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IoT Faces 4 Key Challenges

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rick merritt
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Nixing the smartphone
rick merritt   3/31/2014 10:45:18 AM
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Can wearables really afford to build in their own cellular connection? Who has the low cost components and software for that?

AZskibum
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
AZskibum   3/31/2014 6:09:52 PM
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"People simply don't want to take their phones, especially large form-factor smartphones, with them everywhere they go." Or perhaps just the opposite. We all know people who can't imagine going anywhere without their smartphone. For cost & power reasons, today's wearables primarily use BTLE to upload their stored data, usually to a smartphone. Why not leverage that LTE link & apps processor that is usually "worn" at the same time as the wearable device. For those cases where the user prefers to not carry the phone (while jogging, for example), is it such a burden for the wearables to retain it's data until it is once again within range of an internet-connected device? How many consumers would pay extra for a wearable that has it's own independent internet connection?

junko.yoshida
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
junko.yoshida   3/31/2014 7:48:49 PM
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I love this opinion piece.

When the author said, "For starters, if the IoT market is to reach its full potential, the tether to the smartphone has to be cut," he clarified what he envisions as the quintessential IoT device.

I tend to agree with him. The IoT device, in my mind, is an unintrusive device that people don't even notice that it's there, but in fact, it's everywhere. It's on the wall, it's on the floor, it's on the door, it's on streets. But probably not the smartphone, with which people have just too many interactions for other purposes.

 

ACOrrantia
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
ACOrrantia   3/31/2014 7:38:33 PM
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Rick, the IoT devices can definitely not afford to build their own LTE connection.  However, they can have Low Power Bluetooth, as an example.  Right now, the components and software are not quite there.  Although they are on the horizon.  Not just on a wearables side of the equation.  We've seen more and more BTLE hubs as stand alone devices and being added to existing wireless routers.  

If the application, for whatever reason, necessitates an interaction with a cellular network, then allowing the wearable to capture data unteathered for a time and then uploading the data when reconnected to a phone or a BTLE hub is certainly one alternative.  Some applications, like in the jogging hypothetical that AZskibum referenced, may need real time communications.  In that case, relying on a gps chip on a phone isn't ideal.  The wearable itself is going to need low power sensors. 

The radio is just one variable in the untethered equation.  The low power sensors and flexible batteries or alternative power sources also need to be developed.  Granted, the technology to do these things doesn't exist now.  Don't blink!  It is coming.

alex_m1
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
alex_m1   4/1/2014 8:32:16 AM
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Angel , you mentioned BTLE hubs becoming availble. What about bluetooth mesh hubs and solutions  ?

markhahn0
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
markhahn0   4/1/2014 12:32:11 AM
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Several premises here are just wrong.

One mistake is that the author seems to equate wearables with IoT - not so!  There's nothing wrong with activity trackers, but there's so much more to IoT.  Garage-door sensors, spoiled-milk detectors, smart toilets, fire alarms, smart water faucets, pet foot sensors, whatever.

The other big problem (not limited to this article) that IoT works by connecting everything to the cloud.  That's just crazy - or rather, it's just sloppy thinking.  Yes, the cloud is handy for a certain level of connectivity, but we don't want everything going there.  For privacy reasons, as well as energy ones - what we need is *protocols* to permit local handling of IoT data.

Protocols and standards (ie, public, vendor-independent ones) are what needs the most work.

Cuno
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
Cuno   4/1/2014 10:45:27 AM
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I always get weary when reading about exactly what the Internet of Things will be, or will not be, or has to be. As if anyone could really know at this time.

As others have pointed out: equating IoT with wearables appears as a rather narrow view. @junko.yoshida makes a good point of that (although meaning the opposite): all the examples appear to be non-wearable, not even mobile ("on the wall" etc.).

markhahn0
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
markhahn0   4/1/2014 11:10:00 AM
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Weary or not, I don't think you actually read my comment.  The interesting question is how IoT is going to develop the interoperable protocols necessary to make it work, work *together*, in useful ways.  The current path seems to be "throw all data to vendor-specific cloud sites and hope that someone like Google saves the day by making interop".

It's strange that the industry has gotten away from classic IETF-like approaches - I speculate this is because lawyer/MBA types are constantly braying about IP.

Cuno
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Re: Nixing the smartphone
Cuno   4/1/2014 11:12:55 AM
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Oops, sorry, this shouldn't have been a reply to your comment... "Weary" referred to the original article. I fully agree with your comments!

PabloBrysono
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Is IoT new?
PabloBrysono   4/1/2014 3:31:30 PM
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I am very skeptical of the IoT hype.  Most of the applications people mention for IoT have been possible and I would argue practical for decades.  I have been in the home automation industry for a long time and I have seen many technologies arise which made similar promises only to settle into niche markets or fade away: X10, CEBus, Zigbee, Z-Wave, UPnP, and so on.

I can only see two differences with IoT:

1) the current ubiquity of smart phones

2) more than the usual amount of hype (engendered mainly by #1).

So if the smart phone isn't the driver for IoT, why would people suddenly start wanting intercontinental lighting control and big data infographics of their refrigerator contents?

alex_m1
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Re: Is IoT new?
alex_m1   4/1/2014 6:52:48 PM
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@pablo :a lot of this hype, true. But today it's much easier to develop and prototype ideas about IOT and we do have new technologies to add to the mix ,so many more ideas get tried by people of varied backgrounds and some will have good value.

 

 

krisi
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Re: Is IoT new?
krisi   4/2/2014 3:15:17 PM
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Agree...lots of hype...but billions or trillions of sensors connected will be useful...local, accurate weather forecast would have a tremendous value, just measure pressure, temperature and humidity and do some calculations in real time....people, farmers, airlines etc will pay millions for such a service...this is just an example...nothing to do with wearable, smartphones etc...someone needs to figure out IoT value

alex_m1
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Re: Is IoT new?
alex_m1   4/2/2014 4:55:32 PM
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Krisi, in order to get a sense of savings due to IOT let's look at 2 examples

1. Using connected sensors in garbage containers, trash collection routes can become 30% more efficient.

2. Using sensors in greenhouses, crops would take 1/3 less time to grow according to recent research.


Just looking at these two examples and the weather example you mentioned, and extrapolating,  it seems likely that IOT's value is more than a trillion dollars globally, maybe much more. This is of course value to the economy, value to IOT creating companies is different and depends more on competitive effects. But still that's lots of money and potential.

 

krisi
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Re: Is IoT new?
krisi   4/2/2014 5:05:55 PM
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Great examples Alex...gains will be in trillions, I agree...but how do we get there? and who will make the money?

alex_m1
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Re: Is IoT new?
alex_m1   4/2/2014 6:52:34 PM
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Krisi , we get there throught lots of work and time(it's not software, it's physical things and those take time).

Who will make the money ? The best way to have market power, and hence lots of money is throught network effects. There's also patents but not sure how valuable are they as a way to capture markets.

krisi
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Re: Is IoT new?
krisi   4/2/2014 7:43:44 PM
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Alex, more time and work is clearly needed...probably some innovation and investment too...some of these IoT projects are so large (like weather forecast example I cited) that governments could be involved, I wonder what people think about government involvement in building IoT infrastructure?

alex_m1
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Re: Is IoT new?
alex_m1   4/2/2014 8:53:16 PM
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Kris, i see 3 types of infrastructures

1. Wireless nets,clouds etc, which the private sector can handle just fine.

2. Things that directly relevant to public services, like the trash sensor example.It helps munipalies directly , so they should bbe involved.

3. Things like the weather sensing network(with regards to the specific case, pressure sensors in mobile phone could manage this, google pressure.net) and even if it       . Another such example could be pollution sensing, but it seems that currently the are a few pollution sensors deplpoyed , and there's a new startup doing sensor interpolation to get street level pollution estimates. Another such example would be parking sensors - which have dispered benefits , but the company(streetline) probably found a way to market those to cities with the city management itself benefiting.

My general guess is that there are creative ways to deploy many of those innovations while keeping everyone happy with "large government" .

 

krisi
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Re: Is IoT new?
krisi   4/3/2014 10:03:35 AM
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Ageed Alex...there are hundreds of interesting projects, big and small, that can utilize IoT in a very useful manner...in some federal government might have to be involved, in some state or municipal, and some could be just private...what strikes me in this discussion that technology component is rather small piece of the puzzle...how to put it together is a real question...smart grid infrastructure which is kind of IoT project takes several years to be designed and build...Kris

alex_m1
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Re: Is IoT new?
alex_m1   4/3/2014 1:28:40 PM
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>> what strikes me in this discussion that technology component is rather small piece of the puzzle...how to put it together is a real question..

Kris: True. I think that shifts the valuable skills of tech people more towards rapid prototyping/development , and understanding of users and business to "feel" how technical decision would impact the "whole" and to rapidly try, with low cost of failure , many combinations of that "whole".

prabhakar_deosthali
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re:
prabhakar_deosthali   4/4/2014 1:32:07 AM
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I agree to the comments made on Home Automation Products. A lot of hype was created by new technologies such as Fuzzy Logic, Neural networks and so on . But the basic functionality of the Home automation products - Washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners , microwave ovens had not changed much and the users normally forget all those jazzy words they heard while making a buying decision and even don't even refer to the manuals once the machines are installed into their homes.

So IOT related appliances will become popular only when they do something unique on their own and not just some value addition to the existing functinality.

If using IOT I am able to find out if my neighour's  fridge has the things I need urgently then that will a great help in the midlle of the night! ( LOL)

VitesseSemi
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Security for the IoT
VitesseSemi   4/7/2014 11:02:04 AM
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Security is another challenge to consider as we network more and more devices. Networks that were once closed are evolving to the IoT and connecting to the outside world, making them more vulnerable to hackers. To combat this, operators need to uphold stricter encryption standards than ever before. IEEE802.1AE "MACsec" security standard, for instance, sets a precedent for efficient, scalable, and affordable Layer-2 encryption. Since anything with an IP address is theoretically hackable, we can expect operators to rely heavily on this standard to overcome the threat of security breaches.

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