It’s perhaps not entirely intuitive that the Internet of Things will be an entity that will require searchability, but a recent paper makes the case that the IoT will place unique challenges on the search industry.
The article argues that with the number of IoT devices booming, and smart city data projects rapidly coming on stream, there’s a pressing need for simple ways for this data to be searched for. Existing search engines, whilst enormously capable, are not really set-up for the kind of numerical and sensory data that IoT devices will typically gather.
A New Kind of Search
The authors go on to advocate a new kind of search engine that will increasingly be used by machines, searching for data from other machines. What’s more, the searches themselves will be automatically generated, and depend heavily on things such as the location of the device. Driverless cars, for instance, will need to be able to rapidly find data for the location they are in, whether that’s traffic information or weather data, and the vehicles will need to be able to do this automatically without any human input.
This will present obvious challenges around security, especially as many applications rely on public data, thus requiring them to be accessible enough for users, but also secure enough to prevent them from being hacked.
A lot of work in this area is being conducted by the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, where author Dr. Payam Barnaghi is based. The work includes developing mechanisms for searching data sources, and for clustering time-series data generated from IoT devices.
“Search engines have come a long way since their original purpose of locating documents, but they still lack the connection between social, physical and cyber data which will be needed in the IoT era. IoT data retrieval will require efficient and scalable indexing and ranking mechanisms, and also integration between the services provided by smart devices and data discovery,” the authors say.
“IoT technologies such as autonomous cars, smart cities, and environmental monitoring could have a very positive impact on millions of lives. Our goal is to consider the many complex requirements and develop solutions which will enable these exciting new technologies.”