6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks - InformationWeek

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2/22/2015
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6 Internet Of Things Building Blocks

Need an embedded system to whip up an IoT prototype? These six platforms make it easier than ever to get started with embedded programming.
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Six Building Blocks for the Internet of Things
(Image: courtesy of Arduino)

(Image: courtesy of Arduino)

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.

Fortunately for engineers and product designers everywhere, it has become rather easy to find very capable small computers that can be rolled into an object to bring it into the Internet of Things. More to the point, it's become easy to find embedded systems that make use of the same operating systems and programming languages used in business servers and workstations.

It's difficult to overstate the importance of being able to use common operating systems and programming languages to develop prototypes and production systems for the Internet of Things. Embedded systems have been around for decades, but for most of their existence programmers have needed special software development environments to write code in unique languages (often, but not always, a variation on assembler for the processor sitting at the heart of the computer).

Now, there are various platforms on which people can develop prototypes for IoT applications. Some of these are the same platforms that will ultimately be used in a final product, while others will simply be the initial springboards from which to launch a product. Either way, the systems here will help a product development team get a project off the ground.  

There's one more thing that really must be mentioned here: Any of these systems can also be a great way to teach people programming. Whether you're thinking about a system for teaching a young person how to code, or just looking for a way to sharpen some of your skills, you won't really go wrong tinkering with any of these embedded systems.

The real challenge to you is this: What do you want to build today? The embedded platform is no longer a good excuse for avoiding the dream project you've had locked in your head.

 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
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.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
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,
User Rank: Ninja
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,
User Rank: Ninja
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,
User Rank: Ninja
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,
User Rank: Ninja
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,
User Rank: Ninja
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" . 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
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
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.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
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.  
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