The Internet of Things (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series) by Greengard Samuel

The Internet of Things (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series) by Greengard Samuel

Author:Greengard, Samuel [Greengard, Samuel]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780262527736
Publisher: The MIT Press
Published: 2015-03-19T16:00:00+00:00

5

Putting the Internet of Things to Work

The IoT Meets the Real World

As far more sophisticated sensors, microchips, and data analytics capabilities take shape, there’s a growing ability to observe environments and understand complex relationships. These devices—ranging from basic monitoring systems and data streams to complex biosensing devices that exist within bodies, pipes, crevices, and otherwise impossible to reach locations—are dramatically redefining how machines interact with the world around us, and how humans interact with each other.

Connecting all the digital dots is a significant challenge. Designing and building systems that truly work in the real world—and deliver maximum value—is remarkably difficult. Beyond the social and psychological ramifications, there are a number of technical and practical tripping points. Among them: interruptions to physical Internet access, component failures within systems, software bugs that generate errors and noise, data sharing across systems and organizations, coping with proprietary and competing systems, and dealing with upgrades, patches, and obsolescence.

There are also potential obstacles in terms of building out IT systems and end points that generate and capture reliable data, make it available for widespread use, and tap big data and analytics systems. Amid all of this, it’s clear that governments, businesses, and individuals must approach the Internet of Things in thoughtful, multidimensional, and creative ways. It’s critical to understand how people will use these systems in daily life and at work, how they might abuse or misuse systems and where the Internet of Things ultimately takes us. Will it simply speed up our already harried lives or produce genuine benefits? Will it foster mindless automation or deliver mind-bending improvements?

It’s a Matter of Standards

Although much of the plumbing for the Internet of Things is already in place—ubiquitous and pervasive communications networks, sensors that can detect activities and events in the surrounding environment, and computers that can sift through massive amounts of data and transform bits and bytes into information and knowledge—society is only beginning to connect devices in any meaningful way. Just as the introduction of the web offered a crude but remarkable glimpse into an emerging virtual world, connected devices and smart systems are in the early stages of adoption. Currently they deliver limited functionality, features, and value in niche areas and specific spaces.

One of the primary roadblocks on the path to a more robust and all-encompassing Internet of Things is the battle over protocols and standards. Within the high-tech arena, this is nothing new, of course. Different hardware standards, operating systems, and file and document formats have plagued and frustrated business executives and consumers alike. Only during the span of the last few years has the computing environment matured and powerful tools and mechanisms—such as standard file formats, unified messaging and cloud computing—created bridges to a more connected digital world. This evolution, often referred to as the consumerization of information technology , has forwarded usability and driven gains in productivity.

At the same time there’s been a march to more open standards. In 1991 Linus Torvalds released the first version of the operating system Linux, which has since mushroomed into a tech heavyweight.



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