DOES THE IOT ALREADY EXIST?
The IoT is a popular buzzword in the computing industry, it appears in the marketing campaigns of major networking companies such as microprocessor giants .However, the phrase represents ideas that have existed since the beginning of the Web or been written about in whitepapers from well-known research laboratories.
So why isn’t the IoT a standard part of the way we do business today? Why is it still the subject of speculation and vision statements in keynote addresses at well-known computer industry events such as the annual Consumer Electronics Show?
The answer appears to be that the IoT exists for a small number of technologies that have the ingredients for a successful business case. In general, these early systems have tended to be closed ecosystems, using private APIs and locking up the data. This is counter to the spirit of open systems at the heart of the original Internet standards, reflecting instead the more recent commercial successes of proprietary business entities.
You can actually buy home automation systems that connect to the Internet through your home’s Wi-Fi. These systems are usually built with a bridge that controls the automation components through proprietary protocols on one side and communicates with open protocols to a proprietary Web service on the other.
Users can then employ desktop computers or smartphones as a client to control their home by interacting with the Internet service, effectively providing user interface hardware at no cost to the IoT device manufacturer.
FIGURE Various forms of electronic tags support the Physical Web (all about the size of a quarter): (1) a near-field communication (NFC) tag; (2) a quick response (QR) code; and (3) a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tag. However, it is not clear which technology—each with its own affordances and problems—will become the primary IoT enabler.
A significant hurdle to fully realizing the IoT relates to scale— specifically, expanding the Internet to IoT scale means that the address space for the Internet will need to increase by several orders of magnitude. Therefore, another requirement for supporting the IoT is a larger device address space than that provided by IPv4.
To enable this kind of expansion, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been working on the IPv6 standard for some time. When the transition is complete, the address space will be large enough to support every object on the planet, enabling embedded computers of all sizes to be easily integrated into the Internet.
However, a large percentage of the objects in the IoT will not be suitable for direct wired or wireless connection to the Internet, falling into the class of passive devices.
For these objects, a tag, smartphone, and proxy Web service is needed to provide users with the object’s Web presence. Of all the visionary ideas around the IoT, this one has made the least progress to date.