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Industrial Internet – Changing The World?

The Economic Times on Sunday carried an interesting cover story today – Dream Machines. It spoke about Industrial Internet or ‘Internet of Things’ as it is popular called. Internet of Things means any physical object can connect to the internet and communicate with other objects to relay information to people. To realize its full impact, three primary digital elements – intelligent devices, intelligent systems and intelligent automation – should merge with physical machines, facilities and networks.

Popular examples include : John Deere Tractors lets dealers to remotely diagnose prelims using sensors on the vehicles tied to a wireless link. Union Pacific railroad has sensors on its tracks that take 20 million readings a day to predict when a wheel is at risk of failing. Vail Ski Resorts has RFID tickets that track skiers and let them know how many vertical feet they covered in a day.

Everyday we create data from everywhere: from sensors gathering climate information, posts on social media sites, digital pictures and videos posted online, transaction records of online purchases, customer usage patterns, cell phone GPS signals and machines in the industry, to name a few. Companies can mine these big data to find trends and potential customers to place ads, do predictive analysis, detect fraud, manage risks etc. Collecting and analyzing data will help companies to avert fires, machine breakdowns and air crashes, forecast natural disasters with greater accuracy.

Data is the key in all of these focus areas and the role of Data Scientist is very important. Data Scientist is the sexiest job of 21st century. A data scientist is someone who finds rich data sources, works with large volumes of data, cleans the data ad makes sure that data is consistent, melds data sets together, visualizes that data and buds tools that enables others to work with data effectively.

It is indeed an interesting story and speaks of the next level of evolution of IT. Machine 2 Machine is the same thing. There are more SIM cards than human beings.

The story highlights the importance of using technology to solve more important challenges of the world. Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media comments:
Thanks to the industrial internet, there is a growing sense in the global tech community that we should be doing much more impotent than filtering social gossip to target ads. Our world has higher priorities and we want to be in involved in solving them.

He notes that the latest issue of MIT Technology Review has captured that feeling: the magazine has a picture of Buzz Aldrin on the cover with the line, “You Promised Me Mars Colonies. Instead, I Got Facebook”. Wise Words !

Yes – Today’s IT Wizards should focus on more intelligent and complex solutions. It is like the famous Steve Jobs line to Sculley – Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling cola or do you want to change the world?

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