The Internet of Things (IoT) has really come of age. Whereas just a few years ago it was something of a niche issue, today IoT is of great significance to every level of the business, right up to the board. This is because the power of IoT to deliver business-changing transformation is just now being fully understood.  IoT is not only about technology, it is about the most fundamental aspects of how organisations operate and build robust new service models; leveraging the customer insights that the new wave of IoT-generated big data can bring to businesses. These insights allow businesses to deliver enhanced quality of service, reduce their costs and tailor their propositions more closely to customer requirements.

The recent win of the America’s Cup by ORACLE TEAM USA provides a useful example of this. ORACLE TEAM USA managed to win this historic sailing race in spectacular style – coming back from near-certain defeat to quite literally cruise to victory. While the skill of the crew was fundamental to this win, so too were the more than 300 sensors on-board the craft gathering critical data on everything from strain on the mast to the strength and stability of the hull –  generating one gigabyte of data every day the boat was in the water.

This data enabled ORACLE TEAM USA to improve day after day, using real-time and historical data analysis to optimise the boat itself and help the crew perform at the highest levels. This gave them a huge competitive edge in the short term and in the longer term will allow the entire structure of the boat to be redesigned for greater efficiency.

For businesses, the results can be similar. By taking in-flight data from the entire IoT ecosystem, businesses can hone their operations in the same way – giving them both the agility to respond to real-time market conditions, as well as extend their operational intelligence for longer-term organizational and service improvements.

As mentioned the success of ORACLE TEAM USA was enabled by more than 300 sensors, a number which for many businesses today, working in areas from agriculture to healthcare to automotive, may be on the low side. Businesses can have a great deal more in addition, including a range of other connected devices. In fact, connected devices are proliferating at an incredible rate. There are around six billion total connected devices out there today and it is predicted that this number will have grown to 50bn by 2020. Further, IoT will provide businesses with significant amounts of data which can be used to both understand long term trends and enable true real-time decision making.

For businesses to be able to sweat their data assets effectively, it is vital that every stage of the IoT data journey is addressed as part of a wider whole, and that an organisation’s IoT platform is engineered to unify devices with the data centre and have both work in harmony towards a clear goal: extracting the most useful insights quickly.

To maximise the value of data it must be accessible across critical operational systems, from ERP and CRM to specialist vertical applications. Security is also an important part of this process; essential both at the data centre and at the network edge. A successful IoT infrastructure must be built on the foundation of robust and secure technologies and practices that protect the business from external threats and deliver compliance with relevant security and regulatory requirements.

There are many elements that need to be managed in an IoT infrastructure: from smart devices that can process data locally, through intelligent gateways (hubs) with advanced event processing capability enabling local and immediate decision making, management of the traffic and data between the network and devices, to decision support systems to deliver actionable information to business users.  These diverse systems must be brought together into a seamless and coherent whole.

Oracle’s Internet of Things platform can provide such an end-to-end solution. This platform enables businesses to deploy a holistic IoT solution – from Java embedded on the smallest edge devices and gateways, all the way through to the applications in the data centre.

At the device end, Java Embedded provides the platform that enables the intelligence on the IoT device. Java Embedded is a standardised and platform-agnostic porting layer; it can enable the rapid deployment of applications across a huge range of devices and operating systems. In fact, Java is well established and already running on 3bn devices worldwide, making it perfect for nearly any size of embedded system – such as patient monitoring devices, smart meters, sensors and edge gateways.

Within the data centre, Oracle delivers the core functionality required to turn massive streams of data into real-time information. Such insights are central to the transformation and improvement of the business. Oracle enables structured and unstructured data to be processed, analysed and integrated with transactional systems in real-time, providing actionable business intelligence and supporting better informed decision-making throughout the enterprise.

With engineering teams committed to developing the Java platform and embedded data management systems; the back-end database, middleware and analytics technologies; and the extreme performance hardware that turns data into insight, only Oracle can deliver the integrated, reliable and secure Internet of Things  platform that enables a complete, engineered system. It is the approach that helped ORACLE TEAM USA win the toughest sailing race in the world, and it is an approach that can help your businesses breeze past the competition.

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