The Internet of Things (IoT) can mean different things to different people, but it undeniably involves many devices and a lot of data. A forecast by International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that there will be 41.6 billion IoT devices in 2025, capable of generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data.
Some of these devices are commonly found in our homes, even though the occupants might never have heard of IoT. The security doorbell that saves video clips to your home computer or a remote location is an IoT device. Another IoT device is the new type of home thermostats, which, when connected to the Internet, enable you to change the inside temperature from any location. If connected to the appropriate network, every piece of equipment in a modern manufacturing plant can report telemetry to a central location. Cell phones can also be counted as IoT devices, as can smart cars, airplanes, and trains that collect data about their operations. The data that these devices generate can be collected and analyzed periodically or in real time. The amount of data that they generate will be an increasing challenge, but more importantly, so will the governance of the data—especially its placement.
IoT data placement decisions can impact intellectual property (IP) rights. A study of patent trends by the IoT industry found that “filings for the industry overall have dramatically increased over the studied time period: from approximately 5,100 filings in 2007 to approximately 18,100 filings in 2018.” For more information, see Patent Trends Study Part Two: IoT Industry.
Unique IoT data can drive schematic diagrams, processes, or applications that become new IP. IT teams need risk mitigation to protect this IP. A security breach can mean loss of revenue, damage to brand reputation, and loss of IP. The decisions of an organization about the placement of IoT data are a factor in protecting that data and IP. Organizations that want to maintain the greatest control of IoT data and related IP often prefer an in-house team that can customize and enhance security with placement of data in their own private data center.
The need for an in-house team for analytics, application development, and IP protection is closely related to IoT data placement. In the short-term, outsourcing can accelerate IoT initiatives, but many organizations have a goal of transitioning to an in-house team when feasible. The benefit of an experienced in-house team is a stronger alignment to business goals and corporate culture. An in-house IoT team can develop a greater understanding of the data and business applications for IoT data. This accumulation of experience leads to shorter project timelines, reducing risk and accelerating the development of new IP. AP offers a solution to efficiently manage IoT data movement and placement directly from the devices to a centralized core infrastructure.