The coming of the Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to feel a bit like Y2K in terms of its intimidation factor. The closer we get to having an IoT-enabled society, the more we hear about how woefully under-prepared we are for it. The latest region targeted for its painstaking lack of readiness is Saudi Arabia. In its economy section, the Saudi Gazette featured the thoughts of Samer Ismair, a MEMA network consultant at Brocade (News - Alert) Communications, who considers the myriad costs and responsibilities wrapped up in IoT, leaving us to ponder whether any of us, not just Saudi Arabia, can take on such a challenge.
IoT isn't happening overnight, but compared to other life-changing technological innovations, it's coming upon us pretty darn fast. In the last decade alone, Ismair points out, progress in technology has been so accelerated that things that not too long ago seemed destined to belong to the elite, like the Internet-enabled smartphone, are a part of everyday life for all sorts of people. Ismair refers to recent research published by the consulting and analysis firm IDATE, which shows that by 2020, 80 billion "things" will be connected to the Internet. That's a staggering number, and 2020 is only six years away.
Many have questioned whether humans are psychologically prepared for IoT, just as many have argued that cities and homes will have to be drastically overhauled in order to support it. The new research suggests yet another problem with the IoT boom that is due to arrive any year now: networks.
Network providers in Saudi Arabia have a mountainous task ahead of them if they want to get networks up to speed with IoT. First things first, Ismair advises, these providers must adapt to virtualization, if they haven't already. Not only is virtualization essential to modern data centers, it’s a necessary building block for IoT. Providers will also have to consider investing in Ethernet fabrics to go with their virtualized data centers.
Ismair says that the "development and success [of IoT] will depend on the commitment and foresight of network operators." That's to be expected, but what's interesting, and arguably, rather alarming, is the scramble entailed in the preparations. IoT is an evolution of technology, and evolution is natural and indeed intended for survival. Why then, is this so development so dread-inducing?
Edited by Rory J. Thompson