Now heralded as the new oil, data is everywhere: in legacy databases, streaming off new connected devices, built into means of monitoring all aspects of the world. Combining data from devices and other feeds will provide new insight and let users discover various correlations and causes, with the Internet of Things (IoT) being a use case in point. The IoT’s growing market is estimated to be in billions – if not trillions – according to some futurologists. Through an application of systems engineering thinking, humans can use learning about data source relationships to design processes which then cause decisions and actions to take care of themselves.
So far, application has been limited by use cases still born from standard machine-to-machine (M2M) thinking, which rely upon linear connections and point solutions. Minds have yet to be freed to consider the ‘what if’ or ‘what else could it do’, hampered by the massive concerns with interoperability and security.
A small company in Cambridge, UK, leaders in this field, has developed and is patenting technology which overcomes these barriers to unlock users’ creative abilities for solutionising. This can be within companies looking to mitigate risk, improve operational efficiency or develop new business models, or for innovative communities, such as the IoTUK Boost Programme’s Cambridgeshire LPWAN (low-power wide-area network) project. This supported small businesses to develop solutions to urban challenges using LPWAN technology, while having the ability to include data from any source in their solutions through this secure and interoperable tool.
The technology has been proven in different countries and against wildly different use cases, such as making research data from the British Antarctic Survey available to impact research in related fields or to be enriched by contextual data; or in using events in a vehicle’s journey, like sudden braking, to trigger the automatic collection of contextual data, such as local weather, to develop a richer picture of the environment in which the vehicle is operating.
As shown in the picture, the tool indexes legacy systems, platforms, devices and data and provides an intuitive way for anyone to discover and interact with all of them in an entirely virtualised environment. This middleware is turning silos into sources, creating a Web of Things, and in the process democratising access to data. Customers use private spaces to index and interact safely with public and private devices, data and feeds, securing IoT networks, and generating new insights and services across the built environment, transport, utilities, industry and Smart Cities. While not a solution in itself, this product is a powerful component of solutions that establish action-oriented ecosystems, creating a step change in increasing productivity by supporting the redefinition of processes under which decisions can be made and actions taken.
The UK company is seeking license agreements and technical cooperation, with companies and public bodies facing challenges with cross-industry data integration. They are likely to service the government sector such as Smart Cities, consulting them about the technology, or the use cases.