F5 Predicts: Internet of Things Drives Demand for ‘Social Intelligence’

‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’, Steve Jobs once famously said. A saying that is crucial for organizations in their efforts to be a ‘global player’. There are currently lots of innovation areas in the technology space, spurred by the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). This trend is already being tapped in a broad variety of industries, such as enterprise and public sector in terms of smart roads or for sensor networks in building, on trains, hospitals, and in factories.

The term ‘Internet of Things’ can be simply explained: It is a technology that enables real-time and accurate data sensing with the ability to wirelessly transmit data to other objects on the network. For instance, products that are being embedded with sensors enable a company to track movements of products and monitor any interactions. Having this data at hand provides decision makers the advantage to fine-tune their existing business models. But beyond business, IoT is getting to transform our personal lives too, according to Forrester’s Top 10 predictions for the Asia Pacific tech market in 2014. Sensors getting people fitter, finding keys, unlocking houses and monitoring ambient temperature, among many others.

One of the things that comes along with the ‘Internet of Things’ is the increase in connections, inevitably giving rise to higher network traffic, thus stressing the existing network infrastructure. This requires an infrastructure that is scalable, flexible and more intelligent than ever before. Forrester analyst Michele Pelino stated recently that a key issue that needs to be worked out will be the development of an IoT ecosystem, before the technology can be widely adopted.

The first challenge for enterprises, however, is that their current IT infrastructure may not be able to scale quickly enough to cater to the demands of the business. Secondly, as Pelino pointed out, there would need to be a tried and tested ecosystem of Independent Software Vendors who are able to take advantage of all the data from the various sources to provide analytical insights. Finally, the adoption of new technologies usually takes time due to policy and business changes.

From a technology point of view, it will mean a dependence on data centers equipped with information processing tools like analytics engines, business intelligence software and more importantly, an intelligent application delivery infrastructure. While the analytics can provide the much-needed ‘social intelligence’ capability for the business to tap, the intelligent application delivery system can ensure that such insights are delivered on a real-time basis and securely to the end user. This need for real-time secured ‘social intelligence’ stems from the advent of IoT driven intelligence and creates the demand for a suite of application services. Eventually these insights need to reach the relevant decision makers – services that provide real-time traffic optimization, availability and security for data flowing through such business intelligence apps. Ultimately, these solutions need to manage such an infrastructure from a single point of management and this has lead to the birth of Software Defined Application Services (SDAS), the next phase in the lengthy evolution of application delivery.

SDAS is the result of delivering highly flexible and programmatic application services from a unified, high-performance application service fabric. Orchestrated intelligently, SDAS can be provisioned to solve significant challenges from the whirling maelstrom of trends driving IT today. Ultimately, SDAS relies on abstraction; on the ability to take advantage of resources pooled from any combination of physical, virtual and cloud deployed platforms.

All in all, IoT is a technology promising compelling benefits in our personal lives and business environments. Inevitably, back end technology will need to keep up with these developments and become ever more sophisticated in the era of the ‘Internet of Things’.

Published Feb 20, 2014
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