Everyone loves to talk about the billions of things connected to the Internet - welcome to the age of hyperconnectivity and that used and abused term, IoT, IIoT or the dozens of other sometimes meaningless derivatives.
That billions of things (products, systems, devices) are connected to networks is not new. Allowing these things to interface directly with platforms, applications and people over the Internet is a logical and powerful evolution. However, there is another side to this coin which is how highly distributed all these things are.
“Highly distributed” has many dimensions, the least of which is the actual location of all these things. People like to talk about the IoT as if it’s a one to many relationship - one Internet connected to many things. In reality, it doesn’t work that way. A colleague in London once described the IoT as the Internet of Silos. It was a brilliant metaphor.
Take a hospital for example. In a typical hospital you may have hundreds of infusion pumps or patient monitoring system nodes from multiple vendors. Some of these systems operate over proprietary wireless networks and none of them are communicating externally to a common management application in a public cloud. Within a single hospital, many devices communicate over many networks to many different applications and few, if any, over the public Internet. This is a perfect example of how a hyper-connected organizations with thousands of connected things, and people, are highly distributed. Different device types, different networks, different management applications with a multitude of stakeholders who want access to data and some level of control over these mission critical systems.
The highly distributed nature and reality of our hyperconnected world is one of the most important reasons for intelligent edge computing architectures and platforms. The ability to connect, configure, monitor, manage and understand the data from billions of things requires technology at the edge, even more so than the cloud. This is will be a central theme of our dialog with you in the coming months and years.