– Cees Links and Ken Sinclair
Cees Links, CEO of GreenPeak
Links is the Founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies, a rapidly
growing Smart Home radio communications semi-conductor company.
Under his responsibility, the first wireless LANs were developed,
ultimately becoming household technology integrated into PCs and
notebooks. He was involved in the establishment of the IEEE 802.11
standardization committee and the WiFi Alliance. He was also
instrumental in establishing the IEEE 802.15 standardization committee
to become the basis for the ZigBee sense and control networking.
Technologies is a RF communication chip semiconductor company and is a
leader in ZigBee silicon solutions for the smart home a IoT.
Small Data and the Internet of Everything
It is now Small Data’s turn to change our world. Today’s Internet of
People is merging with the Internet of Things to create the Internet of
Sinclair: GreenPeak recently created and posted a new white paper about
Sentrollers and the World of Small Data. Why did your team develop this
Links: For the last few years, Big Data has been a big theme in
the Information Technology industry. Big Data is here with us now, and
it is here to stay, because it pays for the access to that tremendous
source of information that we call “the internet”. Everyone is talking
about Big Data and how important it is – how critical it is to business
today and tomorrow. However, Small Data – the data that will be
collected from Internet of Things sensors and sentrollers that will
soon occupy our world, the data that those sensors will generate – will
be much more massive and have a even greater influence on our lives.
The Small Data explosion will provide an amazing opportunity for
technology businesses and market innovators.
Sinclair: What exactly is Small Data and why is it important?
Links: Small Data is composed of the tiny bits of information
that will be collected from billions of small sentrollers (sensors,
controllers and actuators) in homes, offices, factories, cars, in all
corners of the environment. The data bits, taken together, will create
a repository of information that will transform lives and generate
entire new business sectors. Unlike Big Data, mostly generated for or
from web search, advertising and marketing decisions, Small Data is
collected from real life: where people are, what they are doing and how
they are doing it.
Small Data is just in its early stage. If Big Data is “big”, the
emerging Small Data world will be massive and many times larger in
total numbers and complexity. Many are predicting that Small Data is
the real next big opportunity that will fuel the Information Technology
industry for the coming two decades.
Small Data is generated by the IoT (Internet of Things) and are the
trillions and zillions of small bits and pieces of information that be
continuously be coming from everywhere. Sensors will extracting Small
Data from every environment – every location – whether or not there are
people in residence or not. Small Data will be processed by
sophisticated algorithms; combined, analyzed, interpreted, and Small
Data will float back to the controllers in that same environment
fulfilling any conclusion that was determined by the algorithms.
Sentrollers (sensor, actuators and/or controllers) will be the devices
that monitor and control our environment, our homes, our cars, our
offices, our cities; sentrollers will be there by the billions,
continuously collecting, generating and distributing “petabytes” of
information. The amounts of data generated by the Internet of things
will dwarf that collected by our current Internet of People.
Sinclair: How does the Smart Home – the Smart Building effect Small Data?
Links: It is not just the smart home – it is becoming a smart
world. Currently, with about ten internet-connected devices in each
home, we are now in the Internet of People. As the web truly becomes
the Internet of Things, it will be machines talking to machines –
guided by human intelligence and algorithms – all living in the cloud –
making our lives easier. As our homes become smarter, we can expect
upwards of hundred different affordably priced sentrollers in each
building that will provide actionable intelligence that help make our
environments safer and more ecological, controlling power consumption,
as well as monitoring our health and customizing our living and working
spaces to our needs and preferences.
Sinclair: Small Data is not just limited to our homes is it?
Links: Small Data will control our businesses, homes, and even
our cars and robots – all of which will define the world of tomorrow.
Focusing on Small Data now could help to keep us from being overwhelmed
by it later and assure we will benefit from the massive rush to the
Internet of Things. With all of the focus on Big Data, much of which is
unstructured, we’ve forgotten about the Internet of Things problem of
Small Data which has far more files, uses a variety of structures, and
requires just as much analysis.
As the current Internet of People transforms into the much larger, more
omniscient Internet of Things, the number of connected devices will
explode exponentially, generating large databases of information about
the daily lives of people worldwide. This data explosion will create a
wide range of benefits for health monitoring, for efficiency, for
comfort, but at the same time, will create serious challenges in the
areas of privacy, security and commercial/government intrusion.
Sinclair: Tell us about the transformation from today’s Internet of People to tomorrow’s Internet of Everything.
Links: After Big Data, it is now Small Data’s turn to change our
world. Today’s Internet of people is merging with the Internet of
Things to create the Internet of Everything.
Smart devices are an important step towards a world where machines
watch over us and make our lives better, while improving the way we are
using the earth’s energy and precious resources. Yes, it is a bit
scary, with Big Brother seemingly around the corner, but with the right
controls and policies in place to protect the individual’s Small Data,
the benefits will greatly override the paranoia.
Sinclair: What is the future of Small Data?
Links: Small Data systems will require a lot of cooperation
between contributing parties to make it seamlessly work together. All
the technology pieces are currently available in one or another format,
but the devil is in the details to make things work cohesively and be
Starting with the end-customer, the consumer. The consumer will need to
buy sentroller end products from the cable or telecom operator and/or
the retailer, who will also offer a subscription for instance for life
style monitoring, building security and/or energy management systems.
When products have enough standard interfaces, the retailer can also
sell products on behalf of the operator.
The operators and the retailers are currently packaging and selling
these product/service combinations by bundling different products and
services into single offerings. They can leverage their position in the
value chain in two ways: from a brand perspective (consumers know and
trust large brands), as well as from a customer touch point
perspective. In particular operators have an advantage here, because
they have already the recurring touch points with theirs subscribers in
place – for instance via monthly billing systems. They have also the
call support centers up and running, for which another service is just
Software is also an important aspect of the system. There is the data
collection piece essentially connecting the sentrollers with a database
that is stored in the cloud. There is the data analysis and action
system that runs in the cloud and includes the engine for interpreting
the data and generating actions, whether these are sending signals back
to the sentrollers to make adjustments or alerts to a smart phone. In
the smart phone there needs to be a dashboard application that can also
In addition to this software, there is also an administration system
required, connecting phone apps with subscribers, and putting the
necessary functions and architectures for privacy and security in place.
Advertising can also cushion the cost and speed the acceptance of Small
Data devices in your home and car. Would you allow Google to track your
movements – your family movements – within the home, and then sell that
data, if your service provider offered you a substantial discount on
the smart home services? Advertising essentially supports the current
Internet of People – doesn’t it make sense to allow advertising to also
support the Internet of Things?
Sinclair: What is the Value of Small Data for the Googles of the World – the
various advertisers and marketers that actually fund the functioning of
the world’s internet?
Links: Here is an example I like to use – when you throw a frog
into a pan with hot water it will immediately jump out of it – it can
sense sudden uncomfortable warm temperature. But when you manage to get
a frog comfortably into a pan with cold water and you start heating the
pan, the frog will die from overheating, because it cannot sense slow
changes in the environmental temperature.
In this sense people are like frogs. People can slowly gain weight over
longer periods in time without noticing the carrying around of all that
extra weight. By the time they notice it, the weight is incredibly
difficult to get rid of. In addition, other body measures can quietly
deteriorate – like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, interrupted
sleeping patterns, etc. and can be silent indicators of needing to take
action. If we would just be able to monitor our life style over longer
periods of time, we can be warned, and we can be provided the right
Can you imagine how valuable this information will be for the marketers
of diets, food supplements, exercise gear, the medical establishment,
as well as for individual health providers who would really like to
know what their patients are doing when they are not in the office?
There is a lot of data that can be collected, analyzed and acted upon.
The challenge for Small Data will be how to reliably and securely
collect this data in an unobtrusive and cost effective way. This is the
major challenge that the industry is solving at this moment.
Sinclair: GreenPeak Technologies is a leading supplier of ZigBee radio chips
for the Internet of things. What is GreenPeak’s role in the developing
the Internet of Everything?
Links: GreenPeak Technologies is a technology company focusing on
Small Data application systems. Collecting, managing and extracting
useful information from the massive volumes of Small Data is a
tremendous technology challenge and an opportunity for new, innovative
Over the last few years, GreenPeak has been driving the development and building of these Small Data systems by:
- Developing and owning core technology pieces that
collect Small Data from the end nodes in a cost efficient way.
- Licensing-in certain technology components from
third parties to complete Small Data Systems so they can be used by
Operators and Retailers.
- Developing strategic relationships with hardware
and software providers to design and manufacture easily installed and
maintained Small Data systems
End-to-end system understanding and integration capabilities are
essential for bringing to market solutions that are customer friendly
and economically feasible. There is a reason that Smart Homes have been
promised for a long time, but still have to live up to those promises:
Small Data has been looked at as a simple group of sensors, but in
reality it is a system that stretches from these sensors into the Cloud
and into Big Data.
GreenPeak Technologies’ strategic value is that it can deliver to the
brands (Operators and Retailers) complete Small Data systems, including
all the hardware and software components that will drive the next wave
of Information Technology, the processing of Small Data in the Internet
of Things and the building of the Internet of Everything.
The new GreenPeak “Small Data versus Big Data” whitepaper is available for free download at http://www.greenpeak.com/smalldata/
About GreenPeak Technologies
GreenPeak Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company and the
leader in the ZigBee market with a rich offering of semiconductor
products and software technologies for Smart Home data communications
and the Internet of Things.
The GreenPeak founders have significantly contributed to the invention
of WiFi and made it into a commercial success, used by several billion
people today. GreenPeak is recognized as a leader in developing new
wireless technologies for consumer electronics and Smart Home
applications, demonstrating rapid growth and adoption by major
GreenPeak is privately funded. It is headquartered in Utrecht, The
Netherlands and has offices in Belgium, China, France, USA, Japan and
Korea. For more information, please visit
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