The Internet of Things (IoT) is booming. As consumers, we often think of it as "things" such as Nest thermostats, SmartThings-controlled home appliances, Fitbits or Apple watches. Of course, the IoT also extends deeply into commercial environments as more devices used in places such as factories, hospitals and schools become broadly connected. Within these buildings (as within our homes), data from heating, cooling and power systems that not so long ago were at best linked to a building-level management system (or not connected at all) are now available on the cloud courtesy of the IoT.
A venture capital firm in Detroit, Center Electric, compiled the graphic above (http://cen.vc/market/) that nicely shows the breadth of the IoT.
Spend a minute looking at it, and you can see the central role played by companies that offer cloud and data center services.
- Providing the connectivity that enables information to flow from the "things" to the (often cloud-based) applications that make the data useful
- Delivering the core compute power needed to store and process the huge amounts of data involved
- Providing API- and cloud service-level capabilities that make it easier to develop, optimize and secure IoT applications
- Even providing some of the "things" themselves and their associated apps or services
At Packet Power, we're immersed in the IoT in two ways. Our core customer set provides data center services and is a primary driving force behind the IoT. It's exciting to help them make their facilities smarter. Moreover, we are ourselves an IoT company. We've developed a full-stack set of IoT "things", with a broad range of networked power and environmental monitors that utilize a low-energy wireless networking protocol that we developed ourselves to make it easy to securely gather energy information. And our cloud service processes billions of these readings each month for companies in over 30 countries around the world.
When we started Packet Power, our vision was to drive better insights into energy usage by making it easier and more affordable to monitor, collect and analyze energy usage information wherever it was of value. Our first product, a smart power cable, seems now like an obvious IoT "thing". We didn't know that our wireless smart power meters and environmental monitors would become part of a much larger IoT revolution, but we're happy to be one example of the way the IoT can bring innovative answers to long-standing challenges.