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Internet of Things 'to transform' how firms manage data

A huge influx of information into businesses' data centres as a result of the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to fundamentally transform the way companies store, manage and analyse their data.

This is according to Gartner, which predicted that by 2020, there will be 26 billion items in use around the world that are able to generate data and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate more than $300 billion in revenue.

Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner, said these deployments will create huge amounts of information, much of which will have to be processed and analysed in real-time.

He added: "Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centres, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges."

As well as the physical and hardware challenges that this will create for businesses, the software tools firms use to manage their growing digital assets will need to be reviewed closely. For instance, database solutions will have to offer extremely fast performance and high levels of scalability in order to cope with the increased demands they will be under.

Because much of the information being generated by IoT items will be unstructured, how this is organised and managed within databases will also be a consideration that must be taken into account.

Taking advantage of technology such as cloud databases may also be highly useful for businesses, as Gartner suggested the amount of information could overwhelm traditional data centres and connectivity options.

Joe Skorupa, vice-president and distinguished analyst at the firm, said: "IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed. Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable."

IoT is set for a major push in the next few years and it has the backing of several governments as a way to boost the global economy. Earlier this month, UK prime minister David Cameron announced his country would be investing £45 million of funding into research for the technology.