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Internet of Things

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FlexRule has seen an increase in requests to help customers with their Internet of Things (IoT) implementations. This post shares our observations about how to unlock the business value of the IoT.

The Internet of Things has been around for a long time. Manufacturers have long used Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to monitor the activity of production equipment. Alarm companies have had monitoring systems in place for decades, providing alerts for intrusion detection, smoke alarms, or calls for emergency assistance.

Today, it is the explosion of devices that is driving the latest round of the Internet of Things mania. Devices like our smart phones, fitness trackers, watches, bathroom scales, GPSs, car key trackers, golf/tennis/baseball swing trainers and more. These IoT devices are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and increasingly Cellular-enabled. This is leading to the proliferation of real or near real-time data.

But what is missing?

The answer to that question is simply “Business Logic“.

On its own, SCADA provides data that can be displayed in dashboards. However, SCADA systems are not just about dashboards – they are also linked to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). It is the PLCs that are creating the business value by taking certain actions. Think of PLCs as a form of Artificial Intelligence – data is received, decisions are made, and action is taken.

The Internet of Things adds to the growing pile of Big Data that can be displayed on dashboards. We can even tell our friends about our morning run by sharing it through Facebook. However, to unlock the Business Value of the Internet of Things we need the equivalent capability of the Programmable Logic Controllers.

This is where FlexRule comes in.

FlexRule enables real-time decision optimization which can rapidly respond to data observations. As Internet of Things devices feed in data, FlexRule acts like the PLCs through its ability to implement business logic in order to take action. This is not just any action. It is high quality, consistent and fast action. FlexRule’s execution of business logic follows John Boyd’s Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA) Loop. The organization that can execute the OODA Loop the fastest wins!

OODA2

As mentioned in the previous post Making Big Data Deliver, “…a brain cannot operate on its own. Artificial Intelligence still needs arms and legs to do the work.” FlexRule provides the eyes and ears to connect the data being received from the Internet of Things by using Business Logic for decision optimization and by providing integration to applications and data sources, which in turn become the arms and legs necessary to perform actions.

Imagine a scenario where our bathroom scales, smart watch and smart phone monitor our weight, body fat index, heart rate, blood pressure and level of exercise. Using healthcare logic these will monitor our body status and when an event is detected, like an unusual increase in blood pressure, will initiate preventive action such as telling us to slow down, as well as sending the information to our doctor (or if deemed necessary, even calling an ambulance!). FlexRule is already being used to help diagnose patients. Now add the Internet of Things and we expand its applicability exponentially.

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The Internet of Things is another advance in technology that will provide us with tremendous business value. However, to make this a reality, the capabilities of FlexRule are needed in order to connect, automate and optimize the real-time decisions as necessary.

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