or a value added service for the Infrastructure of IoT users will stick with?”
He’s talking about making an infrastructure that’s stronger, more scalable, and smarter than what we have today. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll usher us into a new age of computing where data is always available, device-independent and easily integrated between platforms. It’s a goal worth striving for.
Image credit: Dennis van Zuijlekom