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How Far Away Is The Internet Of Things?
For all the talk about the growth and expansion of the internet of things, the reality is that we are still quite far away from seeing consumer level, widespread adoption of the concept. How long will it be until the internet of things becomes an everyday reality?
The internet of things is still very limited when compared with the grandiose statements we hear about its potential. The wearable tech devices that we are slowly starting to see hit the market – such as Google Glass and FitBit – are only the first iterations of the genre. Homes are slowly starting to digitise with customised apps and remote heating and hot water control systems, but again, its a far cry from the fridge telling you that your milk is turning sour.
The industry might think we are closer than we actually are. Evans Data recently carried out a survey of 1,400 developers worldwide and discovered that seventeen percent stated that they were working on internet of things-related projects, while twenty three percent said they expected to begin IoT projects in January 2015. Whether or not these figures should be considered as high or low (or even credible) is anyone’s guess.
“We’re still in the early stages of development for internet of things,” said Janel Garvin, Evans’ chief executive. “But at the same time the required technologies are now converging with cloud, big data, embedded stems, real-time event processing, even cognitive computing combining to change the face of the technological landscape we live in, and developers are leading the way”.
Key to understanding when we can consider the IoT to have truly ‘arrived’ lies in properly understanding and defining the term. It is a commonly held misconception that because the IoT is related to embedded systems, all we need to do is connect units with embedded systems (such as TVs, cycle computers and self-service checkouts) to the web and they will automatically become IoT devices. In reality, a IoT device needs to exhibit more properties than merely having an embedded systems and being connected to the internet. Some examples include; an ability to communicate, store and exchange data, interoperability, security controls, configuration management capabilities and possibly artificial intelligence.
So in answer to how far away is the IoT- it’s partly down to developers and the supply of IoT-enabled machine-to-machine programming tools. IoT machines need to operate in a standardised environment where data from any device can be translated and presented in a standard format for web developers.
When asked to comment, John Horn, President of RacoWireless said “We see a very fragmented space as companies and individuals from all backgrounds are clamoring to adopt connected technologies. However, it has been a challenge for many to get to market because of the lack of industry standards and high upfront development costs”.
Away from developers, it’s also partly down to other aspects such as the question of efficient and sufficient power supply to sensors, connectivity transport mechanisms, and networking standards and protocols.
The overlap of machine-to-machine tools, embedded computing and early IoT devices means foundations are in place, we just need someone to build the house.
By Daniel Price