"If you live on planet Earth, then you've probably used our software." Big bold words from German data-centric software firm Software AG.

German ‘softwarehaus’ Software AG is working to refine its Internet of Things (IoT) approach with an extensive set of ‘streaming analytics’ technologies, but how does so-called ‘actionable intelligence’ really play out in the real world of smart connected devices and how should we regard the real nature of IoT data?

A strategy for the unknown

US defense secretary under George Bush and established businessman in his own right Donald Rumsfeld once said, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

As tautological as Rumsfeld’s quote sounds, he touched on an important reality i.e. the unknown and our need to define, measure, quantify, consume and manage it, even if we don’t know what it actually is.

Software AG CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich: no single vendor can provide the IoT on an end-to-end basis.

Software AG CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich likes to talk about the unknown element in data centric businesses (especially those working to grapple the IoT) because, he says, enterprises are facing change due to consumer/customer centric issues.

A market of one

One of the major challenges facing firms is that they will need to communicate with customers via multiple channels, yet get to a point where each individual feels that he or she is a ‘market of one’ i.e. a level of customization and personalization has been achieved where each customer feels like they are the only person being supplied with a product or service.

This is an especially big ask given the still-nascent nature of the IoT where products and services (and the data that they channel) are still in a state of flux and early-stage development.

Streibich insists that a key strategy will be involving customers in product design itself, in this way we will be able to mould the IoT to the shape of consumer demand — with some customers logically consuming that data in enterprise environments as well.

“It is great news for the enterprise too – the industrial Internet (or Industrie 4.0) and the Internet of Things will have a much bigger impact on digitalizing the world than the social or consumer phase ever had. The business opportunities will be correspondingly large. We are still in the early stages of the IoT and the who, the what, the how and the why of the industrial Internet are all wide-open issues,” Streibich told Internet of Business, at a briefing held this week in the Italian capital Rome.

Greatest integration program, ever

For his money, Streibich insists that the industrial Internet is the greatest integration program that man (or indeed woman, or gender neutral person) has ever seen.

“For the enterprise and for government services, coping with the uncertainty of new data streams and the IoT means having your IT and business departments use common tools, speaking a common language and co-developing new applications as rapidly as the market demands,” said Streibich.

Reißen Sie das Regelbuch auf

Streibich has gone to pains to explain how his firm has ‘ripped up the rule book’ (Reißen Sie das Regelbuch auf) and worked hard to re-invent itself internally as a new digital business capable of working in the connected IoT industry 4.0 economy. Indeed, back in 2015 the firm partnered with Indian software integrator and consulting outfit Wipro to develop IoT software for smart, connected products.

We also know that Software AG has formed a strategic partnership with Bosch, also for IoT technology advancement. But the question is… how and why is it harder to architect data and software in the world of the IoT, unknown or otherwise?

Programmatically speaking from a software development point of view (but still in plain English, for you, dear reader) what this is all about is creating software worlds that have been specifically engineered and architected to continuously analyze data that comes in streams (as you would imagine from an always on always connected IoT device) in order to try and allow us to make intelligent decisions in very short timeframes.

The role and goal of IoT software

Ultimately, the role and goal of IoT software and its consumption and analysis of data is to be able to intelligently evolve system behavior to navigate around threats to system or device health (and so feed a higher level data engine) in real-time. Onward from this point, that higher level data engine will allow us to use IoT data to control the rest of the world with more connected analytics (again in real time) on a constant basis.

For more commentary emanating from Software AG’s Rome event read here.

The breadth of the IoT landscape according to Software AG