Intel: M2M data tsunami begs for analytics, security

Petabytes of data from entire cities or global deployments of sensors, boiled down into actionable metrics that can produce tangible results. That’s the future of M2M deployments according to Intel, and the chipmaker claims it’s not far away. Rick Lisa, the company’s director of M2M global business development, spoke to a gathering of M2M developers at the Telit DevCon event, held on the eve of the CTIA’s MobileCon show in San Diego.

Petabytes of data from entire cities or global deployments of sensors, boiled down into actionable metrics that can produce tangible results. That’s the future of M2M deployments according to Intel, and the chipmaker claims it’s not far away. Rick Lisa, the company’s director of M2M global business development, spoke to a gathering of M2M developers at the Telit DevCon event, held on the eve of the CTIA’s MobileCon show in San Diego.

“Moving big data around is not the object. It’s all about analytics, and doing something useful with the data is key to increasing M2M deployments. Our goal is simple – we want to enrich the lives of every person on the planet with M2M and cloud solutions,” said Lisa. He cited a Harbor Research study that projects 15 billion connected devices moving 35 trillion gigabytes of data at a cost of $3 trillion annually – all by 2015.

Intel (Santa Clara, USA) breaks down M2M deployments into a stack of four platform domains: sensors and controllers; “the edge”, where data from these devices is gathered; the cloud, where the data is stored and managed; and the client, where that data is ultimately evaluated.

The company, which already provides technology to most data centers in existence, sees tremendous need for data analytics and security throughout the stack, as evidenced by Intel’s recent acquisitions of software developers Wind River Systems (Alameda, USA) for embedded device management and McAfee (Santa Clara, USA) for security.

“Security is the number one underestimated need by enterprises considering M2M deployments today,” said Lisa.

He also maintained that devices enabled for touch, speech and mobility were going to proliferate across the M2M ecosystem, which would require networks with greater bandwidth and increased, distributed computer power. “We’ve had a reversal, where the consumer experience is driving expectations in the enterprise. People are starting to ask, why can’t I do the same things in my business that I can do on my cell phone?” said Lisa.

Clearly, the company is taking an interest in M2M that is new, if only for the increased emphasis that it’s placing on driving deployments. Lisa was careful not to overstate Intel’s potential influence, claiming the company cannot do it on its own – he noted that Intel currently partners in the M2M space with visualization software maker VMWare (Palo Alto, USA), module maker Telit (London, UK) and enterprise software giants SAP (Walldorf, Germany) and Oracle (Redwood Shores, USA), among others.

Pushing interoperability may be one area where Intel can assert itself. The company has its own specification for interoperability, but the specification is a very open set of recommendations, and has never been a requirement for Intel participation in an M2M project. Lisa said recent work by groups like Open Mobile Alliance, One M2M and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) was having an impact on the development of technical standards for interoperability.