ThingBook: a face on assets and IoT -things


Rethinking some of my articles on the success of IoT and the phases it goes through, made me think of one of IoT's use cases: Asset Management. If the number of IoT applications is indeed growing as expected - and there is no sign it wouldn't - and we also start with the interoperable IoT applications, how in the world are we going to manage all the devices itself. Think of it:

  • How many devices do I have

  • What is the condition of my device

  • Who is each device and what does it do

  • Which device is mine

  • What does my device look like and where does it reside

  • How old is my device, and what device is doing what

  • What device is not mine, but still affects my IoT application

  • What devices act as the "busses" to inter-operate to other chains of devices (interoperable IoT)

Now, go back to the above list and read through it again ..... think ... read again .... isn't this all about, "Who am I", "what do I do", "whom am I linked too", "what do I like to do" ...?? .. .. it is, isn't? Now what makes that thinking you off ...? ..... of course !! an environment that puts faces on our assets; a book that provides an overview of all devices that we know or are related too. We need a ThingBook!

We need a ThingBook

What should ThingBook look like? Of course ThingBook itself should be a cloud based application running on a cloud platform. We can access everywhere, any place and any time. ThingBook's core objective is that it should be a master platform for managing IoT devices and clusters of IoT infrastructures. It resides within the Cloud platform of the IoT architecture which furthermore composes of following three elements:

  1. IoT Devices: the sensors itself

  2. Control Devices: Device interfaces to IoT devices

  3. Cloud System - managing the IoT data exchange

So where would ThingBook reside? It would need to have a place on the IoT core cloud platform as indicated above. Don't misunderstand; ThingBook will not take over the data streaming and data-interchange between the platform, the devices and it's control devices. That remains as is and is handled by IoT streaming services with their underlying algorithms and databases. ThingBook's objective is to provide insights in the asset management of the devices. These are the IoT devices themselves (where, what, from whom, etc ...), but also the control devices since we need to see who or what "likes" our IoT devices and interacts with them. ThingBook should be able to cluster IoT devices in lists and groups. Every day we get informed on what device has it's "annual maintenance birthday"

If ThingBook really wants to concur the world, it should be capable of handling interoperable IoT architectures too. See below: one central book with faces of any IoT device my environment, organized by IoT architecture, but overseeing them all. The core of ThingBook is of course that our devices publish their status updates:

  • how is my conditional status today

  • is it my maintenance-birthday

  • am I reconnected to other clusters

  • with whom is my IoT device friends, and in what cluster does it reside

  • IoT devices can respond to each-other when they are "connected" in a cluster. Responses could be about one device "waiting" for another one

  • IoT devices tell who they are, where they live, how they look like and many more "personal" information

  • ..... well, you'll understand my point now ...

Given the dazzling growth of the number of devices the newt few years, I sincirely believe we need an all overseeing application like ThingBook. Let's not inform Mark Z.. about our idea if ThingBook; he might steal it :-)

ThingBook and analytics

This is a website on analytics, isn't it? And ThingBook is about managing assets. So where does analytics come in? Well the number of IoT devices this year already hits 6.4Billion growing to 20Billion in 2020. I don't have to explain you that simply getting insights in what are my devices, where are they and what's their status, cannot do without proper business intelligence. The numbers are so enormous .. the changes in status of an IoT devise is so huge .. consolidated overview are a "sine qua non". I am building a sample dashboard as we speak, and will show you soon. But if you can't wait, there is a nice example here.

SAP Innovation Center Network

SAP's Innovation Center Network (ICN) already had a head-start on similar ideas as ThingBook. They act as the Digital Innovation center and have tremendous experience with projects like the Digital Workspace or SmartCities to name a few. In all of these projects they handle the IoT device management the ThingBook-way. Smart people there with ICN!

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