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AGT, Cisco and Other Experts Tackle the Future of IoT Analytics at CeBIT 2015

admin | April 16, 2015

CeBIT_IMG_4499_PanelLast month at CeBIT 2015 in Hannover, Germany, I led a panel discussion on key opportunities and challenges related to the IoT, and IoT-specific analytics and applications.

Geared toward CTOs and CIOs, our debate covered several critical topics, including IoT analytics platforms and applications, rule-based systems and machine learning (including deep learning), privacy, trust, scalability and interoperability.

The panelists included David Boundy, Director, SAP-Intel CoLLaboratory, Intel; Amr Salem, Global Managing Director for Smart Cities, Internet of Everything, Cisco; Alan Southall, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Custom Development and Strategic Projects, SAP; and Dr. Patrick-Benjamin Bök, Assistant to the CEO, Weidmüller.


Welcome to the Industrial Internet

While most of the hype around the IoT is focused on consumer applications, such as smart homes, cars and wearables, this panel focused on the IoT’s industrial applications (a.k.a. the Industrial Internet), which is ultimately expected to dwarf the consumer side of the equation in terms of its potential business and socioeconomic impacts.

Within 10 years, the Industrial Internet will transform the manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, mining, transportation and healthcare industries, which together account for nearly two-thirds of the world economy (source: World Economic Forum).

Here’s the problem: Today, machines and sensors used in production lines and power plants generate large amount of sensor and log data, but this data is mostly used for condition monitoring; missed are opportunities to leverage this data for the purpose of optimizing critical business processes.

Enter IoT analytics, including predictive analytics, time series anomaly detection and other analytics types that have the potential to do both.

Key Takeaways

  • The panelists made several interesting points that foretell the future of the IoT, and how we’re going to uncover its true value.
  • IoT data is rich, derived from a huge number of sensors and delivered in real time; it’s significantly different from traditional transactional data, and so needs to be treated differently.
  • The vast majority of IoT data amounts to “noise” if not properly filtered. On this point, Alan Southall of SAP said that most customers are not ready for IoT applications because much of the data is useless. He noted that 60% of data collected from a piece of industrial machinery is unusable for predicting faults in that machinery.
  • All panelists agreed that within five years analytics will be embedded in nearly all devices: machines with embedded analytics will enable greater optimization of resources, and predictive analytics will help to significantly reduce manufacturing downtimes, as examples.
  • According to David Boundy of Intel and Alan Southall of SAP, edge analytics, or analytics that occur on or near the device, are critical to the future success of the IoT. Analytics at the edge will give rise to machines that interact with backend systems at a higher level than is possible today, and become self-conscious over time.


    Joachim Schaper, Vice President & Head, Research Organization, AGT International

  • David Boundy of Intel mentioned the difficulties inherent in securing IoT data as it moves from the edge to the data center to the cloud, as well as the challenge of protecting people’s privacy as more and more data about them is collected. The panel agreed that there is a need to address these concerns while leveraging opportunities to create new value, such as the delivery of new services, and more efficient use of resources.
  • Amr Salem of Cisco commented that our perspective on handling data, and the issues surrounding it, need to evolve, stating that “we need to apply real world terminology and logic to the digital world.” This begins with sensors and sensory data that automate and quantify pattern tracking specific to product distribution and customer behaviors in the physical world. Such data is becoming the foundation for new IoT-based applications and services.
  • We need more data scientists! Implementation of IoT analytics requires skilled minds that can extract insights from so much IoT data. Alternatively, or in addition, IoT analytics platforms, such as that developed by AGT, will empower application developers to leverage the output of a smaller number of data scientists.
  • Dr. Bök of Weidmueller stated that the manufacturing industry will be dealing with challenges related to the analog-to-digital transition for years to come. As the shift progresses, companies will be able to build-out existing services, enrich their customer experience and create alternative revenue streams and business models that capitalize on the new ways in which consumers will buy and use products.

In summary, the panel at CeBIT concluded that the potential for IoT analytics is high, and will transform industrial business processes so as to enable improved productivity, greater flexibility in the production of parts and goods and reductions in energy waste.



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