Adv Topics: The Internet of Things and Web 4.0

The IoT is the explosion of device/sensor data, which is growing the amount of structured data exponentially with tremendous opportunities (Jaffe, 2014; Power, 2015). Both Atzori (2010) and Patel (2013) classified the Web 4.0 as the symbiotic web, where data interactions occur between humans and smart devices, the internet of things (IoT). These smart devices can be wired to the internet or connected via wireless sensors through enhanced communication protocols (Atzori, 2010). Thus, these smart devices would have read and write concurrency with humans, where the largest potential of web 4.0 has these smart devices analyze data online and begin to migrate the online world into the reality (Patel, 2013). Besides interacting with the internet and the real world, the internet of things smart devices would be able to interact with each other (Atzori, 2010). Sakr (2014) stated that this web ecosystem is built off of four key items:

  • Data devices where data is gathered from multiple sources that generate the data
  • Data collectors are devices or people that collect data
  • Data aggregation from the IoT, people, Radio Frequency Identification tags, etc.
  • Data users and data buyers are people that derive value out of the data

Some of the potential benefits of IoT are: assisted living, e-health, enhanced learning, government, retail, financial, automation, industrial manufacturing, logistics, business/process management, and intelligent transport (Sakr, 2014; Atzori, 2010). Atzori (2010) suggests that there are three different definitions or vision on the use of IoT, which is based on the device’s orientation:

  • Things oriented which are designed for status and traceability of objects via RFID or similar technology
  • Internet-oriented which are designed for light internet protocol where the device is addressable and reachable via the internet
  • Semantic-oriented where devices aid in creating reasoning over the data that is generated by these devices by exploiting models

Some of IoT can fall on one, two, or all three definitions or visions for IoT use.

Performance Bottlenecks for IoT

In 2016, IoT has two main issues, if it is left on its own and it is not tied to anything else (Jaffe, 2014; Newman, 2016):

  • The devices cannot deal with the massive amounts of data generated and collected
  • The devices cannot learn from the data it generates and receives

Thus, artificial intelligence (AI) should be able to store and mine all the data that is gathered from a wide range of sensors to give it meaning and value (Canton, 2016; Jaffe, 2014). AI would bring out the potential of IoT through quickly and naturally collect, analyzing, organizing, and feeding valuable data to key stakeholders, transforming the field into the Internet of Learning-Things (IoLT) from the standard IoT (Jaffe, 2014; Newman, 2016). However, this would mean a change in the infrastructure of the web to handle IoLT or IoT. Thus, Atzori (2010) listed some of the potential performance bottlenecks for IoT on a network level:

  • The vast number of internet oriented devices that will be taking up the last few IPv4 addresses, thus there is a need to move to IPv6 to support all the devices that will come online soon. This is just one version of the indexing problem.
  • Things oriented and internet oriented devices could spend a time in sleep mode, which is not typical for current devices using the existing IP networks.
  • IoT devices when connecting to the internet produce smaller packets of data at a higher frequency than current devices.
  • Each of the devices would have to use a common interface and standard protocols as other devices, which can quickly flood the network and increase the complexity of middleware software layer design.
  • IoT is vastly various objects, where each device with their function and has its way of communicating. There is a need to create a level of abstraction to homogenate data transfer and access of data through a standard process.

Proposed solutions would be to use NoSQL (Not only Structured Query Language) databases to help with collection, storage, and analysis of IoT data that is heterogeneous, lacking a common interface with standard protocols and can deal with data of various sizes. This can solve one aspect of the indexing problem of IoT. NoSQL databases are databases that are used to store data in non-relational databases i.e. graphical, document store, column-oriented, key-value, and object-oriented databases (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015).

  • Document stores use a key/value pair that could store data in JSON, BSON, or XML
  • Graphical databases are use networks diagrams to show the relationship between items in a graphical format
  • Column-oriented databases are perfect for sparse datasets, where data is grouped together in columns rather than rows

Retail is currently using thing oriented RFID for inventory tracking and in-store foot traffic if installed on shopping carts to be used for understanding customer wants (Mitchell, n.d.). Thus, Mitchell (n.d.) suggested that the use of video cameras and mobile device Wi-Fi traffic could help identify if the customer wanted an item or a group of items by seeking hotspots of dwelling time, so that store managers can optimize the store layouts to increase flow and higher revenue. However, these retailers must be considering the added data sources and have the supporting infrastructure to avoid performance bottlenecks to get to reap the rewards of utilizing IoT to generate data-driven decisions.


  • Atzori, L., Antonio Iera, A., & Morabito, G. (2010). The Internet of things: A survey. Computer Networks, 54(2). 787–2,805

Compelling topics on analytics of big data

  • Big data is defined as high volume, high variety/complexity, and high velocity, which is known as the 3Vs (Services, 2015).
  • Depending on the goal and objectives of the problem, that should help define which theories and techniques of big data analytics to use. Fayyad, Piatetsky-Shapiro, and Smyth (1996) defined that data analytics can be divided into descriptive and predictive analytics. Vardarlier and Silaharoglu (2016) agreed with Fayyad et al. (1996) division but added prescriptive analytics. Thus, these three divisions of big data analytics are:
    • Descriptive analytics explains “What happened?”
    • Predictive analytics explains “What will happen?”
    • Prescriptive analytics explains “Why will it happen?”
  • The scientific method helps give a framework for the data analytics lifecycle (Dietrich, 2013; Services, 2015). According to Dietrich (2013), it is a cyclical life cycle that has iterative parts in each of its six steps: discovery; pre-processing data; model planning; model building; communicate results, and
  • Data-in-motion is the real-time streaming of data from a broad spectrum of technologies, which also encompasses the data transmission between systems (Katal, Wazid, & Goudar, 2013; Kishore & Sharma, 2016; Ovum, 2016; Ramachandran & Chang, 2016). Data that is stored on a database system or cloud system is considered as data-at-rest and data that is being processed and analyzed is considered as data-in-use (Ramachandran & Chang, 2016).  The analysis of real-time streaming data in a timely fashion is also known as stream reasoning and implementing solutions for stream reasoning revolve around high throughput systems and storage space with low latency (Della Valle et al., 2016).
  • Data brokers are tasked collecting data from people, building a particular type of profile on that person, and selling it to companies (Angwin, 2014; Beckett, 2014; Tsesis, 2014). The data brokers main mission is to collect data and drop down the barriers of geographic location, cognitive or cultural gaps, different professions, or parties that don’t trust each other (Long, Cunningham, & Braithwaite, 2013). The danger of collecting this data from people can raise the incidents of discrimination based on race or income directly or indirectly (Beckett, 2014).
  • Data auditing is assessing the quality and fit for the purpose of data via key metrics and properties of the data (Techopedia, n.d.). Data auditing processes and procedures are the business’ way of assessing and controlling their data quality (Eichhorn, 2014).
  • If following an agile development processes the key stakeholders should be involved in all the lifecycles. That is because the key stakeholders are known as business user, project sponsor, project manager, business intelligence analyst, database administers, data engineer, and data scientist (Services, 2015).
  • Lawyers define privacy as (Richard & King, 2014): invasions into protecting spaces, relationships or decisions, a collection of information, use of information, and disclosure of information.
  • Richard and King (2014), describe that a binary notion of data privacy does not Data is never completely private/confidential nor completely divulged, but data lies in-between these two extremes.  Privacy laws should focus on the flow of personal information, where an emphasis should be placed on a type of privacy called confidentiality, where data is agreed to flow to a certain individual or group of individuals (Richard & King, 2014).
  • Fraud is deception; fraud detection is needed because as fraud detection algorithms are improving, the rate of fraud is increasing (Minelli, Chambers, &, Dhiraj, 2013). Data mining has allowed for fraud detection via multi-attribute monitoring, where it tries to find hidden anomalies by identifying hidden patterns through the use of class description and class discrimination (Brookshear & Brylow, 2014; Minellli et al., 2013).
  • High-performance computing is where there is either a cluster or grid of servers or virtual machines that are connected by a network for a distributed storage and workflow (Bhokare et al., 2016; Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Parallel computing environments draw on the distributed storage and workflow on the cluster and grid of servers or virtual machines for processing big data (Bhokare et al., 2016; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • NoSQL (Not only Structured Query Language) databases are databases that are used to store data in non-relational databases i.e. graphical, document store, column-oriented, key-value, and object-oriented databases (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015). NoSQL databases have benefits as they provide a data model for applications that require a little code, less debugging, run on clusters, handle large scale data and evolve with time (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012).
    • Document store NoSQL databases, use a key/value pair that is the file/file itself, and it could be in JSON, BSON, or XML (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015). These document files are hierarchical trees (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012). Some sample document databases consist of MongoDB and CouchDB.
    • Graph NoSQL databases are used drawing networks by showing the relationship between items in a graphical format that has been optimized for easy searching and editing (Services, 2015). Each item is considered a node and adding more nodes or relationships while traversing through them is made simpler through a graph database rather than a traditional database (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012). Some sample graph databases consist of Neo4j Pregel, etc. (Park et al., 2014).
    • Column-oriented databases are perfect for sparse datasets, ones with many null values and when columns do have data the related columns are grouped together (Services, 2015). Grouping demographic data like age, income, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. are a great example for using this NoSQL database. Cassandra is an example of a column-oriented database.
  • Public cloud environments are where a supplier to a company provides a cluster or grid of servers through the internet like Spark AWS, EC2 (Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al. 2013).
  • A community cloud environment is a cloud that is shared exclusively by a set of companies that share the similar characteristics, compliance, security, jurisdiction, etc. (Connolly & Begg, 2014).
  • Private cloud environments have a similar infrastructure to a public cloud, but the infrastructure only holds the data one company exclusively, and its services are shared across the different business units of that one company (Connolly & Begg, 2014; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Hybrid clouds are two or more cloud structures that have either a private, community or public aspect to them (Connolly & Begg, 2014).
  • Cloud computing allows for the company to purchase the services it needs, without having to purchase the infrastructure to support the services it might think it will need. This allows for hyper-scaling computing in a distributed environment, also known as hyper-scale cloud computing, where the volume and demand of data explode exponentially yet still be accommodated in public, community, private, or hybrid cloud in a cost efficiently (Mainstay, 2016; Minelli et al., 2013).
  • Building block system of big data analytics involves a few steps Burkle et al. (2001):
    • What is the purpose that the new data will and should serve
      • How many functions should it support
      • Marking which parts of that new data is needed for each function
    • Identify the tool needed to support the purpose of that new data
    • Create a top level architecture plan view
    • Building based on the plan but leaving room to pivot when needed
      • Modifications occur to allow for the final vision to be achieved given the conditions at the time of building the architecture.
      • Other modifications come under a closer inspection of certain components in the architecture



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Column-oriented NoSQL databases

NoSQL (Not only Structured Query Language) databases are databases that are used to store data in non-relational databases i.e. graphical, document store, column-oriented, key-value, and object-oriented databases (Sadalage & Fowler, 2012; Services, 2015). Column-oriented databases are perfect for sparse datasets, ones with many null values and when columns do have data the related columns are grouped together (Services, 2015).  Grouping demographic data like age, income, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. are a great example for using this NoSQL database. Cassandra, which is a column-oriented NoSQL database focuses on availability and partition tolerance, this means that as an AP system it can achieve consistency if data can be replicated and verified (Hurst, 2010).

Cassandra has been assessed for performance evaluation against other NoSQL databases like MongoDB and Raik for health care data analytics (Weider, Kollipara, Penmetsa, & Elliadka, 2013).  In this study, NoSQL database demands for health care data were two-fold:

  • Read/write efficiency of medical test results for a patient X (Availability)
  • All medical professionals should see the same information on patient X (Consistency)

A NoSQL graph database did not have the fit to use for the above demands, thus wasn’t part of this study.

The architecture of this project: nine partition nodes, where three by three nodes were used to mimic three data centers that would be used by 100 global health facilities, where data is generated at a rate of 1TB per month and must be kept for 99 years.

The dataset used in this project: a synthetic dataset that has 1M patients with 10M lab reports, averaging at seven lab reports per person, but randomly distributed of from 0-20 lab reports per person.

In meeting both of these two demands, Cassandra had a significantly higher throughput value than the other two NoSQL databases. Cassandra’s EACH_QUORUM write and LOCAL_QUORUM read options are part of their datacenter aware system, providing the great throughputs results, using the three synthetic datacenters. Testing consistency, by using Cassandra’s ONE for its write and read options at an eventual rate (slower consistency) or strong rate (faster consistency), shows that throughput increases with the eventual system. The choice to use either rate rests with the healthcare stakeholders.

The authors concluded that for their system and their requirements Cassandra had the highest throughput regardless of the level of consistency rates (Weider et al., 2013).  They also suggested that each of these tests should be adjusted based on the requirements from key stakeholders in the healthcare profession and that a small variation in the data model could change the results seen here.

In conclusion of this post, NoSQL databases provide huge advantages to data analytics over traditional relational database management systems. But, NoSQL databases must fit the needs of the stakeholders, and quantitative tests must be thoroughly designed to assess which NoSQL database will meet those needs.


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  • Services, E. E. (2015). Data Science and Big Data Analytics: Discovering, Analyzing, Visualizing and Presenting Data, 1st Edition. [Bookshelf Online].
  • Weider, D. Y., Kollipara, M., Penmetsa, R., & Elliadka, S. (2013, October). A distributed storage solution for cloud based e-Healthcare Information System. In e-Health Networking, Applications & Services (Healthcom), 2013 IEEE 15th International Conference on (pp. 476-480). IEEE.