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IoT Places Huge Demand on Search Solutions for Future

Specialists in next generation communications state how internet search engines will need to advance in order to support the Internet of Things (IoT) through which numerous devices will become connected.

A simplified data discovery framework in the IoT. The data sources and also the raw data needs to be published and indexed in index/discovery servers and a search and discovery mechanisms should be able to find relevant data and/or sources to obtain the data based on contextual (i.e., time, location, type, etc.) information. (CREDIT :University of Surrey)

Complex future technologies such as autonomous cars, smart cities, and environmental monitoring will require machine-to-machine searches that are automatically created based on preferences, location, and local data.

New requisites will include the ability to access sensory and numerical data, and providing secure means of accessing data without allowing any hackers to get to it.

An article showcasing the current research in this area by academics at the University of Surrey and Wright State University (USA) has been published in IEEE Intelligent Systems.

A new article published in IEEE Intelligent Systems emphasizes the demands the Internet of Things (IoT) will place on search engines and consolidates the latest research being conducted in this field. ‘On Searching the Internet of Things: Requirements and Challenges’ has been written by experts working in the field of next generation communications at the University of Surrey’s Institute of Communication Systems (home of the 5G Innovation Centre) and Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge Enabled Computing (Kno.e.sis) at Wright State University (USA).

Since IoT devices are increasingly being connected to the internet these days and smart city data projects are starting to be implemented, there is a pressing need to create new search solutions which will allow data from IoT sources to be located and extracted. Although current search engines have very advanced and effective techniques of crawling through web pages and locating textual data, the article debates that those will not be effective in accessing the type of sensory and numerical data which IoT devices will need to collect.

The article explains that formerly human users have searched for data on the web, whereas the IoT will see more machine-to-machine searches which are automatically produced based on preferences, location, and local data.

Autonomous vehicles, for instance, will need to automatically gather data (such as weather and traffic information) from different sources without a user having to do much.

The IoT also has to overcome a challenge - cyber security. Applications which depend on public data, such as smart city technologies, have to be highly accessible to make them available to a broad range of services and applications. Search mechanisms for these devices will have to provide efficient processes of indexing, crawling and locating data while guaranteeing the data is protected from hackers.

The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre – the largest hub in the UK for research into next generation communications– is undertaking several projects in the field of IoT search engines. These include creating search mechanisms that illustrate the sources of the data required, and formulating algorithms for clustering and analysis of IoT ‘time-series’ data.

The article’s lead author Dr Payam Barnaghi (a Reader in Machine Intelligence at the University of Surrey), says: “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.”

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.

Dr Payam Barnaghi

The second author of the article, Professor Amit Sheth of Kno.e.sis, comments: “I see tremendous opportunities to effectively utilize physical (especially IoT), cyber and social data by improving the abilities of machines to convert diverse data into meaningful abstractions that matter to human experiences and decision making. IoT search, particularly for devices or machines to interact with each other to find and aggregate relevant information on a human’s behalf, will become a critical enabler.”

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