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6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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2/22/2015 | 6:57:02 PM
Computers Everywhere
The current state of there being a computer in almost every household has change the economy in many ways. If at least one object in a household had a computer embedded in it then, I feel that the economy will change again.

For developers, it would be hard the pin point the exact application in which the IoT will drive the greatest level of initial demand. However, I feel that embedded systems that aim to optimize energy usage around the home will be an even bigger source of demand, from its current level.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/22/2015 | 11:25:43 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@Brian, I think one of the most exciting things about the IoT is that the "killer app" is likely to be something none of us has thought of, yet.

I certainly hope that energy use is the target of a great deal of the activity around IoT. Behind more thorough instrumentation, greater machine intelligence, and battery technology like that now being put forward by Tesla, there's at least the possibility of a real breakthrough in the relatively near future.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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2/23/2015 | 5:47:32 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
Great point @Curt, the likelihood is very high that the IoT will generate value in a completely unexpected product or service. I feel that high gain value sources might even emerge from procedures and processes. For instance, the IoT might create a situation where collecting census data becomes infeasible.

This makes selecting the right building blocks an important process and developers will have to consider a large number of variables and build expandability into their product/service/procedure.   
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/23/2015 | 7:10:07 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@Brian, I completely agree with you on this: One of the critical factors for IoT designers today is that they not make decisions out of a consideration for convenience that will lock them onto a limited path for the future. That's one of the reasons I'm excited to see so many of these building blocks making use of open source software and being compatible with hardware from other vendors.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 8:20:46 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
Brian,

I particularly liked what you had to say here-

This makes selecting the right building blocks an important process and developers will have to consider a large number of variables and build expandability into their product/service/procedure. 

The ability to constantly change and re-invent onself is something which can't be neglected for sure.


Its a most under-rated quality to have in a person/Organization today.

 

 

 

 

 

 
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
2/23/2015 | 10:52:20 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
BrianDean, yes energy applications have the most potential since it is a major cost to many households and if IoT helps in reducing energy costs, consumers will invest heavily in these applications. The impacts on industrial sector can be even bigger.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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2/23/2015 | 3:59:18 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
I'm betting on convenience as the force that will drive consumer IoT, much more so than energy savings. If energy savings come along for the ride, great, but otherwise most people choose convenience over energy savings every day.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
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2/23/2015 | 5:47:13 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
I'd agree with you on that, Chris. Energy savings are great, and no doubt people value that, but ultimately convenience will be the force that encourages consumer adoption of IoT. If it makes something easier, people will want to try it.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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2/23/2015 | 6:06:21 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
Convenience and automation is a big part that will drive consumer adoption. Automated lighting is a good example, it is good to have lighting that has the ability to switch on/off by itself, and indirectly these automated lighting systems could save 60% of a household's cost to light up.

However, for the next one year or so, as long as oil (energy) prices remain low, I feel that consumers will not give the same weightage to energy costs as they used to give to it in the past.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/23/2015 | 7:07:57 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
Here's a question, @Kelly: Just how convenient would things need to be for you to eagerly embrace IoT technology? Is it a combination of convenience and price? I'm curious about where people stand on this one.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
2/24/2015 | 9:50:52 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
I'd say a combination of convenience and price. I'm all for making things easier, but I wouldn't purchase a device that does something I could easily do myself. Something that saves energy automatically, for example, I would consider. That said, as @DanBluePlanet notes, we will undoubtedly see connected devices that are like "talking dogs," or more expensive novelties than anything else.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/24/2015 | 7:11:34 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@Kelly, I'm sure that there will be some real "dogs" in the IoT world, but the work done on those dogs will help the designers and builders create better, more useful products later. And I think you're right -- hitting the proper price/convenience is where the market will be won. Even though I'm optimistic about the future of the IoT, I'm not at all sure I'd pay for an intelligent version of one of those things that flips the pancake for you.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
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2/25/2015 | 9:31:06 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@Curt that's a good point - the failures of IoT can be used as stepping stones towards genuinely useful products. Sure we'll see our "smart" pancake flippers, refrigerators, teapots, etc. but those will be more like expensive novelties for wealthier (and perhaps lazier) customers.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2015 | 12:28:43 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@Kelly, we really don't value "failure" nearly as much as we should. Every time I visit the Edison museum in Ft. Myers I'm reminded of just how much Edison counted on the failures of his experiments to lead toward something useful. We should be willing to let our failures do the same.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
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2/26/2015 | 1:33:34 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
"we really don't value "failure" nearly as much as we should"

@Curt - I couldn't agree more.  My niece is having a difficult time with certain subjects in school.  One is reading comprehension.  Her mother and uncles are doing everything in their power to get her grades up in the subject which is all fine and well and "they are doing the right thing" so she can get into a better college, etc, etc.

However, it occured to me that perhaps that's NOT the right thing to do.  Do we and should we really expect students/workers to excel in every subject/task?  Shouldn't it be ok to have strengths and weaknesses?  And instead of going against the grain shouldn't we maybe instead embrace this information and apply it to our benefit?  For instance, if my niece is bad at reading comprehension she probably shouldn't try to become a lawyer whose job it is to read legal documents all day long.  Doesn't this make more sense?  Am I crazy?
tzubair
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tzubair,
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2/26/2015 | 3:31:17 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
"Do we and should we really expect students/workers to excel in every subject/task?  Shouldn't it be ok to have strengths and weaknesses? "

@vnewman2: I think the most illogical thing would be to expect them all having the same set of strengths and weaknesses. That would actually make the wold such a monotonous place. The fact that everyone is bestowed with different skills and abilities makes this world such an interesting place to exist in.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:21:26 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@tzubair, I love going to Maker Faires and similar events precisely because you have so many different people with so many different skills and talents showing their own way of shaping the world around them.

And I think that one of the things that makes our community here a special place is the variety of experiences and points of view the members bring to the discussion. It's something I look forward to being part of every day.
tzubair
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tzubair,
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2/27/2015 | 2:36:49 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
"And I think that one of the things that makes our community here a special place is the variety of experiences and points of view the members bring to the discussion." @Curt: I feel the same about this community. I think we have readers from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds. The diversity does make it very interesting to read the discussions.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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2/28/2015 | 6:11:34 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
Taimoor,

Have to agree with your statement.

We are most fortunate to have such a varied and Highly Experienced Bunch of IT Pros guiding us all around.

The Entire Experience is definitely most enriching and on the plus side -We can also share our Own Experiences here as well!

Its this Give and Take which makes this community such a fascinatingly awesome place to be part of!

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:11:26 AM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@vnewman2, I don't think you're crazy at all. These different strengths and weaknesses define not only what we're happiest pursuing but how we best learn. We've become very regimented in how we expect students to learn (and what we expect them to do with that learning) -- and that's getting in the way of many good results. Let's use the big data approach to figure out how to let all the students try, fail, succeed, and move forward.

My path to this point in life has been amazingly curved and convoluted -- and I'm not sure I would change any part of it, even if I could.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/23/2015 | 6:48:34 PM
Re: Computers Everywhere
@ChrisMurphy, the convenience has to be there but if energy prices spike again (and I suspect they will) then the economic factors will be huge. The problem with many of the convenience applications (so far) is that their setup and user learning curves have been anything but convenient. So long as that's the case, they'll remain the domain of the wealthy (who can hire someone else to set them up) or the hobbyists (who enjoy eating the learning curve). When true "plug and play" IoT hits, then the mass market can start to take off.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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2/22/2015 | 11:10:06 PM
IoT based devices
"The "Internet of Things" is, in reality, the rise of embedded systems. Taking a small computer and embedding it in a formerly un-computerized object allows us to control the object, gather data from the object, and ultimately tie the object to other things through a network or the Internet."

Curtis, connectivity is the major part in IoT. So any devices having this connectivity module can come under the preview of IoT.  It can be of network connected or self talking through various sensors.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/23/2015 | 10:38:33 AM
Re: IoT based devices
@Gigi3, you're absolutely right: Connectivity is the defining characteristic of the IoT. One of the advantages that most of these building blocks bring is that they allow designers to add networking using the same protocols and standards that they use in office networking. The downsides to that are that the protocols tend to be "heavy" in comparison to the data being moved, and hackers also understand these protocols very well.

In my mind, the biggest hurdles to IoT acceptance are going to be privacy and security related. If people don't trust that the data moving between sensors and controllers is safe, they're going to be very reluctant to instrument more of their lives.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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2/24/2015 | 4:29:21 AM
Re: IoT based devices
"you're absolutely right: Connectivity is the defining characteristic of the IoT. One of the advantages that most of these building blocks bring is that they allow designers to add networking using the same protocols and standards that they use in office networking."

Curt, you mean that developers/users can build or add-on more building blocks over that. What about the back end connectivity is it over wifi or GSM based networking. Then there may be compactable issues because GSM works on 900/1800 MHz bandwidth and wifi on different bandwidth.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/24/2015 | 6:22:08 PM
Re: IoT based devices
@Gigi3, I think the RF connections will be most useful when connecting sensors and devices inside the building. When it comes to linking out to an Internet-connected controller or system, many buildings have some sort of broadband access -- those that don't will be relying on a 3G or 4G connection (though those are serious overkill for most embedded control purposes).
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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2/25/2015 | 8:11:58 AM
Re: IoT based devices
"I think the RF connections will be most useful when connecting sensors and devices inside the building. When it comes to linking out to an Internet-connected controller or system, many buildings have some sort of broadband access -- those that don't will be relying on a 3G or 4G connection (though those are serious overkill for most embedded control purposes)."

Curt, thanks for this clarification. So through a common internal gateway, all these devices get connected to the public network.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2015 | 12:13:51 PM
Re: IoT based devices
@Gigi3, one of the great architectural questions of the IoT is whether each individual sensor should communicate directly with the back-end server, or whether there should be intermediate steps with intelligence closer to the sensors to do data gathering and normalization along with direct, immediate control.

The best answer will often depend on the precise nature of the application though there is a vast "gray" area where eitehr approach will work beautifully. I tend to favor control closer to the sensor for network congestion and latency reasons, but I know plenty of people who are happy for all the streams to go straight back to the mainframe.

In either case it's fascinating to see just how much data applications are drawing from the sensors: I remember when "skinny" data sources and network protocols were the norm because bandwidth was the most limited of commodities!
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/3/2015 | 4:33:22 AM
Re: IoT based devices
"In either case it's fascinating to see just how much data applications are drawing from the sensors: I remember when "skinny" data sources and network protocols were the norm because bandwidth was the most limited of commodities!"

Curt, if all individual sensors are going to transmit datas across network, then bandwidth is really going to be a bottleneck.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2015 | 4:32:08 PM
Re: IoT based devices
@Gigi3, while a part of me agrees that we're likely to run short of bandwidth, another part of me is convinced that we're building better bandwidth into our infrastructure at such a pace that it's likely to at least keep pace with the demand. I was talking with someone today who said that they're dropping twin CAT 6A cables to their 802.11n access point sites because they're planning to feed them with 10 Gig ethernet. That's a bunch of bandwidth.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/5/2015 | 11:39:13 PM
Re: IoT based devices
"while a part of me agrees that we're likely to run short of bandwidth, another part of me is convinced that we're building better bandwidth into our infrastructure at such a pace that it's likely to at least keep pace with the demand. I was talking with someone today who said that they're dropping twin CAT 6A cables to their 802.11n access point sites because they're planning to feed them with 10 Gig ethernet. That's a bunch of bandwidth."

Curt, yes there is no doubt that bandwidth is the back bone of communication channel and its necessity to increase it on demand basis.  Our LAN connectivity is 100 Gbps and Wan is 10 Gbps
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
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2/23/2015 | 10:43:26 AM
IoT and Open-source
Curt, the flourishing of open-source systems has encouraged amateur developers to test their skills. I think IoT will encourage them further to test their practical capabilities in a way that helps consumer and industrial market and in return they can make the name for themselves.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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2/23/2015 | 4:32:24 PM
Aren't sensors enough?
When I think IoT, I think of Internet- and network-connectable sensors, not tiny computers that give devides onboard computing power. GE's Intelligent Platforms business, for example, makes available mobile- and network-connectable sensors for heat, vibration, RPMs and what not. You need to computer somewhere to consolidate and analyze all those signals, but the remote devices may need only connectivity, not computer power (however tiny). 
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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2/23/2015 | 5:58:10 PM
Re: Aren't sensors enough
I think that's going to be a moving target Doug -- in some cases, it might be cheaper to do more computing on the edge of the network, so you're only moving data that matters, rather than extending a huge network pipe out to some remote corner of the world where you're monitoring something. 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/23/2015 | 6:52:09 PM
Re: Aren't sensors enough
@Doug, when many people talk about the Internet of Things they do, indeed, mean a network of connected sensors feeding some central intelligence for analysis and control. There are a lot of people, though, who feel that distributed intelligence is a better model for IoT control, and I tend to agree. I like the idea of "just enough intelligence" near the point of control, with central data logging and coordination done from a larger platform.

To a great extent it's a philosophical debate: Fortunately, we're early enough in the process to let both camps try their solutions to see which work best in the real world!
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/23/2015 | 6:45:38 PM
Re: IoT and Open-source
@WaqasAltaf, it's this explosion of interest from the amateur community that has me quite excited about the possibilities. It reminds me, in some ways, of the high level of "hobbyist" interest that accompanied some of the more dynamic periods of growth in the PC and mobile arenas. The fact that some of these (like the Arduino) truly lend themselves to experimentation by young people leads me to think that we could see a host of truly "out of the box" ideas!
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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2/23/2015 | 6:04:34 PM
Consider these software building blocks
Curtis, You could approach this same topic from the software side as well. There's an open source Bluetooth network for the Internet of Things, called AllJoyn. It was started by QualComm but has been turned over to the Linux Foundation. It is a framework for BlueTooth communications between dissimilar devices. They can announce their presence, discover each other, state their capabiltiies, such as "I can see notifications" or "I have a clock interface" or "I have a control panel." Then there's Thread from Google's Nest unit for inter-device communications.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/23/2015 | 7:12:42 PM
Re: Consider these software building blocks
@Charlie, you're absolutely right: The software side of things is critical. I love the idea of AllJoyn -- the whole building control market has been plagued for years with problems resulting from designs that make it easy to build systems into new construction and impossible to add them to existing buildings. Wireless technologies get around many of those problems, and Bluetooth is far preferable to most of the proprietary systems I've seen!
DanBluePlanet
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DanBluePlanet,
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2/23/2015 | 9:38:08 PM
Kind of like the talking dog
Yes, there are applications where embedded computers make sense, but for the most part it is going to be more trouble then it is worth. Kind of like having a talking dog. At first it might be interesting, but after a short while you would want nothing but for it to shut up, as if really would have nothing to say of any importance, much less would it be worth the time and money.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/23/2015 | 10:37:59 PM
Re: Kind of like the talking dog
Well, @DanBluePlanet, I know a number of folks who feel the way you do, but I think their number will be steadily dropping. We're already seeing products like Nest win wider acceptance and a combination of greater convenience, improved functionality, and reduced operating costs will help people accept the "noise" generated by the devices.

Industry embraced embedded control long ago -- they've been rattling around the consumer space for a couple of decades and I suspect the maturity curve is beginning its rise.
zerox203
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zerox203,
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2/24/2015 | 7:58:01 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
I think the number and variety of comments here is a testament to just how much IoT is on everyone's minds, and just how complex of a space it's going to be. Like some others, I was a little surprised to see that this list focused just on embedded systems. It was nice to get a refresher on what the people behind Raspberry Pi (which still looks like the king in terms of bang-to-buck ratio) and Arduino are up to these days, as well as some of their competitors, but Doug and Charlie are right to point out that there's more to IoT than just that. When I think 'building blocks' I think of the pieces we'll combine to make everything else later. We will be combining Arduinos with RasPis in places, but we'll also be combining them with individual sensors, various networks and protocols, and many combinations therein before IoT hits critical mass. There's certainly room for plenty more articles to be written on the matter.

As for the topic of the first killer app for consumers, I'm with Brian. I think some of you may have misunderstood his point - I don't think he meant that the IoT devices will need to be low-power (that's another topic), but that IoT devices that specifically help people manage their energy consumption (like a thermostat) will do well. I  think that's likely to be true. It's one of few problems that touches every single household. SaneIT, who I don't see in this thread, made a point once about home automation being a great market because homeowners can dip their toes in, then buy more later once they're happy with them. It allows manufacturers more flexibility than the win-or-lose enterprise space. You could expand that category to include lighting, etc. The smart fridge that tells me when my vegetables go bad might be a ways off, but the smart thermostat that pushes an update to my phone to tell me the temperature has gone up and would I like to turn my heat off might be right around the corner. 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/24/2015 | 6:29:41 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@zero203, I agree with every part of your well-thought-out response. The reason I didn't focus on sensors in this article was simple: There are just too many of them. Some are part of standard board ecosystems, some are open-source designs, and some are easy to make for engineers or hobbyists who need a one-off sensor.

There are going to be all kinds of system architectures used in the IoT because the term itself describes such a broad universe of things. From health sensors worn by weekend athletes to complex building or process control, just about anything that has a data-gathering capacity and some sort of communications ability is now part of the "Internet of Things." That breadth makes the topic exciting -- and about as precise as jelly nailed to a tree.

I'll admit that this is an area in which I'm very interested: I look forward to much more coverage in the future!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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2/25/2015 | 8:34:30 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Curt, I agree that IoT is more than just sensors but that is what we hear the most about.  I have a dozen Raspberry Pis around that server up real-time data throughout our warehouses.  If a key event changes in one warehouse we know about it seconds later in all of the other warehouses.  Interconnection is the focus no matter where the information is coming from and I hope to see more of this in the future, not just refrigerators counting up the number of times the door is opened.  If the data being collected and displayed isn't useful we will fall into the habit of ignoring it.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2015 | 12:20:58 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@SaneIT, you're absolutely right about the value of data: One of the dangers of all the IoT data flood is that we'll end up with these huge data lakes containing bits that no one uses. As you say, if it's not useful, it will be ignored.

And one nasty by-product of being ignored is that the data won't be protected, and sooner or later that vulnerability will turn around and bite us.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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2/27/2015 | 8:07:43 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Curt, yes ignored data not being protected as valuable data is a problem but I'm more worried about ignored data leading to more important data being ignored.  Let's say your refrigerator dies, everything in it spoils while you're away at work so you go out and buy a new refrigerator.  This one connects to your wifi and sends you alerts every time the door is opened, the temperature changes by one degree and when the milk is running low.  For the first couple weeks it's pretty neat to see the life of the refrigerator but if you're like me you have 3 kids who are constantly in the thing and all the alerts you're getting start to be irritating so you turn down the reporting.  Things hum along just fine for months then you get an alert that says the door has been open for 5 minutes.  You don't think much of it because you've been through a period of seeing it opened and closed hundreds of times in a day and your brain shifts right past that whole part about it still being open.  You see the event but not the problem.  

Another little example, decades ago I worked in a large chemical plant and I remember a day that I saw a very troubling light on a diagram of a piping system that covered a 40' long wall.  A bright red light was flashing next to a little label that read high pressure.  A control room full of technicians just sat there looking at their individual terminals or with their heads down looking over documents.  I asked the person I was there to see if the little light was any reason for concern, he looked at me for a second, looked at the wall, looked back and me and said "yeah, probably, it's supposed to be green"  I had been watching this thing blink red for almost an hour while I worked a PC and not one person in the room seemed to notice it that entire time.  They were so used to blinking lights in their peripheral vision that when one changed they were blind to it. It's a data blindness that I think a lot of people are going to develop.  

 

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:31:38 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@SaneIT, "data blindness" sounds like one of those things that we should be covering a bit more intently. And you're right: I've also known lots of professionals who just ignore the flashing lights because they've become part of the environment.

Makes you wonder just how many blinking lights were ignored in the Chernobyl control room.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/2/2015 | 8:20:30 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
I guess this is my soap box recently, I hear a lot of "we need this data" without anyone understanding why or what they are going to do with it.  It's great to be able to say you have data but you really need to have a plan regarding why you're collecting it and what you're going to do with it.  Making a graph is not a plan by the way.

 

On the Chernobyl note, it is a pretty good example but not because of ignored lights.  What happened was they were testing backup coolant pumps that were supposed to function in the event of a power loss until a set of generators came online to restore power.  Someone decided that shutting the reactor down completely for this test wasn't necessary even though every safety procedures told them it was necessary.  The technicians had become so comfortable around a running nuclear plant that they were blind to volumes of safety instructions.   Long story short they side stepped all that boring data that they had thrown at them for years because they were the experts.  Turns out those safety procedures were there for a reason and when things didn't go as planned, the events quickly got out of control and there was no way to stop the chain reaction.  This is all from memory of a documentary but I'm pretty sure I've got 90% of that right.  While it might not have been a technician ignoring a blinky light it was the result of people ignoring good data.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 7:29:04 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
SaneIT,

Brilliant-Brilliant Series of Observations!

Data Blindness is something which just can't be neglected any longer.

I Have little doubt that most folks who are used to being constantly inundated with Data/Information will just nod in Agreement with what you had to say here.

Lets just say we are still some way from achieving Absolute Perfection in this space today!

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
3/2/2015 | 8:54:44 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Ashu001, do you think there's a straightforward solution to the problem of data blindness -- which I absolutely agree is a problem -- or is it one of those things that's going to be a problem that's intractable under the current avalanche of data?
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 3:15:27 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
 

" If the data being collected and displayed isn't useful we will fall into the habit of ignoring it."

@SaneIT: I totally agree with this. The backbone of the technology has to be the useful applications and the technology shouldn't exist just for the heck of it. With IoT it seems like a large amount of data and technology is available yet there are not many practical purposes as yet for which the data and technology can be used for.

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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2/27/2015 | 7:51:52 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@tzubair, thank you, it's nice to know someone out there sees the IoT push the same way that I do.  I see a lot of tiny sensors all over the place catching every little piece of data and plotting it in beautiful charts but if all it's doing is showing me normal variances I'm just going to start ignoring it and when problems creep in I'm going to ignore those too.  I think in many cases the data needs to be a little more silent and only the exceptions should be presented to us.   If you've got a device pinging you all day telling you everything is good chances are you're going to have started ignoring it when the first warning signs come in.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/27/2015 | 11:24:24 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@SaneIT, I think one of the interesting areas of study is in just how that "outlier" data can be effectively presented. I saw a demonstration several years ago in which sound was used: If you represent the data as a tone, differences show up as a different "note". We can often hear, and respond to, that changed note much more easily than we would see a different number in a sea of tabular data (or even a spike on a graph).

Whether you're working in haptics or something else, the user interface piece of the puzzle is critical and changing very quickly.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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2/28/2015 | 6:36:47 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
Curt,

Was'nt increasing automation of Software supposed to solve that issue[That and machine learning]?

I have no doubt something along the lines of what you are suggesting here would change things dramatically in this space-The Administrator/Technician would be saved the trouble of going through so many False Positives then.

Not just that but he would also get more efficent in the process.

 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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3/2/2015 | 10:41:05 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Ashu001, you're absolutely right: Software automation was supposed to take care of many problems. The only thing is that software automation tools are very good at generating very mediocre code. So far, we've been able to write packages that can write code that's "good enough" for many situations. If you want truly optimized code, though, you need to have a creative human being behind the keyboard.

I think the best situation is going to be a partnership between humans and systems: Let the systems take care of weeding out most of the noise (or generating a decent framework from which to begin), then turn it over to someone who's skilled and creative to turn out the best solution in the least amount of time.

At least, that's what I think today...
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/2/2015 | 8:27:28 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Curt, I agree that the interface is going to be difficult for many especially when the scale of your data has very loose tolerances.  There will be systems where the tiniest fluctuation of data will be an issue and any bump will be cause for alarm but there will be systems where the data can fluctuate wildly and not really mean anything significant.  Those systems are going to be very hard to report on in the beginning because human nature is to look at two numbers and compare them, often giving one a distinction of "better".  That kind of reporting will just wear people out until an interface is built to guide the use of that data.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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3/2/2015 | 9:12:45 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@SaneIT, it may be that IoT data is what finally teaches the lesson on the huge difference between precision and accuracy. We're going to get a lot of information of dubious accuracy that's presented with a high level of precision. There will also be some very accurate data provided by sensors that are only somewhat accurate. The challenge is going to be designing management and presentation systems that are able to deal with both.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/3/2015 | 7:57:39 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Curt, I think you're right that the distinction between precision and accuracy will be made but I also think that what we should see is a shift from the push of more data, more data, more data to, more meaningful data presented in a meaningful way.  
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/5/2015 | 11:41:23 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
"you're right that the distinction between precision and accuracy will be made but I also think that what we should see is a shift from the push of more data, more data, more data to, more meaningful data presented in a meaningful way.  "

SaneIT, you are right. Instead of pushing or holding more data; we have to think in other way "more meaningful data presented in a meaningful way" . 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/6/2015 | 7:53:16 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Gigi3, I know that makes sense to build out systems that present this massive collection of data in meaningful chunks but I see very few who are going this route.  Most of the IoT applications I see don't really define what they are going to do with the data.  In many cases the best interface would be a warning light to let people know that some metric is out of an acceptable range then give them the ability to dig deeper.  Most of what I have seen is "here we'll throw this pretty graph at you, figure out what to do with it".
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/9/2015 | 11:59:34 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
"I know that makes sense to build out systems that present this massive collection of data in meaningful chunks but I see very few who are going this route.  Most of the IoT applications I see don't really define what they are going to do with the data.  In many cases the best interface would be a warning light to let people know that some metric is out of an acceptable range then give them the ability to dig deeper.  Most of what I have seen is "here we'll throw this pretty graph at you, figure out what to do with it"."

SaneIT, I feel in IoT all data values are sensible. Based on values, various operations or conditions are performed. But whether we need to hold these values for a long time without referring or reusing? 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/10/2015 | 8:16:49 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Gigi3, I'd say that a vast majority of the  data could be thrown out milliseconds after it is captured.  Data that does not fall outside of a normal range can just be tagged with the rest of the "everything is normal" data using a floating timestamp.  It's not until things change that IoT really becomes powerful.  Those changes are what make seeing the data useful. 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/13/2015 | 5:59:43 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
"I'd say that a vast majority of the  data could be thrown out milliseconds after it is captured.  Data that does not fall outside of a normal range can just be tagged with the rest of the "everything is normal" data using a floating timestamp.  It's not until things change that IoT really becomes powerful.  Those changes are what make seeing the data useful. "

SaneIT, thanks for the clarification. You mean that datas beyond the boundary values atre using only for decision making and won't relevant to it in any other respect?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/13/2015 | 8:20:45 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Gigi3, in most cases no.  For example let's say you have an application where pressure is being measured and let's say 30-35PSI is "normal" and fluctuation is expected so you have a chart of entries every 30 seconds and it looks like 30,32,30,30,34,33,30,31,32,30,30,32, and it goes on like that for months, do you really need each and every 30 second interval?  Or is what you need a single entry that reads "normal" for several months and an entry that reads "high" if the pressure creeps up past your "normal" threshold?  Keeping each entry is going to take up space, slow down queries over time and just turn into a blur of numbers.  This kind of data presentation tends to put the average person to sleep and your data folks just end up averaging those numbers out anyway because they know that no one wants to see one digit intervals on a chart when those intervals don't have any real meaning. Spread that out of over a few years and hundreds of sensors and you can see how this data set could get out of control and still have very little useful data in it.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
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3/17/2015 | 3:34:44 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
Sane I meant the same and mentioned it through one of my previous comments

""you are right. Instead of pushing or holding more data; we have to think in other way "more meaningful data presented in a meaningful way" . 

Representing the datas in a sensible way is more important than storing junk values.
tzubair
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tzubair,
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2/28/2015 | 7:16:40 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
"If you've got a device pinging you all day telling you everything is good chances are you're going to have started ignoring it when the first warning signs come in"

@SaneIT: Exactly. IoT is never about just data. While data collection is an essential part, gathering too much data, as you said, can totally miss the objective. IoT is about having smart devices which are able to gather the data and take decisions on our behalf, or at least, organize and present information in a way that the decision-making becomes much easier.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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3/2/2015 | 7:56:59 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@tzubair, I have no doubts that many other people see this in the same light that I do, the posts in this thread are a good indicator that people are putting some thought into the issues of being inundated with data from the IoT, I think what we need now is a group of people to step up and lead the charge to build those smarter, more tightly focused IoT devices and applications so that the current mentality shifts away from grab all the data and spit it back out.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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3/2/2015 | 9:00:54 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@tzubair, I think you've put your finger on something critical here -- IoT has to be able to assist us is making better decisions and responding more intelligently to our environment. If the technology doesn't do one of those things, then it's just a toy, no matter how bright and shiny it may be.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/27/2015 | 11:18:46 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@tzubair, for me one of the more exciting parts of what's going on is that experimenters -- amateurs, if you will -- can do all sorts of interesting things with these mountains of available data. I love the idea that people who don't know what's impossible can get to work and pleasantly surprise the enterprise world.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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2/28/2015 | 6:53:31 AM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
Curt,

Do you feel that there are many companies/Organizations/Governments who would happily make available all these mountains of Data freely to the Public?

Seeing how nervous Governments are getting about Many Real or Imagined Enemies I have a hard time believing that we will get to see all this mountains of Data freely accessible to all and everyone around us.

Please do correct me if I am wrong here.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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3/2/2015 | 4:39:01 PM
Re: 6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks
@Ashu001, in some senses we're already seeing governments releasing a lot of information -- they just tend to be rather selective about which mountains they're willing to release into the wild.

When it comes to things like building control (and, even more strictly, wearable technology data) then I think a great deal will depend on just how the data is ultimately classified. If the data is classified as belonging to a building or being part of an anonymous, amorphous population, then it will be quite available. If, on the other hand, it's defined as "personal data," then people (and governments) will become much more tight-fisted about its release.
pfretty
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pfretty,
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2/26/2015 | 11:17:30 AM
Great list!
IoT has so many components that make it a reality from the sensor, mobile technology, processor capabilties all of which ultimate gather and transfer the data for timely analysis to move to the next stage and make a meaningful impact on an organization's ability to accomplish key goals - operational optimization, customer experience enhancement as well as new product development.  I'm excited to see all of this continue to build/evolve.

Peter Fretty, IDG blogger posting on behalf of SAS
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
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2/26/2015 | 12:31:07 PM
Re: Great list!
@Peter, thanks for joining the conversation! I agree, there are pieces of the IoT puzzle that will require many different skills to solve. I know a lot of people who are concentrating on the analytics side of things as they prepare for the flood of data all the sensors will provide, while I get very excited about tiny bits of machine intelligence added to everyday items. There's something there for just about everyone!


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