Advancing Internet of Things Opportunity

Informix binds NoSQL and SQL models for efficient real-time analytics of Internet of Things data

Industry and commerce are entering a new era of computing marked by the expansion of cloud computing, analytics, mobile technologies, and the emergence of the Internet of Things. Evolving beyond just another buzzword, the Internet of Things has become a real structure; billions of connected devices are driving demand for new services, fast development of applications, and real-time access to information.

The huge influx of data from this sensor-driven world creates opportunities for growth and new revenue streams for businesses that manufacture, distribute, resell, manage, or service physical products. Many organizations are already developing plans and experimenting with solutions to take action based on data from gateways and edge devices.

Organizations such as IBM are forging new frontiers in this area. IBM® Informix® database software in particular seamlessly harnesses SQL data and NoSQL and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data on a single data management platform. Informix enables organizations to perform real-time analytics using time-stamped and location-based data. The strength of the combined NoSQL and SQL capability, and the ability to embed the database into gateways and edge devices for local analytics, supports informed decision making, provides cost-effective operational efficiency, and encourages innovation. In this way, Informix offers an intelligent, well-suited database for the Internet of Things.


Combining both models in an intelligent, enterprise-class database

Unlike classic SQL relational databases that use tables, rows, and columns, NoSQL may be built to query groups of documents with loosely defined fields. Benefits of this NoSQL model include easily managing unstructured data, helping reduce development time, and accelerating query response time under heavy load conditions. At the same time, relational databases provide reliability and availability features not available with NoSQL.

The optimum scenario, of course, would be deploying a platform that integrates both models into a single system. That best-of-both-worlds solution is now a reality. Informix has embraced the JSON standard to create a platform that gives developers the capabilities of a leading-edge relational database together with NoSQL document store systems. By implementing Informix, developers can access JSON documents and/or SQL tables through application programming interfaces (APIs) and help simplify the application development process with multiple data formats.


Driving a well-connected experience

These capabilities are already creating tremendous opportunities with solutions that tap into the Internet of Things to enhance experiences and business operations. Informix is designed to offer an intelligent, enterprise-class database for devices, sensors, and gateways that enable local decision making for enhanced business outcomes. One example is the connected car, which uses a variety of sensor-based data and other data to help improve the driving experience. The Informix NoSQL and SQL model allows application developers to combine both structured and unstructured data in a single hybrid application.

For example, an application can compare sensor data from a car’s engine to stored data about the engine’s expected operating performance and determine if it needs a tune-up. Or suppose a car encounters black ice on the road. Sensors can pick up the information and alert the driver. This same alert can also be sent to the cloud to inform other drivers, and the relevant government authorities can be notified to dispatch deicing vehicles. Sensors on the car can also detect abnormal wear on brakes, after which a mobile application can then automatically make a repair appointment and check the parts inventory at the shop to avoid service delays.

Automotive manufacturers can also benefit from sensor-driven technology. Carmakers can use automated inventory management to track consignments moved on multiple modes of transport, reduce lost or mislaid deliveries, and speed time through customs. Similar solutions can apply to a wide range of industries. For example, integration of smart meter data into customer relationship management (CRM) applications is helping utilities conserve energy and build customer loyalty.


Leveraging exceptional design flexibility

Informix1 offers impressive flexibility for designing and implementing applications. Web developers can access data without having to write SQL. However, the traditional SQL model can still be applied when needed, such as for mission-critical transactional workloads. In addition, the coordination time required between developers and database administrators can be significantly reduced with Informix NoSQL.2

Organizations that meet the challenge of unifying structured and unstructured information can gain a competitive advantage and capitalize on exciting opportunities from both worlds by implementing Informix NoSQL. This flexibility, coupled with the capability to embed the Informix database, provides intelligent data management for Internet of Things information.

Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.

1 Visit the Informix website for additional information on Informix and the importance of NoSQL capabilities.
2 Check out the webcast, “Combining SQL and NoSQL Data for Powerful, Big Data Enterprise Applications,” for an inside look at the full scope of SQL and NoSQL capabilities.