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For Embedded Engineers, the IoT Is Not Yet Here

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It's possible
alex_m1   9/26/2013 2:36:16 PM
If we start with the electric imp , it's not hard to surpass it's limitations:


1.Data storage not at your server:

Just write a bit of code , to use the imp servers as a transparent bridge to the server you are using. Verify with the imp providers no storage happens at their servers, or encrypt everything( i believe it's possible to add c code to the squirrel in imp, espcially if you're doing volume).


There might be simpler server/website dev tools than electric imp. For industrial applications and maintenece , thingworx seems powerfull and easy. Microsoft lightswitch is another usefull , easy to use option , just use it's REST service api , i believe. Alpha everywhere  by alpha software can might give similar level of simplicity , but i haven't looked on the details.

For consumer facing apps, if you really want want custom beautifull interface , i'm not sure what's the easiest way is,but maybe asking this at quora, , or would offer good answers.


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It is about configuration, not capability
dougwithau   9/26/2013 4:58:15 PM
Wow, I think all the commentors missed her point.

IoT is the next big thing, millions of devices and dollars, hype, hype, hype. But in reality it is not happening. Why?

As programmers and engineers we can not see the forest for the trees. My everyday experience is to install something new, configure it, find the wrong character or miss typed licence key and get it working. 


People are being bombarded with dire warnings about security and protecting their Wifi and personal networks. A secure solution is needed.

At the same time, no average consumer is willing to spend time typing in 128 bit HEX numbers to enable a thermostat. The problem is really terrible for a device without a display. So horrible, people simplely return the device, or don't buy.

At a past company we tried to setup Zigbee secure networks over a web interface. How did our installers and service people do this? They brought along a bar-code scanner rather than type the code for the device from the label. Most customers don't have a bar code scanner. Sending people to every home does not scale.

There is no standard for setting up wireless devices. WPS is not supported on older routers, so it is hit and miss. Everything else is proprietary.

As a builder, to use USB and copy network settings (my Brother printer with Wifi worked like this, very nicely) now we have to add a Windows XP, 7, 8 installer, and one for MAC. (Linux is coming soon, and always will be.)

Wait, everyone has a smart phone now, right? (not really, but...) Which phone do I build an app for? iPhone (old an iOS7), which fragmented Android device, or maybe Windows phone. Do we need to ship a cable too? The costs added for these one time use setup applications is huge.

The cost and complexity of configuring the IoT device is killing consumer adoption. This keeps IoT a business or industrial application and until this is fixed IoT will not live up to the hype.


rick merritt
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Re: It is about configuration, not capability
rick merritt   9/27/2013 2:23:32 AM
@Doug: Yes, it's like the early days of WiFi when finding a net SSID and logging on to it securely was an arcane, painful manual process for the user. Slooowly Msoft realized it needed to fix that in Windows to enable WiFi to take off.

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Low cost gateways and low powe end devices do exist with supported cloud platforms
rezaa_mir   9/28/2013 9:26:23 PM
The product with great volume cosumer producers backing is already changing the market dynamics.

It has below $20 internet gateways supporting both UDP and TCP as well as low cost low power wireless end device sensor/actuators for less than $2.

The cloud service can support millions of devices and manage device comissioning as well as remote firmware updates for gateways and OTA frmware update for the end devices all via secure transactions.

It is available via a startup company in SF Bay Area with large customers all over the world.



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IoT Cloud Platform to look at...
abba123456   10/1/2013 6:21:22 PM
I have begun to evaluate the IoT cloud platform from Ayla Networks ( and I really like what I see so far.  The founders include the Amazon development team that developed the entire connectivity platform for the Kindle.  They have a well thought out architecture and cohesive approach with the wireless chip/module/controller vendors.  It looks like next gen platform solutions are hitting the market now to overcome the challenges that this author has well articulated.

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Plain Text makes the life simpler
Kinnar   10/14/2013 7:20:29 AM
You are right, but if the communication is confined to plain text and only one language it will make the communication and collaboration of the devices over IoT more simpler but the world never goes to be like that, as the demand comes from the application layer and the implementations goes from the below layer, that too is crowded with many languages and technologies, so ultimately this will be going to increase the connectivity issues, just if I say plain hard words.

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Re: It is about configuration, not capability
Patk0317   10/17/2013 12:13:45 AM
Just one note to your post. Most people do have a bar code scanner. It is called a cell phone wth a camera and any one of a dozen or more apps that read bar codes. I use mine quite a bit.

I agree that IoT is not here yet in terms of ease of use, but complaining about it is not going to make it happen. As developers, WE need to make it easy to configure and use. It is going to happen, it is already happening. I have an app on my phone that lets me turn my home security system on and off from anywhere in the world. It was easy to install and it is easy to use.


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