We're so excited these days about our next event. In May, we're heading down to our Mexico Development Center (MDC) in Guadalajara to run a 2 day Internet of Things (IoT) hackathon. The MDC office which recently topped 700 extremely talented people so we can't wait to see what they can do in a hackathon.
The MDC team
So what is the Internet of Things? The Internet of Things are all the sensors and devices that are interconnected--electronics,
software, sensors that are exchanging data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other
connected devices. "Smart” devices, such as alarms, heating systems, refrigerators, and cars to store data and communicate with one another. If you weren't familiar with the term before, you might have seen it this week after Amazon and IBM made big announcements about their IoT ventures and investments. In Amazon's case, they are turning everything you own into a potentially "smart" device -- its wireless buttons that let you order more of something simply by pressing the button you affixed to your washer, refrigerator or other place in your house or office. It's taken one-click shopping to it's extreme, since you don't even have to be logged into the Amazon website.
Amazon's new Dash button
IBM, on the other hand, is putting a lot of money into their IoT division so they can work on building a platform for all of these connected things. Big data is going to be getting even bigger as all of these separate devices are out and sending signals. According to Gartner, Inc, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. I've seen suggestions that we have 14 billion sensors connecting devices now and by 2020, that number could be over 100 trillion. That's a lot of devices creating a lot of data. Or as IBM's Senior VP of IBM analytics put it "Our knowledge of the world grows with every connected sensor and device, but too often we are not acting on it, even when we know we can ensure a better result.” IBM is looking to put more into what to do with all this information we'll have access to over time.
And IBM and Amazon are only this week's big news on the IoT. There are a lot of companies looking at how to get more involved and either get us more connected or figure out what to do with all the new information. And with all that data and inter-connectivity, now there are more groups worrying about the security aspects of the IoT. Senators are calling for some oversight and the FTC has responded by creating a new division, the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI), that will focus on this “next generation in consumer technology.” In addition to privacy and security, says the OTRI also will keep an eye on everything from connected cars, smart homes, big data and “emerging payment methods”.
I've been reading a lot on the IoT over the last few weeks, and thinking about use cases in the enterprise. There are some great connected home stories, but we're really interested in the enterprise focus. So this hackathon will be a great opportunity to get some very talented minds working on ideas for specifically enterprise use cases.
To get started, we're going to give each of 10 teams a Raspberry Pi and an assortment of sensors so they can build out a POC over two days. Originally, the Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized single-board computers was developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. But they have grown in popularity and after only a little more than three years, the charitable foundation has sold 5 million of them.
The Raspberry Pi
Each team will get two sessions ahead of time to learn more about programming a Raspberry Pi and find out more about the hackathon. Then mid-May, we're going to give them all the toys and let them loose to create! We'll be using this space to tell you more about our plans and some of the awesomeness that comes out of the event so check back here soon.