connected

The idea of a connected world is more of a reality than science fiction. But what does it really mean? What are the benefits?

The idea of how technology interacts with the real world is something that has inspired me for a very long time. A chance visit to a dairy farm in 2000 meant I got a chance to look at the tech around farm. At the time what I saw blew my mind. There were systems setup to open gates remotely, monitor irrigation and check the health of cattle to the level of knowing each cow’s milking program and if she was producing at her peak all this from an ear tag.

As advanced as the technology was at the time, they were all stand-alone systems only connected within local network, not to the wider internet, let alone the cloud or your smart phone. Even still, I knew it would only be a matter of time before all these devices became part of the wider connected world. With these devices connected it would be a game changer .

The digital revolution

(or the third industrial age) is the new reality for most industries with jobs, processes and organisations changing rapidly to keep up. This new era is being changed by new communication technologies and the drive for data that is being generated from these new technologies. What we do with all this data is what will show our strengths, weaknesses and offer up new opportunities. Industry is not the only aspect of life to be impacted by these next wave of technology as data generating devices make their way into our everyday lives through technologies such as smart phones, health trackers, all looking for ways for us to become more productive, efficient and sustainable.

How we personally or on an industrial scale capture, store and analyse data is going to be what transforms these connected devices into the potential game changes that we expect them to be. The sheer amount of data collected or with the potential for collection, has led to the development of technologies that can store this big data and allow for entries to be retrieved on demand in real-time. Big data is everywhere but what use is it if it’s kept in silos and out of reach? We need this to be available in a format and a system that can be compared to other datasets to really extract true value from it. Whether they are from another data source, time or from a secondary source. This is what will make our data smarter.

It would be easy to dwell the potential negatives that are in the press when it comes to this technology. The big brother society, the fear of what is known about us without our consent. These are all great concerns and shouldn’t be ignored. The positives in my mind far out way the negatives. The ability to become sustainable in how we live, work and utilize resources can only be a positive.

Going back to the situation at the farm, we now have systems connected to the internet and in most cases (not all) the cloud. Those of the cloud are able to be controlled from anywhere collecting and storing data for access from connected devices.

This is great, but not the holy grail.

Many of these systems are still With systems storing and viewing data within their individual systems the multitude of sensors coming online requires uniform processing to be able to align the data sets and start to bring some sense to it all. With manufactures and providers all developing systems that operate independently within their own ecosystems the industry is calling for standards and unification.

With all these sensors collecting data and all these controllers waiting to receive a command why haven’t we got full integration with already? That comes down to openness the ability to extract data from one system to create comparisons with another.

Combining the data will not only enable systems to talk to each other it will allow for the combining of results from these currently siloed datasets. Although this sounds like it should be a relatively easy task the lack of standards makes this challenging.

Autumn

It is a combination of all these challenges that we undertook with the development of Autumn. Autumn is a cloud based IoT dashboard that allows users to connect to 3rd party systems through our provider’s library or to post data through to the API directly from hardware bridging the gap between hardware and big data store providers.

Over the time that Autumn has been in development we have identified a wide range of issues that would benefit from the platform, but our company passion is how we can use these technologies to benefit environmental monitoring and control. We have used this passion to build Autumn as an opportunity to put technology towards good, supporting those who are looking at making technology advances in agriculture, land  care and communities. We are focused to delivering a product that we hope will bring benefits to those trying to do such fundamentally important work.

We have taken learnings from our beta users and core working base to build a system that is as intuitive to users in these industries as anything else they use in their day to day. This should also be support with workflows that take minimal learning to get an understanding of. By offering support for both commercial grade hardware and development boards we open up the platform to experimentation and learning. Our aim is to make Autumn simple and your data smart.

Autumn is coming out of invite beta and is now commercially available at http://www.itisautumn.com

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