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Internet of Things - 26 billion and counting



The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to enter the conversation when new technology is discussed , it seems only yesterday that 3D printers were the new ‘Big Thing’.The Internet of Things has been described as a global central nervous system and that is a very apt analogy. The interconnected smart devices will trigger both a technological and economic revolution resulting in new hardware and software startups and cloud based services to support them.

A little history

The term Internet of Things was first coined in the early 90’s and it was intended to be implimented by equipping all objects in the world with identifying devices, RFID was the initial choice. Systems would be able to continuously update inventory , locate people and objects. It was a fairly limited view based on the technology then available.

Up to date

The modern interpretation of Internet of Things is the connection of devices, systems and services that goes beyond the traditional machine to machine (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains and applications. The applications are many and varied ranging from medical sensors , medication tracking , physical activity level tracking, home heating , lighting and appliance control , intelegent lighting control, the ubiquitous intelligent fridge. The use of big data in the form of environmental real time data , traffic information, weather alerts. Businesses will make use of stock and asset tracking , data from remote or mobile equipment. 
The potential list of applications is endless and I’m sure there are a few that haven’t even been thought of yet !

26 Billion and counting

According to Gartner ( article ) the Internet of Things market, ( excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones), will grow to 26 billion devices installed by 2020 , and that figure will continue increasing by some 8 billion devices per year, this market has been valued at some £600 billion in 2020.
If the IoT market goes the same way as the 3D printer revolution it will move from the maker community into the commercial world , this is starting to happen with a number of large companies , among them Cisco , IBM , ARM , Sony, are openly discussing IoT products and applications. 

Protocols everywhere

This brings me to a question, in fact a number of questions, that has been nagging me for a while …… 

  • Will we end up with isolated pockets of IoT intelegence ?
  • Will equipment made by manufacturer A communicate with that made by manufacturer B ?
  • Do we need a dedicated IoT protocol that is adopted by all manufacturers ?

The following is a list of IoT protocols that are currently employed (Source  )

  • IPv6 Internet Layer protocol 
  • 6LoWPAN IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks
  • UDP A simple OSI transport layer 
  • uIP Open source TCP/IP stack for 8 and 16-bit micro controllers
  • DTLS Datagram Transport Layer privacy for datagram protocols.
  • CoAP A application layer protocol that is intended for resource-constrained internet devices
  • XMPP Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol open technology for real-time communication
  • XMPP-IoT XMPP for machine to human communication
  • Mihini/M3DA Software component mediator between an M2M server and embedded applications
  • AMQP Advanced Message Queuing Protocol for message-oriented middleware. 
  • DDS Data-Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems 

Thats a dazzling array of protocols covering every imaginable option , but I think it obvious that we have a long way to go before we have interoperability between all the equipment , devices and services that will be appearing over the next 5 years.

For the second part of my Internet of Things blogs follow the link to I'm fridge is spamming you!

I hope you found this blog useful , please feel free to comment

I can be found on Twitter @peterjfrancis

Mechanical & Thermal Consultant, CFD & FEA , mechanical design, electronics hacker , IoT hacker, pilot - full size and RC , motorcyclist

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May 28, 2014 08:59

Nice blog, good to see you back on DesignSpark Peter.

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