By Omar Elloumi
The first meeting of the new ITU-T Focus Group on Data Processing and Management (DPM) confirmed that "data is the new oil", fast becoming powerful fuel to innovation in a wide range of industries and public-sector bodies. It also highlighted that cities are in clear need of guidelines to help them navigate a myriad of technologies, avoid "lock-in" to services offered by cloud or platform providers, and structure their overarching data-management strategies in a way that delivers value to citizens, businesses and application developers.
The content of the meeting was "fresh" and appealing to cities, local governments and both start-ups and large industry players.
I went home with four key takeaways that I believe are important to share with Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data communities:
1. Blockchain technology is booming, but its applicability to the Internet of Things (IoT) and DPM remains to be investigated.
A presentation from a Beijing start-up, Tai Cloud, made a case for new technology advancements to overcome the known processing limitations of blockchain technology, advancements which would ready blockchain for prime time.
NEC Laboratories Europe added that industry should think "out of the box" to ensure that the application of blockchain technology makes business and technical sense in the context of IoT and DPM. The applicability of blockchain technology to IoT and DPM will form an important part of the Focus Group's future work.
2. Cloud-native IoT is emerging as a key enabler of sustainable growth in cross-domain IoT and DPM.
A presentation from oneM2M made a case for scaling IoT and DPM using cloud-native principles and related open-source projects.
Much of the growth in IoT will come from data mashups and cross-domain use cases. Platforms must scale horizontally, avoid single points of failure and support techniques enabling high throughput and low latency – in line with cloud-native principles – to keep pace with and monetize ever-increasing data volumes.
A case for IoT fault detection and isolation using machine learning was also presented as a possible DPM application relevant to data analysis.
"The web of things is ready for prime time from a technology perspective, but it remains in need of two key ingredients for market success: more industry adoption; and the convergence of Big Data and semantics…"
3. Cities need help understanding the DPM value chain to guide their issuance of related tenders.
Dubai, a leading Smart City, highlighted that discussions around DPM should not be limited to their technical elements. Understanding DPM value chains and data-driven business models will assist city leaders in supporting the incremental growth of a city's data economy, to the point that it becomes integral to a country's GDP.
A representative of the European Commission highlighted the importance of appropriate legal frameworks and fair market practices. Data portability, for instance, is a key stimulant to market competition, but at the same time, the absence of appropriate standards for data formats will render data portability regulations ineffective.
4. Semantics provide a fast track for Big Data and analytics, if current innovations are transferred from research labs into industry and convergence with big data takes place.
I have spoken in the past about the issue of "selling" semantics engineering to industries and I still think that more work needs to be done in this regard. The value proposition of semantics is the discovery and integration of data sets with little to no programmer intervention, which is the only sustainable solution to data explosion.
The web of things is ready for prime time from a technology perspective, but it remains in need of two key ingredients for market success: more industry adoption; and the convergence of Big Data and semantics, two fields today not converging fast enough.
Omar Elloumi IoT evangelist and thought leader at oneM2M and Nokia Bell Labs and CTO group
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