IoT time series data is ‘of the hour’, says InfluxData

IoT time series data is 'of the hour', InfluxData

InfluxData, which specialises in time series data management, has shared details of recent customer implementations with a particular focus on IoT. 

Time series data is a big deal in the IoT. A time series is a series of data points collected at regular intervals and indexed in time order – the sort of reading you might see, for example, from a smart electricity meter in a home or from meteorology kit for forecasting the weather.

It is data that typically arrives in volume and requires careful handling. InfluxData may be one of many data analytics players, but with its focus on time series data, it’s a significant player in a small, but important subsector of that market. Its open source software enables developers to build monitoring, analytics and IoT applications.

The company’s product proposition centers on deployments where the data output of IoT devices and sensors sometimes necessitate changes to systems in near real time; that is, where developers will need to make changes or updates to IoT systems in order to address how those devices and sensor behave.

Read more: Basho CTO: It’s high IoT time for time series data

Unique? Well, different

The company says that IoT data is ‘unique’, in that sensors deliver time-stamped or time series data in order to measure change over time – for example, a rise in energy consumption when a family returns home or the different speeds of gusting winds over the course of a particularly stormy night.

So InfluxData works to provide managers of IoT deployments with a direct view into the state of each device at any given point in time.

Bboxx, for example, is a venture-backed company developing software to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world. Its core product is a plug-and-play solar system and the company is an InfluxData customer.

“Bboxx collects performance data from its portfolio of 50,000-plus IoT solar home systems currently deployed across East Africa,” explains David McLean, the company’s lead developer. “Performing real-time analytics on each incoming data stream, [we] can monitor system performance, analyze customer usage patterns and alert on unit failures or customer tampering events.”

Spiio, another InfluxData customer, provides a sensor and software solution for remote monitoring of vertical living ‘green walls’ and other high-value plant installations. Spiio uses sensors to understand plant performance from data.

“InfluxDB was a tech enabler for our vision of bridging the gap between things and people,” says Jens-Ole Graulund, chief technology officer at Spiio. “Having permanent access to time series data and plant analytics, InfluxData reveals trends and enables data-driven decisions, not only for green wall maintenance but also for its design – for green walls built to perform.”

Read more: Honeywell launches analytics hub to ‘listen’ to smart buildings

It’s time for time series data

So is time series data ‘of the hour’ when it comes to the IoT? Well yes, but InfluxData is by no means unique its willingness to embrace this subset of data analytics.

Hitachi Vantara (specifically within its Pentaho product line), works in this space, as do other companies, including Redis Labs, Microsoft (part of the Azure cloud is specifically offered in an optimization format for time series jobs) and IBM. Then there’s a whole host of small time series database specialists, too: RRDTool, Graphite, Prometheus and Druid. 

Regardless of who is spinning the spin about the importance of time series data, what they tend to have in common is an emphasis on building custom logic, user-defined functions (UDFs) and machine learning libraries. These allow customers to perform streaming analytics on time series IoT data and create alerts when dynamic thresholds are reached.

But InfluxData is clearly making a few waves, with a customer roll call that includes automaker Tesla, US department chain Nordstrom, and online auction site Ebay. Maybe it’s time to keep a closer eye on time series data. 

Read more: HPE Aruba weaves new fabric for analytics-driven IoT security

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Highways England details its V2I plans for roads ‘of the future’

Highways England has set out its plans on how V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) technology in connected vehicles will be used to improve the nation’s road network.

Connected cars offer a huge opportunity to optimise Britain’s congested roads to improve safety and reduce journey times. Roadside infrastructure can report data into cars such as traffic density, and the range of sensors in the vehicles can be used to relay information back  such as dangerous road conditions.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

This government is making people’s journeys better, faster and safer to give people better access to jobs, schools and their community.

We are planning to spend more than ever before to upgrade England’s motorways and major A roads from 2020 through to 2025.

As the government’s authority on the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the nation’s motorways, Highways England has been looking into how this data-sharing can be used. In a report today, it’s set out its vision.

'Safe, efficient, and reliable journeys'

If you’ve used Britain’s roads, you'll be all too familiar with potholes. In a car, they’re uncomfortable but don’t often pose much danger. For bikes, however, they can throw a rider off and cause serious injury — or even death.

Connected motorbikes are not something often brought up in conversations, but data from any vehicle type will help to improve the experience for all road users. Highways England wants connected vehicles to automatically report potholes so the most serious can be prioritised for repair.

The authority also wants to lay around 700 miles of high-speed fibre optic cables along the busiest motorways to beam live travel information to car dashboards. Some of the motorways specifically mentioned include the M1, M4, M6, M25, M40, and M42.

The system will be an update to the existing ‘smart’ motorway network introduced in 2016 which uses electronic gantries to close lanes and change the speed limit to ease congestion.

In the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring, 61 percent of motorists believe congestion and journey times on the motorways have worsened in the last 12 months. In October, a report claimed that jams cost the economy £9 billion per year.

Beyond using connected vehicles and roadside infrastructure, Highways England intends to employ drones. The drones will be used to fly overhead and report back on incidents to improve response times.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said:

We are delivering a record £15 billion of government investment to give people safe, efficient, and reliable journeys, and provide businesses with the links they need to prosper and grow.

Because people’s journeys are important to us we are setting out our high-level aspirations which will help ensure the network continues to drive economic growth, jobs and prosperity, and keeps traffic moving today, and into the future.

The report will be used to inform the government’s next road investment strategy which begins in 2020.

What are your thoughts on Highways England’s plans? Let us know in the comments. Latest from the homepage