June 19, 2014

What can IOT industries learn from the Jungle? – “Smelling” signals that matter


Today’s IOT(Internet of Things ) world is a complex web of sensors - connected building, digital oil fields, smart meters, connected cars, smart cities, and wearable’s like fitbit.  

This is also a fast growing market and according to IDC by 2020 the market for IOT will be $8.9 trillion with 212 billion connected things. This is an astronomical phenomenon taking shape and the “sensor jungle” around us is exploding. 

This explosion is also triggering off an avalanche of new data streams, unprecedented in history from micro sensors which are constantly tweeting their state (very similar to the jungle where birds are constantly chirping :) 

So, what opportunities are unfolding when this irreversible and massive digitisation, the scale of which we have never seen before plays itself out?

Fluturas Data Scientists looked to nature for inspiration … The biological world is a complex web of micro interactions between the various species to maintain overall eco system harmony. Our Data Scientists framed 1 powerful question

·        How can IOT industries use principles of Bio mimicry ( the science of mimicking nature for engineering solutions )?

The answer to this question has inspired several design principles we encoded in our Cerebra Signal Studio platform.

In the biological world of jungle a species is able to survive because it is able to sense and respond to a few vital signals around them. It is very important to know which “noise” patterns to ignore and which “signals” to process.

Let’s deep dive into a concrete example … In the forests the ability to see patterns in the way birds chirp is crucial. The bird calling patterns is a proxy signal for the presence of wild animals in the vicinity. If one is unable to detect these signals one loses situational awareness and becomes extremely vulnerable- and in many cases just dies! The ability to detect patterns is key to survival in the biological world.

Key Learning
There are a vital few signals key to Situational awareness and survival

So what implications does this have for industries impacted by IOT– Oil n Gas, Autonomous vehicles, Utility, healthcare wearable’s etc.  Flutura strongly feels that they increasingly need to focus their attention on making sense of the world around them. The IOT industry will soon start developing capabilities to industrialize the ability to detect real time patterns from sensor data .

We feel that survival in IOT marketplace will be predicated on capabilities which enable them to triangulate the vital few patterns and detect them in real time before it becomes an existential threat. These could be asset behaviour patterns, Operational patterns, breakdown patterns ...all of which are buried deep within petabytes of sensor data.

For example one of the Cerebra use cases for next generation digital oil field Fluturas Data Scientists have developed consists of  triangulating last mile signals to proactively trigger an asset intervention which in turn affect HSE risk outcomes.

Another Cerebra use case Flutura instantiated involved solving the problem of demand response in electric grids using granular sensor data by “smelling” detailed bottom up neighbourhood demand signals.

We at Flutura strongly believe that going forward for the IOT industries, data is the new oil which is going fuel success in a hyper competitive world. What discriminates the winners in the IOT market place from the rest of the crowd is - the ability to “smell” signals and respond to them at scale in real time ! In the coming years as the ecosystem matures, IOT driven industries, specifically Oil n Gas, Utilities, Automobiles, Healthcare, Smart cities etc. will start mimicking the biological nervous system  ( which is the most complex pattern detection engine )

So if you are in any of the IOT driven industries here is a question to ask - “Which are the vital few signals we should “smell” and respond to at scale in real time in order to remain competitive in the IOT world?”


As the Guns n rose’s song goes “Welcome to the (sensor) jungle”!!! :)

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