I see what you're saying. Obviously the IoT isn't here yet. People are getting excited about the prospects, but pretty much anyone who understands the underlying idea will agree.
I think that maybe more important than the tech that connects will be the software systems that analyse data and pull intereting information from it. We KNOW that you amazing engineers will come up with a plethora of ways to transfer some bits. however, we don't know whether the refrigerator manufacturer will open the data in a way that the phone provider can use that data well.
I hear what you are saying from a developers point of view, but I also think about things from a user's perspective.
It's not so long ago that achieving any sort of connectiving (like linking two PCs together via a cable (using plug-in ISA boards) brought one to one's knees ... I was in an airport yesterday and connected my iPad to a free WiFi network to send an email to my mom and thought "wow, how things have changed!"
But as you say, from an embedded designer / developer's point of view, there's a bunch of stuff to wrap one's brain around ... I'm glad it's not me doing it :-)
It's an embarassment of riches, I think. Too many wireless PHYs, protocols, software stacks.
Now we are getting to many aporoaches to unifying it: Oracle pitches Java, Qualcomm pitches AllJoyn, the 6LoWPAN folks have high level glue of their own. Even little starup WigWag has its DeviceJS. Whew!
@Caleb: IoT has been here for a few years now, it is just that recent development activities have been more mobile-centric. Building automation (BACNet, LANNet, etc.) and process automation (OLE for process control -OPC) have been connecting "things" for many years and working as a developer in these is more clear than what the author alludes to in mobile-centric applications.
Logical Elegance is a small consulting company specializing in embedded system design and software. Under those auspices, I work for a few different client companies, designing new systems, bringing up boards, writing code, and generally doing what needs to be done to ship neat gadgets.
What do you think of the IPv6 embedded MAC implications to IoT?
Which way should the industry go with IPv6 (local hidden networks with random MACs that require a Proxy to access the home or business) or IPv6 direct to each device in the home and business?
Background:IPv6 has the promise of removing the need for a Proxy to gain access to the IoT in a home or business. Because the IPv6 address is so large there is no longer a need for net local addresses used in IPv4. Our industry has a choice with IPv6 of either using local addresses and hiding all the devices from direct remote access or exposing every device directly to the Internet. The addition of the MAC address into the IPv6 address makes device level direct access for IoT very easy to do. Using IPv6 for direct access to IoT devices will make it much easier for everyone to use their IoT devices but it will also make it much easier for governments and criminals to easily learn a great deal about us and even gain access to controlling our lives. For example exposing MAC numbers in the IoT provides a great deal of information about who we are, what we own, how big our home is, how much we earn, how many people are in our family, what we eat..... The embedded MAC also makes it easy for governments to track us any where we go. In countries that restrict their citizens these are big issues to consider and we engineers are the only ones that understand the issues well enough to speak out.
Privacy v.s. Easy Access to IoT: I believe IPv6 with a directly exposed IoT MACs provides the stairway to "1984" and "Atlas Shrugged" -> not a good idea. Instead we should use link-local IPv6 and create standards for Free Proxies that provide access to our devices through the Googles, Bings, and for pay private Proxies.
The IoT is sure going to make the life of Embedded developers complicated till the time some standards get evolved on how the gadgets connected as Things on the Internet would talk to each other and how and in what format they will exchange information - command as well as responses.
In one of the previous blogs on this subject I had suggested an implementation of a high level command interface like those AT commands for good old modems.
Also there is a need to have some kind of device classification so that the devices which are dissimilar in their functionality need not communicate with each other ( because it will be meaningless and unnecessary burden on the network traffic)
IoT will be a new paradigm that the Embedded developers will have to shift to .
What are the engineering and design challenges in creating successful IoT devices? These devices are usually small, resource-constrained electronics designed to sense, collect, send, and/or interpret data. Some of the devices need to be smart enough to act upon data in real time, 24/7. Specifically the guests will discuss sensors, security, and lessons from IoT deployments.