The rise of IoT data exchanges
By Chiaren Cushing, Director, Business Development – Mobile Technologies & IoT, at Equinix
As the IoT expands, global data exchanges help firms capitalize on the information flood.
The volume of data projected to traverse global networks in coming years keeps getting more mind-bending, and the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) is a key driver of this data flood.
The value of all this information is potentially massive, but capturing raw, unprocessed data is a little like scattering the words of the world’s great novels onto a figurative floor. The data doesn’t mean much until it’s organized in ways that enable it to be properly interpreted. That’s where IoT data exchanges come in.
Data exchanges are where IoT-generated data sets are combined and then refined through data analytics, and all this information takes on real value. These exchanges are places where organizations partner to identify patterns and draw conclusions about the information or see ways they can monetize the data.
In short, data exchanges help companies discover, sort and take advantage of the growing wealth of data. And Platform Equinix™ offers the interconnection solutions that can enable these exchanges, so companies can deliver on data’s true – and expanding – value.
Mining data’s hidden value
We entered the zettabyte era for global IP traffic just two years ago (1 zettabyte=1 trillion gigabytes), but now Cisco says traffic will more than triple to 3.3 zettabytes by 2021. One of the fastest-growing drivers of data traffic is the machine-to-machine (M2M) communication at the heart of the IoT, which Cisco says will expand at a 49% compound annual growth rate between 2016-2021, as the IoT grows to connect tens of billions of “things” worldwide.
This growth in the IoT has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and this revolution is one of the themes of the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The data sets being generated by the IoT today are massive and diverse, with myriad uses – often beyond what a company collecting it intends or can fully exploit.
For example, a person ordering a gift via a smartphone isn’t just providing information about their buying preferences. Data points like the time of day or location of the purchase might be of interest to companies besides the retailer, including ad servers or market analysis firms. Increasingly, we see companies across industries licensing their data to third parties to generate additional revenue streams or leveraging their data to create new business models or new products. Data exchanges are where these companies can come together to make this happen.
Enterprises that participate in these data exchanges can buy, sell, share and subscribe to the complete array of data sets that are connected to the exchange. The opportunity to mine these huge stores of data is unprecedented, and companies now have a chance to benefit from insights they didn’t even realize were available.
Samsung Electronics has already launched an IoT data exchange platform called the Artik Cloud Monetization for Internet of Things. Samsung says as the rise of digital and the IoT forces hardware manufacturers to shift from selling actual appliances to selling hardware-as-a-service, they’re having trouble recouping the costs associated with offering free applications and setting up ecosystems that support their products and services. Artik Cloud aims to provide a complete data brokering, metering and payments system that can help hardware developers tap into the value of the data they’re producing – and offset their own costs – by allowing others to use it for their own products and services.
And in Japan, about 100 companies are working to open an IoT data exchange by 2020. There are thorny issues to tackle, as there are no clear rules for using data collected through the IoT. But Japan accounts for about 40% of the global market for sensors, and an exchange can help these companies better trade the data streaming off these devices. That could inspire new products or services and help companies recover the costs of installing the sensors.
Secure, global data exchange
It’s clear that secure data exchange platforms that have truly global reach will be an essential part of the IoT ecosystem going forward, as will the data monetization platforms used to trade data between organizations in a secure and structured manner.
But to be successful, a data exchange must provide its members with safe, reliable and efficient access to its data across regions in almost real time.