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IoT for the Industrial Internet workshop defines key research questions

Internet-enabled sensors and devices that network and communicate with each other – often called the Internet of Things (IoT) – are considered by many to be the next grand challenge in big data. While the constant connectivity of the IoT offers the potential to improve our economies, communities, and health, it also presents new challenges.

The National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) recently held a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored community workshop to address the growing challenges and opportunities related to the IoT for the Industrial Internet.

Hosted by Cisco Systems, Inc. at their San Jose, Calif. global headquarters, the workshop brought together thought leaders from industry, government, and academia with expertise in data science and the IoT in multiple business domains. Their objective was to define a thoughtful, cohesive research agenda, which will help the NSF guide future research priorities.

Three keynote speakers offered a focus and structure for participants. Steve Lohr, technology reporter for The New York Times  and author of “Data-ism,” spoke to the philosophical buildup of the IoT and its grand potential for the future. Lohr’s take-aways from the workshop are summarized in a recent article on The New York Times tech blog, Bits.

Lance Donny, creator and CEO of OnFarm – an IoT platform for farmers and food producers – spoke of the practical IoT applications now used in the agricultural industry. He defined the ages of farming as pre-industrial, industrial, and the new age of Ag 3.0.

In this age, according to Donny, “We’ll see every plant sensored. A sensor will be put on a seed when a plant is sold and it will follow the plant through its lifecycle.” This type of monitoring, says Donny, will provide farmers the data they need to repeatedly produce hearty crops and consumers the transparency they increasingly demand to understand how, when, and where their food is grown.

Peggy Irelan of Intel delved into technical aspects of the IoT, including the safest and most efficient ways to move IoT data to the edge.

According to Irelan, “When dealing with the IoT, the most important priorities are that it be trusted and actionable.” Without these characteristics, she says, the big data era is nothing more than too much information.

Workshop participants produced a list of key IoT research questions designed to focus future attention on the most important challenges and opportunities related to the IoT: security, analytics, privacy, standardization, movement, and future talent to drive the IoT workforce.

The NCDS will publish a white paper outlining the research recommendations developed at the workshop. To be notified of the white paper’s publication, please email us at info@datascienceconsortium.org, sign up for our newsletter, or find us on Facebook.