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02
Apr
2014

Big Business backs Internet of Things (again) …

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The Internet of Things or IOT, despite positive column inches, is still in its infancy. (No IOT revolution yet.) Apart from computers and some other important hardware, most devices are still not connected (well over 90% aren’t). But with Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel all around the same table with the goal of forging standards for the brave new “sensor world,” that may change. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is the latest of several grand alliances- AT&T, GE, Cisco and Intel announced a similar partnership in the autumn. The overall aim, grand as it is, is to “improve integration of physical and digital worlds.”

While there is little really concrete in the press releases on the alliance, the broad approach aims include accelerating reliable access to big data; identifying the requirements for open standards for interoperability, and allow open membership for any public or private business.

For those involved, of course, (and perhaps for the rest of us) this is extremely important: “We are at the precipice of a major technological shift at the intersection of the cyber and physical worlds, one with broad implications that will lead to substantial benefits, not just for any one organization, but for humanity," said Janos Sztipanovits, distinguished Professor of Engineering and Director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS), Vanderbilt University.

Nor is the importance of this lost on government, apparently. According to the IBM press release, the US federal government is investing over $100 million/year in R&D related to cyberphysical systems, and has been partnering with the private sector on a series of testbeds in areas such as healthcare, transportation, smart cities, and increasing the security of the electric grid.

It’s a long time since the industrial revolution, but if IBM, Cisco et al have their way, we may all be here for the next one: “As the world looks to connect more things over the Internet, it is creating the next industrial revolution,” says Cisco Guido Jouret, vice president of Internet of Things Business Group. Only this time it won’t be creating the spinning Jennys, it will be connecting them….