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Translating the Internet of Things

In our last blog post about the Internet of Things, we mentioned the constant buzz around consumer IoT and the emerging interest around enterprise IoT. Sometimes relating to consumer applications can help us in better visualizing enterprise applications. For example, HP's “Instant Ink” program; using printers is something that we can all identify with. The “smart” printer detects when supplies are low, places an order for replacement cartridges, and sends them to your mailing address along with a postage paid recycling mailer to return your empties. For a small monthly fee, the consumer wins with competitively priced ink, isn't required to remember to place an order each time ink is low, and never needs to hunt for the replacement cartridge number. HP wins by ensuring that HP ink gets placed in its printers instead of competitors' brands, cartridges get returned (and not refilled by non-HP ink), and the environment is saved from more plastic print cartridges. Smarter printers and happier customers. This is the IoT in action.

 

While the above example is a consumer one, it's easy to translate to the enterprise where automating processes, using device data, cost and time savings, and making decisions based on the most accurate information are crucial to success. In the enterprise, however, the data being produced is voluminous, the existing infrastructure is diverse, and the magnitude of the tasks is greater and much more critical.

 

During a recent business trip to Europe, I had the pleasure to hear firsthand how Red Hat customers are putting the Internet of Things to work for them, in ways that translate to real world value.

 

Smarter Energy

I learned about Linky, a project to equip 35 million French households with smart meters by the year 2020. The goal of the smart-metering system is to decrease electric usage and lower fuel costs for consumers, while complying with carbon emissions regulations and increasing the bottom line for a large utility company. To do so required starting with a subset of customers (300,000 to date, with plans to grow to 3 million in 2015) and being able to rely on an intelligent system capable of handling the large volume of incidents, alarms and logs generated from the multitude of smart meters. The utility company chose Red Hat JBoss BRMS as its rules engine coupled with in-memory data caching software Red Hat JBoss Data Grid to process all that field information while also controlling thousands of additional communication hubs and multiple information systems.

 

Smarter Cities

In Spain, the city of Malaga takes smart metering a step further by hosting Europe's largest eco-efficient city initiative. Led by Endesa, Spain's leading electric utility, a consortium of 11 companies and 14 research organizations has developed a smart grid architecture consisting of city-wide smart metering, communication systems, grid automation, distributed generation and storage, and a smart vehicle charging infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was chosen as its underlying operating system due to its ability to respond to extremely high and demanding workloads, its use of open source to provide compatibility of the various components, and its advanced features for energy efficiency.

 

Turning IoT Vision Into Reality

In the IoT, the ability for newer, smarter devices to communicate with each other, with field gateways, and with back-end datacenters requires data to be processed into information in different ways and in more than one location and direction. By choosing to collect and monitor data from the device level, the addition of a field gateway or controller makes it possible to perform field level data analysis and prompt actions based on pre-defined business rules. Summary data is relayed to the back-office or cloud for deep analysis and the knowledge gained determines how best to optimize the system, allowing for new rules to be set to improve process flow. The constant feedback loop between tactical field operation and strategic process analysis allows decisions to be made as close as possible to the edge of the network. This results in reduced transmission costs and quicker decision time horizons, crucial factors in enterprise IoT implementations.

 

This is where Red Hat is focused on providing powerful technologies and support for our customers. With solutions that don't lock customers into proprietary data formats, along with a broad array of choices for messaging and API standards, Red Hat offers the crucial security and encryption needed for enterprise-class implementations. If you are interested in learning more about how Red Hat helps enable the Internet of Things, you can sign up for our newsletter, visit us at www.redhat.com/embedded or attend our upcoming virtual event, "Building data-driven solutions for the Internet of Things," on April 23, 2015 - you can register at http://bit.ly/1y5TDPO.