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What opportunities does a connected world offer?

While determining an exact figure on the scale of growth in the Internet of Things marketplace is difficult, all research proves that market is excelling. Some estimates suggest that as many as 50 billion devices could be connected by 2020, while others put the figure in the region of 20-30 billion. This will likely challenge the existing systems, but global technology developments are expected to deal with those issues successfully.

Forbes has found that nearly three in four executives have researched or launched an Internet of Things project so far in 2017, showcasing the prominence of increased connectivity.  According to Machina Research meanwhile, the Internet of Things will be worth a staggering $3 trillion a year by 2025 – for perspective, the total gross domestic product (GDP) for the UK in 2016 was $2.63 trillion .

Adapting and developing technology

While current computing technologies have brought us a long way, a system, in which an enormous number of devices are connected in a single network, requires new organisational structures and methods for information processing. Cloud computing is a fantastic example of why we need to adapt existing technologies to meet the needs of developing technologies.

Cloud computing is organised around the principle of centralisation. Data is sent from individual devices to a central data cloud storage and vice versa. Though this data transfer can occur at incredibly high speeds, the issue of latency still exists. In other words, there is still a slight delay between the information being sent and received, particularly when high volumes of data are involved. This delay becomes an issue in the case of developing technologies that rely on prompt decision making and the urgent need to communicate data. 

Utilising data in more efficient ways

 A self-driving car is the perfect example of this type of technology. Such vehicles need to be able to communicate with other vehicles in close proximity and make split second decisions if they’re to remain safe. However, self-driving cars generate such an enormous amount of data that communication between the vehicle and a central cloud server becomes problematic and the car potentially dangerous.

One potential solution to this problem is edge computing, which turns each networked device into cloud servers, reducing the strain placed on centralised clouds and allowing far quicker and more efficient data transfer. If you consider the amount of networked devices in circulation today, that’s an incredible number of potential cloud servers waiting to be exploited.

Utilising data in the right way will be an essential part of maximising what is possible with connected devices. This is where edge computing may help open up a whole new world of possibilities. By limiting the amount of data being stored in and communicated to central cloud servers, edge technology is revolutionising the organisational structures that underpin our networks and creating a system in which data moves quickly and efficiently between a whole host of devices and appliances. From a connected perspective, there are likely to be few limitations on what it will eventually be possible to link.

Read our related blog: Why data is increasingly vital to research and development
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