If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, you’ve no doubt heard some of the staggering statistics related to IoT (Internet of Things). But just in case, here’s one that’s hard to ignore: by 2025, connected devices could produce over 95% of the 160 zettabytes created by the world each year.
That’s a heck of lot of data, and a heck of a lot of companies that have to figure out what to do with it — including yours. In other words, if you don't have one already, it’s probably not so much if your business will need an IoT strategy, but when.
The (data) world is flat
As huge volumes of data are generated from more and new sources here in the IoT age, companies are scrambling to figure out how best to collect, access, and make sense of it all… And wondering why it’s so hard.
Many companies were not built for the cloud. They’ve had to rely on in-house data management to address IoT needs and are now realizing the limitations with this method. A lack of both expertise and capacity by existing staff makes it hard to keep up with data demands, expensive hardware creates a drain on resources, and real fears around security keep executives and IT teams up at night.
But even for the plenty of companies who were early adopters of cloud technologies or are built with the cloud in mind, aggregating and integrating their IoT data to extract its fullest value is still a pressing challenge.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will allow you to more fully harness the power and benefits that a volume of connected data can bring. Let’s dive into one of the biggest hurdles in IoT — integrating all that data — and take a look at a crucial solution to it that should be included in your overall IoT strategy.
It’s like herding cats
One of the foundational challenges of IoT is simply the ability of businesses to integrate all data from all sources into a central repository.
Think about it like this: you’ve got data coming in from the outside — sales leads, marketing campaigns, website, social media, customer interactions, vendors — and data being generated on the inside — departments and teams, CRM and ERP systems, contracts, files.
Some of it is structured, some unstructured. Some of it comes from end user devices, much of the rest comes from enterprise apps like CRMs, ERPs, or HRIS, among others. Regardless of the source and the format, all of this data has to be effectively consolidated, integrated, and made available in one place for it to be of any real use.
Without a plan to do this, companies struggle to access and analyze their own data, let alone turn it into product and service improvements, better customer engagement, and new revenue streams that will give them a competitive boost in their respective industries.
Stop herding, start integrating
Data integration — the automated mechanism and tools for consolidating data from disparate and connected sources — makes your data accessible and useful in real time so you can capitalize on insights faster. It’s not only key to staying competitive, cutting costs, and increasing revenue in the long term, it also ensures a solid handle on IoT in the short term as data volume and velocity grows.
Here’s a two-part data integration plan to implement into your IoT strategy:
1. Purchase a cloud-based data warehouse. Unlike on-premise data warehouses which require investing in and maintaining equipment and an in-house IT team who may or may not be capable of managing such an extensive operation, cloud-based data warehouses are built to gather, manage, and store data at speed, scale, and with the flexibility and adaptability that today’s businesses need. Cloud-based solutions make it easier than ever to manage, analyze, and leverage institutional data from a single location.
2. Incorporate a third-party data integration tool.
Before your data even makes it into the data warehouse, it needs to be processed and transformed for optimal use. Data pipeline and ETL (extract, transform, load) tools clean your data, make it usable for analysis, and stream it into the data warehouse.
A real solution for today’s IoT concerns
IoT isn’t going away. If anything, it will continue to grow exponentially as businesses everywhere tap into its capacity to enhance capabilities and drive results. But it still leaves organizations struggling to figure out what to do with the massive amounts of data generated as a result.
Trusting your IoT strategy to a cloud-based data integration solution like Alooma gives you a simple and secure method of collecting and combining all data from all sources into one location that can scale as your business needs change. The automated integration process gives you full access to your data whenever you need it, enabling real-time insights into events as they’re happening.