Machine Data Analytics - The Internet of Things

Arun Jose’s lecture on Machine Data Analytics (Internet of Things or IoT) was our most futuristic guest lecture ever and you could feel the rising undercurrent of anticipation, excitement & enthusiasm sweeping through the classroom. It was also exciting for us to have Arun address our students, as he has previously worked with Redwood Associates, the parent company of ATI in a strategic role.

After a brief introduction from each student, just to gauge their background and level of understanding to tailor the lecture accordingly, Arun began his session.

From the above interaction, it was evident that, for most of the students, Analytics & IoT were buzzwords which needed exploring. The students were cognisant of the fact that the value of traditional roles in IT and other domains were fast being eroded and what they needed to do is swim with the tide and not drown in it.

The lecture itself was extremely informative for everyone. IoT is an amalgamation of analytics, technology, software, hardware and infrastructure. They learned how IoT has an hierarchical structure with all connected devices at one end, collecting, sorting and managing the data that it feeds to the other end. So ultimately, for all practical purposes, it is the data that needs to be worked on and that’s why Analytics is so intrinsic to IoT. But unlike traditional scenarios, IoT has opened up a plethora of new dimensions and perspectives for the analytics professional.

After defining and putting things in their place, Arun’s approach for the next part was the extremely effective case study format, albeit short and simple. He gave us the example of a manufacturing firm building and installing Connected Windows in homes and offices across the world. The project was going well until some of the windows started malfunctioning. It was then that the firm realised that those connected windows have been constantly sending back the data collected by their sensors, but the firm itself had no clue about what to do with it. Only when data analysts were brought in to understand all the variables, parameters and scope of the data, could the problem be solved.

Another awesome example that Arun showcased was related to a steel plant. The plant had massive blowers used for cooling purposes. They were state of the art devices each having a large number of sensors. Together, they generated data points that numbered in the hundreds every second. Such massive gigabytes of data overwhelmed even the most data-savvy people. As Arun emphasised, cases like this are going to be the challenge of the future that require innovative thinking, novel ways of applying analytics and state-of-the-art tools that can manage and model huge amounts of data in realtime.

Arun also stressed that the tentacles of IoT will reach far beyond just industries and businesses. From smart homes to local mesh networks, IoT will encompass everything and, where there is data, there will be Analytics.

In conclusion, the lucid and conversational approach of the guest lecture endeared everyone. The opportunities are so immense that it boggles the mind, but, to surge ahead in future, we better be ready today.