We produce data at a rate of more than 2.5 quintillion bytes per day. According to a report by International Data Corporation, a total of 41.6 billion IoT devices will be online, contributing to the creation of over 79 zettabytes (that is equivalent to 79 trillion GB) by the end of 2025.
Businesses are now focusing more resources on IoT technology, meaning they have a lot more data than they need to take care of. But what do you do with all this data? You need to make it work for you and bring you some monetary benefit, and the best way to do that is to analyze and extract useful information from all this data.
Here are a few ways through which you can prevent your IoT data from going to waste and make it generate revenue for your business instead.
Step 1: Collect the Right Data
The first step towards using your collected data for business decisions is to make sure that the data you are collecting is going to be relevant to you. Ultimately, the data you collect should, in some way or other, relate to your revenue-generating activities. Therefore, it is wise to be very particular and selective about your data collection instead of hoarding unnecessary data that will not be of any value to you in the future.
It is also important to note the duration of data collection time period. It should be pre-decided on how long any kind of data will be collected. This also prevents unnecessary data collection.
Another important factor to consider is how long you plan to store the data. Will you be needing the data in a month’s time? What about a year? Five years? Or ten? Decide wisely.
Step 2: Store the Data in the Right Manner
When you start collecting data, you will need to store it in a proper manner. The data produced by each individual IoT device will be different and unique.
The thought of a standardized data storage format is enticing. However, when it comes to IoT devices, structuring your data is not that simple. In fact, most data collected from IoT devices is unstructured. That is why analyzing IoT data is a much more complicated process.
Therefore, you need to be careful about the storage process for the data from the moment it is produced by the IoT device to the point where it is transferred to a permanent location. The filtration of unnecessary data can start right at the creation stage. The useful data can then be passed onto whichever communication channel you choose to implement. Further processing can then be carried out after the transfer is complete.
Also, remember that most IoT data can be easily compressed. This could save you a lot of storage space.
Step 3: Store Data in the Right Place
You now have a lot of data, but where can you keep it?
You may eventually need to break down the data to make more sense of it. However, some of the data needs to stay in its original form for analysis. Data lakes are the best option to store such a high volume of raw data.
At this stage, you need to take into consideration the different factors at play. What is your budget? Do you have a rough estimate of how much storage space you will require? What about future prospects? Will your data grow linearly, or perhaps exponentially? You may decide to go for a cheap yet scalable option. It depends on your business requirements.
Now, you may have two viable storage options. Even for non-IoT data, the local vs cloud storage comparison is a very common one. The same applies to IoT. You could either purchase on-premises storage space or rent storage services on the cloud. One thing you can do is go through the comparison of Heroku vs AWS. Both of them are great options for cloud storage. All service providers have their own pros and cons, so do your research properly before you pick.
Step 4: Make the Data Usable
When data that is largely unstructured is collected in such a large amount, it is very difficult to analyze it. For this purpose, we need to make sure the above steps are carefully followed.
Many firms fail to turn their IoT data into profitable assets because they hurriedly put their data in a data lake and then they either forget about it or cannot figure out what to do with it. You need to make sure that you don’t do the same.
Step 5: Use the Right Tools for the Data
Data analytics is the last, most important phase of putting your data to good use. The good old BI tools work best for structured data. Therefore, they may fail you when it comes to analyzing IoT data. However, there are now specialized analytics tools available for IoT data that many businesses are turning to.
Analysis can also be done in phases. Some of the user data can be extracted from the raw data right after its creation. This is referred to as Edge Analytics. Other types of data can be sent forward for more in-depth analysis to extract further valuable information at a different site altogether.
Important Note: Ensure Airtight Security of your Data
The aspect of data security is worrisome for both businesses and their clients. IoT data depends wholly on the network. From creation to the storage, it is in transit and can become a target of a network attack during or even after transmission. Therefore, whether you are gathering internal IoT data or data generated by your clients, you need to make sure that the data is safe from all kinds of cybersecurity threats.
Let’s give you a quick recap of the strategy for converting your business’s IoT data into a valuable asset.
- Collect the right data and store it for the right time period.
- Store the data in the right place.
- Make it useful.
- Analyse it with the right tools and using the right techniques.
- Turn it into a profitable asset.
Make sure to take care of data governance principles where clients’ data is involved. The IoT data that you collect may have extremely sensitive or private information. Therefore, you are responsible for ensuring its safety and security.