After watching this informative video presented by the Standford Graduate School of Business and several professional panelists, I was first moved by Simon Zhang’s (LinkedIn) presentation that highlighted that data is most valuable to its consumer or stakeholder when this data can be acquired and visualized FAST! Data that is available in near real time and then adds real utility to a consumer is more engaging and creates further demand. This is a rather simple and intuitive statement. We quickly realize the truth in this statement when we reflect on a few of the most engaging data driven applications available to us today. We loved Google Maps when it was initially released simply because we could visualize our location and its change in real time. Today, we extend our engagement in this data driven technology with apps like Waze. Waze delivers real time information regarding traffic congestion, stops, police patrol, alternate routes, and more. These are just two examples and we all have many more that are important to each of us. Think about Facebook as another example. This data driven application became wildly popular because of its real-time access to information about our friends, family, and other sources of news important to us as individuals.
I then saw the visualization presented by Tianhui Michael Li from Foursquare. Wasn’t that interesting to see how this new social app, which simply encourages check-in activity by its users, could become a useful tool that created a macroscopic visualization of public behavior during a typical day in New York city and then again as the city prepared and recovered before and after a storm? It then hit me, speed of data is not all about the calculation speed of a huge data set with a process like Map Reduce. In fact, speed of data in today’s most popular apps is directly related to the vast distribution and use of our personal cell phones. The explosion of the cell phone network brought rise to what we now have termed the Internet of Things. The vast distribution and use of cell phones is simply a broad distribution of internet connected sensors capable of capturing not just geospatial data but also data related to our personal behavior including our likes, dislikes and more. We have now watched the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remove every toll booth and to then urge each and every driver in our state to purchase a toll transponder. These transponders folks are not just for our convenience and benefit … the use of these transponders will one day be very helpful to law enforcement and to our government in ways we can’t yet imagine.
We are now quickly being motivated to add intelligent devices into our homes. As we add a Nest thermostat, Alexa, home security devices, and other internet connected gadgets within our homes, we are creating the ability of the owners of these services to capture and to store data about our homes and our personal lives. Go to the doctor today, and your doctor is adding information related to your health to the internet via devices beyond the scope of their office computers. The speed at which we get, collect, and process data is dependent on and will continue to drive the growth of the Internet of Things around the world. One day, we will have connected just about every switch, light, sensor, camera, microphone, motor, door and everything to the internet. We are accepting the growth of these connected technologies under the disguise of that it adds convenience to our lives. Watch out world, the speed of data realization comes from the network of devices that is providing this data. The Internet of Things will change the world. Hopefully, we like this change!