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December 21, 2017updated 02 Jan 2018 4:42pm

Christmas set to unleash an avalanche of defunct IoT devices

Ill-advised computing platform choices are producing short-lived devices and wasting investment.

By Sabrina Dougall

Christmas will cause “a generation of defunct devices” by flooding the market with useless Internet of Things paraphernalia. In fact, industry experts predict the majority of connected devices bought this festive period will be obsolete by 2020.

With Garner predicting a colossal 8.4 billion connected devices in use in 2017, Couchbase researchers have found that ill-advised computing platform choices are producing short-lived devices which can waste investment.

Many are turning to edge computing as a smart alternative to chasing lemmings off the cliff of slow internet speeds; it is a truism that a service running in the user’s hand can operate better than one continually accessing a server hundreds or thousands of miles away.

IoT

The Tesla Model S EV has a camera, radar and ultrasonic acoustic location sensors to facilitate an autopilot mode.

Indeed, Business Insider Intelligence estimated last year that 5.6 billion IoT devices (both private and public) will leverage edge computing for data collection and processing in 2020. Data experts at Couchbase assert that computing at the edge will be essential for smart devices to meet expectations – meaning a product should be able to perform at least essential functions regardless of its connection. For instance, a driverless car must be able to navigate traffic in the absence of a network failure, and an industrial device should still record performance and offer diagnostics without interruption.

“Unless organisations can focus on computing at the edge, they will end up with a generation of defunct devices and services that simply cannot live up to expectations,” said Perry Krug, Principal Architect at Couchbase. “Consumers and workers want devices that do what they need, not ones that aren’t fit for purpose the moment any signal disappears,”

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The good news is that prudent computing platform choices can empower staff both within and beyond the IT department.

“2018 will be the year that self-serve IT goes mainstream, as organisations look to become more agile by decentralising IT and empowering internal teams to drive more of their own innovation,” said Ross Mason, Founder and VP Product Strategy at MuleSoft.

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“IT teams will start to teach employees and partners that ‘There’s an API for that’. When the need arises for a new digital function, such as the ability to connect to a SaaS application, non-IT teams will learn to browse the API marketplace to see if that capability already exists.”

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