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5/27/2014
11:36 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture

The IoT vision still doesn't have a clear architecture from which to build meaningful business applications, an MIT professor says.

8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

A variety of factors are holding companies back from embracing the Internet of Things. Though Gartner predicts there will be 26 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2020, concerns about data ownership, questionable data quality, inadequate network coverage, and integration with business applications are among the IoT roadblocks.

The biggest IoT challenge, according to Professor Sanjay Sarma of MIT, is the lack of an overarching architecture to pull together myriad streams of IoT information into a flexible and responsive ecosystem of applications.

Sarma was among the participants on an IoT panel at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium on May 21 in Cambridge, Mass. He voiced concern about what he sees as a wide array of IoT point solutions designed to accomplish very specific tasks -- irrigate crops, turn the lights on in your home -- without an architecture to connect all that data in a meaningful way.

"Without connecting the dots, you'll have a disastrous, brittle system," Sarma said. "We don't have a clear architecture of where the world will go."

[Cisco says it's "all in" on the Internet of Everything -- but what does that mean? Read Cisco IoE: When Will Its Time Come?]

Using a consumer example -- the concept of the connected home -- Sarma elaborated on the challenges. "Let's say you want to change the experience when you walk into your home. The lights will come on, music will play, temperature will be set. Maybe Google Maps informs the house that you're near, and then a series of actions have to happen to anticipate your arrival." It all seems great, but what if it's not you walking into the house, but your spouse, who dislikes bright lighting, hates your music, and wants it to be cooler? Your spouse now has to change everything, making life more difficult than before.

Another panelist, Chris Kuntz, senior director of business development with ThingWorx, related that home scenario to business. "People understand it's not just about connecting your product, connecting your smart thing, collecting that data," Kuntz said. "It's about how do you connect it with a business process to effect some sort of change."

During the IoT session, panelist Dieter Haban, CIO of Daimler Trucks North America, described how the company has placed sensors in all its trucks sold in North America for the past two years. The goal, Haban said, is to maximize uptime for the vehicles and their drivers.

The sensors send information to Daimler Trucks' call center, where a customer service team notifies the relevant trucking company about a pending maintenance problem

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Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio
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StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 7:20:05 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@ Susan

Very well said. I agree with your thoughts 100%.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 6:47:37 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@StaceyE: That's a conundrum i struggle with on a personal level. I'm no proponent of war by a long stretch, but I have to acknowledge that many of the technologies and engineering innovations that shape our daily daily lives came about as a result of initially being developed by the military. Silicon Valley most likely wouldn't exist in its current form if it weren't for the defense spending that poured into this area in the 1950s and 1960s. So while I agree in principal that I would like to see more government spending on engineering that on military, I suspect that in reality the two are more tightly entwined than I'd care to think about.

 
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 6:40:21 PM
Re: The Road to a Standard
@ Susan

Hopefully one day our military will be able to start putting funds back into things like engineering; instead of war.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/19/2014 | 10:47:10 AM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
@Technocrati

Maybe 'Silos' wasn't exactly the best choice of words. When we say 'silos' in a business context, we're usually talking about departments breaking themselves off and acting isolated from the rest of the business. Now, much has been said about how bad that is for business in the modern world, where everyone ought to be moving at a quick pace and decisions that affect the whole business ought to be made agily. I think, moving forward, that applies not just to departments within one business, but companies working in the same sector as well, and I'll explain why.

Susan is highlighting here the very real need for standards and architecture in the 'internet of things'. What does that really mean, though? Saying that two internet-connected items should capture, parse, and store their data in a way that is somehow uniform (so they can share data and talk to each other). That sounds great - for us. What if your competitor makes the other device? Nevermind going out of your way to cordon your data off from them, are you going to go out of your way to give it to them? I hope in the long term, companies will see that it's better for the whole business ecosystem to adopt some standards (just like cell phone chargers and memory cards), but in the short term, I think we'll be looking at a lot of non-sharing devices.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
6/19/2014 | 10:47:09 AM
So my phone gets a second life?
I find it both facinating and a little creepy that my applainces are going to go into the cloud and talk to each other. I can imagine it now, my fridge sensor notes the milk is a little light, which tells my phone to go get more milk, but my phone is busy playing candy crush, no wait.. that's me. I always have this sense that my things are going to start nagging me when they all get 'smart' , then what happens when they start talking to one another, an appliance initiated intervention?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 2:45:08 AM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
I don't think we should expect companies to break down their silos just because it's best for the customer. Maybe standards is all we'll get.


@zerox203    Not sure what you mean by silos in this instance, but I agree standards would be a great boon towards  enabling IoT to take place in a orderly fashion.    I think most products out today will be seen as ancient if standards become a reality.   But realistically, there probabaly isn't anything happening soon in this area of unified standards, most are in a race to get this technology out there and just get into the game.  

Maybe this is what you mean by silos ?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 2:37:25 AM
Re: Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
While I am intrigued by the IoT,  I still feel it to be somewhat intrusive.  What if I don't want to be a part of this ecosystem ?  Whether it is labeled Google,  Apple or MS.   There has to be a easier way of opting out of these constructs.

But as soon as you buy a mac, they want you to backup your pictures up in their servers, and it just goes on and on.   This is just one example of course but this kind of pushing just alienates those of us who simply want to enjoy our computing experience.  

Some will argue this ( IoT) will enhance this - but as with everything, it is the execution that counts.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2014 | 7:00:03 PM
Internet Of Things: In Search Of An Architecture
I totally sympathize with the panelists on this one. We're looking at a future that we're all getting excited about, but that we haven't really mapped yet. We're going to have a fridge that can tell us when we're out of groceries, a thermostat that we can control with our smartphones, and lighting system that responds to weather conditions - but are they all going to talk to each other? If so, how? The need for standards and best practices it certainly there, and one could build a career off of being an IoT expert in the coming years.

At the same time, though, isn't suggesting that there will be uniform standards (and communication between) devices made by different manufacturers (sometimes competing ones) from all over the world a bit of a pipe dream? I would love to have my fridge and my thermostat communicate to set up an ideal temperature based on what I'm cooking tonight, and maybe they will - if they're both made by GE. Of course, there's a little more to it than that, and the implications are different in the business world, but at the end of the day, I don't think we should expect companies to break down their silos just because it's best for the customer. Maybe standards is all we'll get.

batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/15/2014 | 10:45:50 PM
Re: Design is very important
interesting idea... it would soon gonna be reality I hope :)
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/15/2014 | 8:26:48 PM
Re: Design is very important
I like the idea of having an experience or atmosphere created for you before walking in the front door. I would like to be able to program it on different settings for different moods. For example, if I wanted to cheer up, I would program Happy by Pharrell or Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke to play when I walked in the door. If I needed to calm myself down, I would like the lights dim when I walked in the from door with Celine Dion playing.
<<   <   Page 3 / 6   >   >>
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