The Database and IoT - An Important Union

December 10, 2015

Contributed by Mathieu Le Faucheur

Fifty billion connected objects will invade the market over the next five years, according to some predictions. However, when we are talking about connected objects, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT), multiple platforms and technological solutions come to mind. We are living in an interconnected era where many smart devices communicate with each other in order to meet the various needs of the users.

The Internet of Things often brings to mind refrigerators that tell us to buy milk and houses that complain through our iPhones of lights left on. But IoT has huge implications for businesses as well as just consumers. According to Gartner, by the end of 2016, IoT will probably reach 6 billion devices, up from the 4.9 billion in 2015 and investment will reach $7.3 billion by 2017. In addition, in 2016, the growth rate will be approximately 26% in the B2B sector, representing almost 2.4 billion connected devices. According to Deloitte, almost 60% of the income in this market will come from company purchases.

Companies have already begun to launch initiatives in this field in order to improve their digital transformation. For instance, Orange SA, the French multinational telecommunications corporation, launched its strategic plan called “Essentials 2020” to ensure the company’s presence in all the steps of their value chain depending the type of the object. This kind of connectivity will eventually have an impact on the automobile and the insurance sector, for example. We can easily imagine that with the development of connected cars, a car manufacturer will be able to suggest to drivers appropriate insurance services based on data.

France is well positioned as an IoT leader in fact. French President François Hollande celebrated the opening in June 2015 of the largest center in Europe devoted to IoT companies. Funded with state and private money, the center in Angers, France, will ultimately house 60 IoT start-ups.  

A Single View of Data

With the emergence of more connected objects producing more data and new kinds data will come the need to understand it in the context of existing corporate data. That means storing it quickly without structure but combining it later with structured data so a more meaningful picture emerges. Postgres enables companies to achieve this seamless integration with features called Foreign Data Wrappers. These features, built for Hadoop, MongoDB, MySQL and other databases, enable Postgres to display data from these “foreign” sources in relational tables using the JSON datatype as if it were native to Postgres. Using SQL, DBAs can query the data, doing reads and writes back to the original data source.

EnterpriseDB (EDB) is leading the way in creating a new generation of these FDWs that are more powerful than prior iterations. EDB, for example, created a new FDW for MongoDB and for MySQL with read and capabilities, releasing them to the community via GitHub. (Follow the respective links to download.)

The explosive rise of mobile, social, web and other applications of engagement have pushed companies to expand their solution portfolios. Today, a data center is a patchwork of technologies for managing data coming from relational databases, NoSQL solutions or other specialized extensions. By combining these various data sources, IT has a holistic vision over important entities such as clients and partners.

It is clear that the Internet of Things will help facilitate the digital transformation of companies, especially in their capacity to understand in real time consumers ‘needs in order to provide them an efficient user experience. The strategy of putting a spotlight on the end user is a real competitive advantage and it underlines the database’s importance in today’s process of digital transformation. It also shines the spotlight on the critical role Postgres will play as the Internet of Things continues to expand.

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