Data Freshness, Not Speed, Most Important for IoT

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We know that speed is a necessity in this pedal-to-the-metal world.  But speed isn’t everything.  And when your data’s not up-to-date, then upload and download speeds seem almost irrelevant.

So, we want to talk about data freshness, not speed and why it’s most important for IoT.  The Internet of Things is what everyone’s talking about and how it makes our mobile society even more mobile, accessible and productive.

Read on to find out more.

Freshness Shouldn’t Slow You Down

We all know that a lot of data can slow things down.  But now, MIT engineers at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems believe they’ve found a solution to the problem.

They believe they’ve found the silver bullet for providing fresh data for a fully functioning IoT, without gumming up the works.

The research encompasses simple systems, like a squadron of drones sending data to a central location, for example.  The MIT team is moving forward with plans to test their work on more complicated systems, like networks of vehicles which transmit information about road and weather conditions.

A New Way of Looking at Things

The example of networked vehicles is particularly pivotal when considering that the approach the MIT research took was built on an unexplored proposition – the value of fresh data.

In the case of the vehicles, if they’re sending data to alert others in the network of existing conditions on the road and what the weather’s doing, that’s crucial, time-sensitive data.  It can’t get stuck in a bottleneck, only to become out-of-date and irrelevant.

The traditional approach is to prioritize the amount of data which can be sent as well as the speed at which it gets there.  Not until the MIT research has anyone considered the overwhelming importance of data freshness.

And the example of the networked vehicles makes it clear that immediacy is not driving the discussion nearly enough.  When people need to know something important (like whether it’s snowing up ahead), immediacy takes first place in the hierarchy of considerations.

And that’s a new way of looking at things.

Fresh as a Head of Lettuce

The team’s simple study is based on the reflections of an engineer.  He’d been thinking about networked drones and how they required constantly updated information to avoid crashing into each other.

And so, the work began – seeking to minimize the age of information being transmitted.

The algorithm developed as part of MIT’s research was written to calculate an index for each node of networked drones.  The index consisted of age of data, channel reliability and node priority. This algorithm was found to be excellent when assessing the age of data.

Next up is a simple network of radios, with a concurrent research project developing algorithms like the original for more complex networks.

MIT imagined data as fresh as a head of lettuce and has taken a step closer to reducing the age of information.  We can’t wait to see what happens next!

Ready to cut wireless costs?  Let the insiders at OpDecision help.

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