BPM to Go Nano with IoNT (Internet of Nano Things)

BPM has already been integrated with IoT in several cases in a wide range of applications. We’ve seen this up close with a Telemedicine application which kicks off a BPM process when a patient’s vital signs exceed normal levels. But is the next step toward Nano applications? Far-fetched as this may sound, it’s not that far from reality.

In a recent article from Scientific American entitled “Internet of Things Goes Nano” by Javier Garcia-Martinez (Professor, University of Alicante), it’s clear that many IoT applications are being shrunk from micro-size to nano size. This could enable never-before-imagined breakthroughs in medical, agricultural, manufacturing and other fields. As Garcia-Martinez explains, “When it arrives, the IoNT could provide much more detailed, inexpensive, and up-to-date pictures of our cities, homes, factories—even our bodies.” One early example is Synlogic, a start-up in Cambridge, Mass. which is working to commercialize computationally enabled strains of probiotic bacteria to treat rare metabolic disorders.

So what potential could IoNT and BPM hold? Enormous potential. Nano probes can be designed to penetrate almost any type of physical system, biological or other. Once data from such systems can be retrieved on a molecular scale, and this data can be fed back into a process, we have full scale integration between the IT and the physical world. As Garcia-Martinez points out, nano sensors are so small that they collect information from millions of points, enabling external devices to generate extremely detailed maps showing minute changes in the properties of the object under observation (e.g. magnetic field, vibrations, electrical currents, etc.).

The question is, once this information is sensed, then what do you do with it? That’s where a BPM system can come in. Central to BPM is the ability to react to stimuli and initiate a process which can interact with people and systems to achieve a goal. Already, BPM powers processes in hundreds of thousands of applications in nearly every industrial field. But imagine if BPM processes could interact with data from nano devices? Here are some applications which could benefit from such interaction:

  1. Agricultural systems which react to slight changes in soil, weather and water, to optimize the growing of crops.
  2. Blood sensors which notify doctors of hard-to-detect changes in blood chemistry which signify changes in the patient which require their attention.
  3. Manufacturing applications where small changes in the quality of the product are reported immediately to the manufacturing team, which can adjust its procedures to correct imperfections and improve quality.
  4. Nano devices integrated into buildings to detect and alert about small structural issues, which can then kick off maintenance and safety processes to handle such issues.

The possibilities of connecting IoNT with BPM do seem limitless. We’re not quite there yet. There are still several technological and privacy hurdles which need to be overcome before such systems can become a reality. But the future is indeed exciting.

Interested in discovering the potential of IoT and BPM? Check out our BPM & IoT Matchbook eBook, a close look into how BPM has been successfully integrated with IoT devices to achieve significant business transformations. Download the Matchbook eBook below.

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Photo credit by CILAS (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons