Last updated: 05 July 2017
Imagine you’re going to throw a party, and you’ve invited hundreds of people who speak different languages. Then throw in some guests who’ve lost their voices. Confusion would reign. It wouldn’t be a great deal of fun. It’s unlikely any new business partnerships or romantic alliances would be formed. But this same scenario threatens to slow down the progress of the Internet of Things (IoT).
If you think about it, the IoT is a like grand industrial equivalent of the party. It involves millions of machines talking to each other in order to make human lives better. These devices will be diverse, consuming different levels of power and connection bandwidth. Some will be always-on, others will transmit intermittently.
What then can those operating in the IoT learn from good global party planners about ensuring everyone involved has a good time?
- Agree where you’re going to connect: How will IoT devices connect with other devices and objects? We also refer to this as the transport layer. Options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular and the like. They each vary in range, power consumption and bandwidth, but obviously they need to interoperate in some way.
- Agree the language you’re going to use to communicate: IoT devices need to know how to interpret information received from each other. We refer to this as the application layer. There are three main codebase options here: Qualcomm’s Alljoyn, Samsung/Intel’s Open Interconnect Consortium and mobile platforms. You can learn more about these options and more by downloading The Gemalto Netsize Guide 2015.
As it currently stands, neither of these has been agreed, which is holding the IoT back from its full potential. Consider my party analogy, at the moment all the guests want to host it at different venues, serving different foods, with different opening times. They also speak an array of languages, and there’s no point in inviting the best, brightest and most impressive guests if they don’t speak the same language.
We believe that for the Internet of Things to really start adding value to consumers’ lives, much like NFC beer on tap and connected cars are starting to do, we need to make devices which are truly interoperable. Of course, that might be some way off so in the meantime, it may be worth considering an alternative—such as our SensorLogic application enablement platform. This platform connects any type of device over any network, acting like the perfect party host, introducing products and services to each other and ensuring they get along.
I’ve outlined the key transport and application options available above. Which do you think we should adopt as the industry standard and why? Let me know in the comments section below.