An exciting trend is emerging for machine to machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). Georgina Elrington spoke with Judson Althoff, Oracle’s senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels and embedded sales, to find out how the data flow from internet-enabled devices will aid business decisions, bring competitive advantage and speed time to market.
Judson Althoff, Oracle: There are roughly three billion Java-embedded devices and around 6 billion total connected devices out there today. But, frankly, this is the tip of the iceberg when you start looking at the impact of machines communicating with machines (M2M) and the Internet of Things, both of which are in their infancy when you cast
them against where they will be three to five years from now.
One trend that I’m really excited about is that they are colliding with Big Data and that’s feeding a strategy here at Oracle regarding our device-todata- centre work. It’s our belief that to succeed you need to think about the two together, beginning the process with the end in mind, and build out a true device-to-data-centre platform and strategy.
M2M Now: What do you think are the main challenges facing the businesses involved?
JA: There is a need for an integrated M2M solution that will bring true value to your customers. The challenge here is that you need an ecosystem, and this is one of the reasons why I think that the M2M industry has yet to really explode. In my job I have the pleasure of meeting a number of device manufacturers who are creating incredible technology, but they’re looking at it solely from a device view.
In order for devices to integrate with traditional core ERP, middleware and database solutions, the ecosystem needs to be creative. That’s actually one of the areas where we’re stepping up to help facilitate growth in the industry.
With a network of 25,000 partners and nine million Java developers around the world, we’re investing in tools to link together end-to-end devices with the types of solutions that we think the market needs before it can take off. We’re also working with more than 10,000 independent software application companies to address vertical markets, encouraging collaboration with device manufacturers to build on top of a platform, like our Oracle-engineered systems, that can truly scale.
Another challenge relates to the time to market. The burden of the development cycle for intelligent devices can make it difficult to get a product to market before its very concept becomes obsolete. Also, consider the plethora of devices where logic needs to be transported from one to another.
This concept explodes even further when you start thinking about the fabric of all these devices collaborating, such as in the automotive sector where the M2M capabilities are increasing every day. Intelligent integration is required to manage the exploitation of the volumes of data feeds. Oracle is attacking this at every layer of the stack and can
bring tremendous value in harnessing the power of Java, as well as help shorten the time to market.
M2M Now: Can you tell us more about the ecosystem?
JA: Effectively, we’ve done for the enterprise what Apple did for the consumer device market: We’ve married the hardware and software together. Our Java community can really attack the problem of creating an intelligent, aware and alwaysconnected device ecosystem, industry by industry.
For example, in the financial services sector we’re building secure elements, from the data centre to the device, into everything from mobile phones to digital wallets. This approach can also be applied to the healthcare, transportation management and industrial control markets.
M2M Now: What and where are the opportunities for M2M businesses?
JA: Visit any consumer electronics store and you’ll see that everything from a power strip to a washing machine is becoming a smart device. So, right the way through from the module manufactures to the appliance manufacturers, there’s potential to harness technology.
However, today’s Big Data problems are an effect of the six billion devices out there. When those become 50 billion, and then 100 billion, the magnitude of associated data issues will increase consequentially. Wiring M2M and Internet of
Things communities together with vertical market solutions is where the systems integrators will benefit greatly.
Another hugely valuable element for corporations is the ability to pull from vast, and often disparate, data sources to extract a more accurate story on a customer, supply chain or growth projection in a product lifecycle. We’re going to see a tremendous amount of investment in this space that will help correlation and integration. Tools such as real-time
intelligence and analytics can already be implemented using engineered systems, like Oracle’s Exadata Database Machine, and these will be integral in turning internet-enabled devices into real business opportunities.
M2M Now: Do you have any real life examples you can share with us?
JA: Yes, the oil and gas mining sector is a good example of how Java, on the front end of devices and a connected data centre strategy, can provide great business value. Many of the sensors and devices in this sector, such as drill bits, operate in ruggedised environments that are too extreme for human access.
One of the inherent capabilities that we’ve built into these devices is the ability to update them remotely. You can actually change the data requests, send new business logic to tweak microcode, issue software upgrades and even pull
populated data for intelligence to, for example, identify potential drilling sites.
M2M Now: And finally, how does Oracle fit into the grand scheme?
JA: As well as helping companies get to market faster with a better product, we can help them deliver products that will be part of a bigger picture. While we believe that no single company can truly deliver complete device-to-data-centre solutions, we do feel that we’re the only company with the technology platform to enable those solutions to be created, from Java on the smallest devices, all the way through to the Big Data, backend and load systems.
There’s a phenomenal opportunity and we’re just excited to be a part of it and investing in the growth of the market itself.