Read part 1 here
What’s an IoT developer to do?
Tasking developers with building the communication fabric that gratifies IoT connectivity requirements for proper deployment of connected products involves considerable drawbacks and potential difficulties.
Notably, roll-your-own infrastructure adds significant complexity and cost to the software development process. It further consumes precious development resources that can be instead assigned to implementing essential product features.
Consequently, cost overruns and schedule delays can ensue, jeopardizing the entire project and putting its viability at risk.
An IoT app is expected to work with devices other than those for which it has been originally designed and built.
Such adverse effects tend to become more acute as products entail higher-level functions that rely on IoT connectivity. These functions may include secure device provisioning and management, firmware upgrade, access control (authorization), message encryption, inter-device synchronization, support for multiple device types (e.g. web, mobile and embedded) and communication protocols, to name a few.
Wanted: A smarter network for IoT
Recognition of the challenges faced by IoT developers and the need to establish an interoperable communication fabric on top of which diverse IoT solutions can be built spawned a number of standardization efforts. The most notable such effort is the open-source framework IoTivity (by OCF), supported by a broad array of software and hardware industry heavyweights and hosted by the Linux Foundation.
Addressing interoperable device connectivity via broad-consensus, open-source frameworks is an important step toward maturing an IoT stack and accelerating the adoption of IoT across the various industries. These frameworks effectively provide an essential piece of the sought-after communication fabric. Rapid adoption of the frameworks should pave the way for fabric add-ons to support IoT use cases that are being discovered and subsequently deployed as commercial-grade solutions.
The need for a smarter network for IoT is also evident via the observation that an IoT app is expected to work with devices other than those for which it has been originally designed and built. Similarly, an IoT device is expected to work with apps other than those with which it had been originally developed, tested and released.
A playground for IoT ecosystems
A quick trip back to the early days of the Web is instrumental in demonstrating the dynamics that led to its rapid evolution and universal deployment on a global basis. Once the web stack emerged — HTTP as a client/server protocol and HTML as a content and layout format — there was no stopping the ascent. Foundational components soon followed — web browsers and servers, content authoring tools, web frameworks, app servers and many more as the web further expanded from computers to mobile devices, ultimately resulting in a fertile web/mobile ecosystem.
We’re now at the cusp of the next phase in networking stack evolution, ignited by the expansion of client/server and peer-to-peer computing to Things, estimated to be an order of magnitude or more in number of connected devices. The emerging stack will serve to foster rapid evolution and ubiquitous deployment of IoT for myriad stakeholders rushing to raise the stakes in anticipation of economic windfalls by participating in the emerging IoT ecosystem.
We aim for consensus on a richly functional IoT stack and availability of network infrastructure that addresses interoperability and quality-of-service challenges of IoT connectivity. These include securing of the data streams produced and consumed by IoT edge devices and services. Reaching broad consensus will enable us to answer the question “is the Internet ready for IoT” in the affirmative.
The promise for developers putting together IoT solutions is to be able to spend the bulk of their time and effort building features rather than spending their precious resources on building expensive and error-prone IoT infrastructure.
Connected devices, apps and services can start relying on this IoT communication fabric for robust deployment. The manifold for vendors releasing products will expand and new platforms leveraging the fabric will foster accelerated innovation and solution success within the IoT ecosystem. Perhaps the day of the ubiquitous dial tone for devices, apps and services that stream data everywhere is not too far in the future.
Written by Doron Sherman
Originally posted on techcrunch.com