|By SmartBear Blog||
|November 5, 2015 10:30 AM EST||
What The Internet of Things Is Not
by John Mueller
Some time ago, I wrote an article entitled, "What is the Internet of Things?" It sought to help put the Internet of Things (IoT) into perspective and helped describe a dream about what the IoT could eventually become. Technologies always mature and people's feelings toward them change. In addition, the reality of the Internet of Things begins to set in. The vaporware and promises of yesterday fade in the face of what the technology can actually do and how people actually expect to use it. Many people are saying that the IoT is losing steam, but that's not really the case. The IoT is maturing and becoming a more useful technology space that developers can actually employ to create some really compelling digital experiences. This article looks at the IoT through the lens of reality to state what the IoT isn't, which means that you discover what it really is all about.
Avoiding the Hype Products
Some companies see IoT as a means for making all of us excessively lazy and they're willing to provide the products to help us go there. Some people consider Amazon's Dash Button as one such device. The idea is to stick it to something in your laundry room, such as the washing machine, and you push it every time you're out of detergent. While some people were drooling over the device, some industry pundits saw it for what it was - ludicrous. Of course, Amazon wants to get everyone to participate, so there is the Dash Replenishment Service and Amazon is inviting developers to join. That's right! You can access an API that makes it possible to create your own Dash Button. The API is still in development, but you can get in on the ground floor with the beta. (Another interesting product in this genre is the Egg Minder - an IoT device designed to tell you how many eggs you have left in the refrigerator.)
Of course, the question is where real products will come into play. What vendors need to consider with IoT is how to create products people actually need. For example, people really do need to monitor various environmental conditions, including things like freezer temperatures. Companies, such as Monnit, provide devices to perform all sorts of monitoring using IoT devices. The iMonnit API makes it possible for developers to write applications to interact with these devices so that it's possible to use the sensors in unique ways. (Just in case you need that solution for a home environment, try SmartHome instead.) The point is that this is the promise of IoT that hype products tend to miss.
Connecting Diverse Products
Some people have gotten the idea that IoT is all about connecting disparate devices together in some manner - that somehow it will be possible to use a single app to control every aspect of a home, business, or industrial setting. The IoT isn't an actual networking solution today. In fact, like most new technologies, the IoT suffers from a serious amount of proprietary solutions. When working with IoT devices, you need to consider issues such as:
- Hubs: Each vendor seems to use a proprietary hub so that you need one hub for each product type. Some vendors don't use hubs. Getting products that avoid the whole hub mess is the best way to go.
- Subscriptions: If you work through a cable service or telephone company, you'll almost certainly end up having a subscription to a service that makes your device accessible. Some other vendors go this route too. Unless the product has something special to offer, having to pay a monthly subscription fee to access the hardware you bought seems like a bad idea.
- Headless Devices: Some devices don't offer any sort of control system, other than a smartphone or other computing device. What this means is that you actually need another device to control the device you wanted to interact with in the first place. In general, avoid headless devices when you can. You shouldn't need a smartphone to control the temperature of a building.
- Differing Protocols: Various vendors use different protocols. One vendor might rely on Bluetooth, while another relies on ZigBee. Obtaining devices that all use the same protocol is the best way to ensure you have at least a chance of controlling the devices using the same approach.
Fortunately, some vendors, such as Cisco, recognize that connectivity is important. However, even though Cisco has been working on these solutions since 2013, a perfect solution still remains to be seen. The Cisco IoT Field Network Director does offer the promise of consolidation, however, because it extends the network out to the device. This technology makes it possible to manage your devices using a single application. The concept is extended further by using a technique called fog computing, where the cloud is extended to the edge of the network.
The point is that IoT will eventually become more standardized and devices will become plug-and-play in nature, but you can't count on it today. What you need to look at is one IoT device connected to a single application. When possible, try to get all your devices from a single vendor who also provides an API so you can create applications to interact with the devices as needed.
Securing the IoT Solutions
You can find a number of stories that describe some of the horrors of using IoT devices in just about any environment. For example, a review of Honeywell's smart thermostat system tells precisely what a disgruntled husband can do to his ex-wife. (Whether the story is real or not is the topic of much speculation, but it's completely feasible. You can check out other stories of this sort at http://www.infoworld.com/article/2930366/internet-of-things/welcome-to-the-smart-home-of-horror.html). Currently, the IoT environment is anything but safe. If you want a secure environment, then you need to keep off the Internet or rely on secure Internet solutions.
Groups like the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) are trying to educate vendors and developers alike on safe coding practices for IoT, but even with a concise top ten list of things everyone should check, security is still an issue for IoT. However, security will improve. Companies, such as Nest, are making security a prime focus and telling potential customers about the efforts being made on their behalf.
The Bottom Line
The IoT is a new industry of technology that provides non-standard solutions to myriad problems. Some solutions are quite usable; others aren't worth the time needed to seriously consider them. You won't get a completely secure, standardized solution to meet most needs today unless you take the time to perform the required research and shop carefully from a single vendor. However, there are changes in the wind and eventually IoT will become the standardized environment we all wanted in the first place. For now, you need to think about whether that Egg Minder really is the device of your dreams.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 29, 2017 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,379
SYS-CON Events announced today that Auditwerx will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Auditwerx specializes in SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 attestation services throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a division of Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), one of the top 20 largest CPA firms nationally, you can expect the resources, skills, and experience of a much larger firm combined with the accessibility and attent...
Mar. 29, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 562
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Mar. 29, 2017 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,657
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 29, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,313
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
Mar. 29, 2017 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 901
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Mar. 29, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 7,451
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Mar. 29, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,048
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Mar. 29, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 15,094
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 29, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,152
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Mar. 29, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,236
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Mar. 29, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,081
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 29, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,511
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
Mar. 29, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,116
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Mar. 28, 2017 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,501
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
Mar. 28, 2017 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,252
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 28, 2017 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,884
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 28, 2017 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,378
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
Mar. 28, 2017 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,542
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
Mar. 28, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,224
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 28, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 9,734