What is IoT? What is this Internet of Things? If you look it up, there are a number of definitions. Here are a couple
"Uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an internet-like structure" - Wikipedia
"The Internet of Things represents an evolution in which objects are capable of interacting with other objects. Hospitals can monitor and regulate pacemakers long distance, factories can automatically address production line issues and hotels can adjust temperature and lighting according to a guest's preferences, to name just a few examples." - IBM
If I wanted to venture out with a definition, I would put it as: "Physical things enabled for digital identification and connected to other things such that they can exchange data to serve a purpose, all without human interference". The connection itself might or might not be using the internet, but the key thing to note here is the LACK of human interference. To step back a little bit, we have had machines "talking" to each other for years now. Computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. But, if you notice, they are almost always communicating at the behest of a human being. The IoT proposes to take it one step further where machines can generate, transfer, analyze and act on that data.
Let us consider an example. Cars have had sensors of various kinds generating a lot of data but most of it was never used. But, now the US Govt is considering mandating all automobiles sold in the US by 2020 to have capability to “recognize and talk” to each other while on a highway to avoid accidents. While you obviously need a number of sensors that can detect another car, you also need the capability to store that information so it can be used to act appropriately in real time. That is where an embedded database comes into the picture.
Today a typical embedded device is great for collecting and forwarding data for a single device, but in an IoT world, there will be many devices and customers might want a consolidated view of all of them. To continue with the car example, imagine a number of sensors sending information about the car behind it – one that sends a picture of the car behind it, a second that sends the GPS coordinates, another distance info (maybe via sonar-like detection), etc. All these are generating different types of data. You want your car to be able to intelligently consolidate all of it to understand whether the car behind is a threat to it.
Also, these devices generate a huge amount of data and in typical embedded devices collection space is limited. The variety and volume of data make it a Big Data problem.
Having an enterprise class database embedded in that car would be helpful in handling all the above requirements and also makes it compatible with your central repository which maybe is in a cloud.
Informix database software incorporates design concepts that are uniquely suited to the challenges in today's embedded devices, resulting in extremely high levels of performance and availability, distinctive capabilities in data replication and scalability, with no administrative overhead. Some major features are:
- Easily embedded in a device with an install footprint and memory requirement as low as 64 MB.
- Has built-in support for time series and spatial/GIS data.
- Has analytics built into the database.
- Supports JSON/BSON and SQL apps simultaneously in the same database allowing to handle a variety of data sources.
- Easily scales-out across multiple devices.
- Has built-in autonomics with self healing, self configuration and automation with the DB scheduler.
Embedding Informix in consolidation devices on the edge of the network of IoT allows for:
- Complex store and forward capabilities with transformation and aggregation of data
- Business decisions made on the edge, closer to the producer of the data
A number of customers already recognize the value add that embedded Informix brings to the table. Especially from an IoT perspective, Shaspa has chosen its devices to be powered by embedded Informix.
Shaspa is a European company that is into providing Smart Solutions. They built a Smart Home Solution gateway device to manage and interact with Security, Entertainment, Health, Voice and Gesture recognition and that connects TVs, computers, mobile devices to smart meters, lights, appliances, plugs and sensors. The solutions portfolio of the device allows immediate responses to local events to analyze larger trends and insights into costumer behavior.
To conclude, the embedded database is very critical for IoT devices in a number of instances. IBM Informix is a leader in that space and a perfect fit for processing data from IoT devices. For more information on Informix Embedded Database, go to http://www.ibm.com/informix/embed.