The Internet of Things is growing all the time. However, as IoT takes over the world, there are more and more aspects of it that needs to be addressed, such as security and standardization. It might not be ideal to live in a wild west where everything is connected but there are no guidelines or rules for how to manage and analyze these networks. A crucial part of all this is metadata – as data grows in size, the way we label, categorize and describe it will become more important than ever.
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We probably shouldn’t be that surprised – if IoT is all about connecting things that wasn’t previously connected – traffic lights, lamps, car parts – good metadata allows us to make sure those connections remain clear and legible. It helps to ensure that things are working properly. A system without definitions, without words and labels, would, after all, get chaotic pretty quickly.
Metadata makes it easier to organize IoT data
If metadata is, quite simply, data about data, it’s not hard to see why it might be so important when dealing with the expanse of data that is about to be generated thanks to the internet of things. While IoT will clearly largely run on data – information and messages passing between objects, moving within a given system, metadata is incredibly useful in this new world because it allows us to better understand the systems that we are developing. And what’s more, once we have that level of insight, we can begin to do more to further improve and optimize IoT systems using machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Consider how metadata organizes your media library – it would be a mess without it, practically unusable. When you scale that up, we’ll be able to make much smarter use of IoT. Without it, we might well be lost in a chaotic mess of connections.
Metadata, then, allows us to organize and catalog data.
Metadata solves IoT’s interoperability problem
Metadata can also help with the biggest problem of IoT: interoperability. Interoperability refers to the ability for one device to communicate and exchange data with another device. And this is really important in the context of the Internet of Things, because having great interoperability means more devices can connect with each other.
How does metadata solve interoperability? Well, by using metadata, a device can quickly identify a new device that tries to connect to it by looking at its model number, device class, and other attributes. Once the new device has been identified, our device can find a suitable communication protocol that’s supported by both devices to exchange data. Metadata can also be added on the exchanged data, so both devices can read and process the data correctly, just like adding image format metadata allows any application to display that image.
Metadata helps to protect legacy hardware and software
There’s another aspect that metadata can help with. The Internet of Things is an evolving technology where new products are introduced every day, and bring along with them changes and innovations. But what happens to the old products that have been replaced by new ones? With metadata, we can archive and protect the future accessibility of our devices, making sure that new devices can still communicate with older, legacy devices.
That’s why metadata is important for the Internet of Things. There are many benefits that can be gained by having a robust system of metadata in the Internet of Things. And as the Internet of Things grows and is used to manage more crucial aspects of our lives, the need for this system will also grow.
Raka Mahesa is a game developer at Chocoarts who is interested in digital technology. Outside of work, he enjoys working on his own projects, with Corridoom VR being his latest relesed gme. Raka also regularly tweets @legacy99.