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Internet of Things, Data explosion and Databases of the Future

Michael Santana, BD Executive
Singapore, 13 Mar 2014

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Recently, the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) has been a buzz in the media, but what does it really mean and how will it change our world? To put it simply, it refers to the state where nowadays there are more and more devices connected to the internet and participating together on a system. This ranges from the latest smartphone to everyday objects, say even home thermometers.
Imagine an “ideal” drive to office enabled by IoT: Your car will start itself 5 minutes before you reach for it. It knows the time by checking your calendar for the first appointment of the day and backtracking based on road condition. It turns on the A/C as it learns that the temperature outside is warmer than the threshold when you usually switch it on. As you drive off, it suggests a few gas stations along the way as it senses that you’re running low on gas. Your PC in office will boot up and the coffee machine will brew a cup just before you arrive.
Something like this opens up newer possibilities, now coined as “Smart Business”. In smart businesses, data from devices and people are collected for further analysis to get insight into patterns which can then be commercialized. Eg: Insurance companies now ask you if you would like to fit a device to your car that can tracks your driving patterns and decides the premium accordingly.
There are challenges though – the Volume, Velocity and Variety of data collected causing an explosion of data. The current infrastructures used to store and process data (mostly invented in the early 70s) are reaching their limits. For example RDBMS, the rigidity of RDBMS makes it difficult to scale and perform in processing such varied and huge amount of data on the fly when we are talking of petabytes of data being stored and analysed.
And hence the rise in NoSQL databases – like the document store database called MongoDB. It is designed specifically to address the shortcomings of RDBMS and face current, future business challenges. Its dynamic schema and document oriented model can handle variety of structured and unstructured data well. Horizontal scaling (“sharding”) on commodity hardware makes it possible to support billions of devices with very high processing rates without toppling your budget.
IoT has much further to grow and it has the potential to change the world, the way we do things just the way Internet did. And along the way, we will witness many a shift in trends.

– Michael Santana, BD Executive

Other Articles in the newsletter:
The ‘Big’ Announcement – Sachin Dabir
Three Things to Unlearn about RDBMS before you Learn MongoDB – Sameer K
Guest Article: Future Talk – Rohit Rai, MongoDB Director Sales