Internet of Things - overview
An Internet of Things is a combination of interconnected entities, each reflecting a certain degree of behavioral autonomy, adaptiveness, sensing, and interaction with the other things it is connected to. Connectivity may use a variety of topological forms, and may also use self-configuring, adaptive, complex network that interconnects the ’things’ to the Internet through the use of standard and/or proprietary communication protocols. Things themselves are either physical (e.g., a person wearing smart-glasses, a connected refrigerator, or a robot) or virtual (e.g., a cognitive agent such as Siri or Watson). All have a uniquely identifiable, programmable representation in the digital world, with reachability to the physical world via sensing/actuation capabilities.
The representation contains information including the thing’s identity, status, location or any other business, social or privately relevant contextual information. The things offer services, with or without human intervention, through the exploitation of unique identification, data capture and communication, and actuation capability. The service is exploited through the use of intelligent interfaces and is made available anywhere, anytime, and for anything taking security into consideration.
IBM Research has put a significant focus on research in the area of Internet of Things, with strategic work in IoT being conducted across three key areas.
In the Platform area, we are researching technologies that can make a more scalable cloud based platform for IoT, and support the unique requirements of the Internet of Things domain, which have a workload generated by sensors and devices, and requires a much more adaptive real-time processing of information, and a high degree of scalability.
In the Edge area, we are addressing the challenge that in many IoT scenarios, data cannot be moved to a cloud platform due to latency, security, privacy or bandwidth considerations. IoT information needs to be analyzed and processed at the edge, near where it is generated. The research in edge area considers issues at the IoT application and data analytics domain, which are addressed by external research communities in concepts such as fog computing for data networks and mobile edge computing for telecommunication networks.
In the Solutions area, we are creating new solutions that apply cognitive computing technologies, both in the cloud and in the fog/edge context, to create new IoT Solutions. These include creating new solutions for cognitive buildings, employee safety, elderly wellness, home insurance, cognitive dialogs, streaming IoT data discovery, Industry 4.0, automotive and several other solutions across industries.
The IoT research area spans many different labs in the world-wide research organizations, with major hub of activities in Yorktown, Dublin, Zurich, Haifa, China and India Research Labs.