The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for a long time. It has been under a variety of names, starting from Mark Wiesner's idea of ubiquitous computing in 1991. The term "Internet of Things" was apparently coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, but variants are known under names such as the Web of Things, the Internet of Everything and - in a separate line of development - Cyber-Physical Systems.
The IoT as a general concept has been around for 25 years and in this time there have been a large number of academic, theoretical and experimental systems produced. I became involved in this area in 1999 through a distributed technology from Sun Microsystems called Jini . This was originally promoted as being for internet devices, but never ran on the small J2ME devices also promoted by Sun and turned out to be most useful for business-level systems.
Over the last year or two, though, the IoT has really shot to the forefront of emerging technologies - twenty-five years in the making, of course! The impetus for this is probably a combination of factors all coming together. I would guess at
But most of all, I would point to the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi (RPi) as introducers of new technologies. I grew up in the Meccano era, and although it was a "toy", it bred several generations of British engineers who graduated from that into "real" engineering. In a similar way, the Arduino is introducing micro-controllers to a new generation of electrical engineers while the Raspberry Pi is helping to bring on the next generation of programmers. This is in addition to turning us more mature-age people back onto the technology!
Of course, the Arduino and the RPi are not in themselves the IoT. They are just the introductory stage, allowing everyone to experiment with home automation systems, web programming and so on. The IoT consists of the integration of the following technologies and systems:
These are all technologies and engineering. There would not be such a push to the IoT unless there were business incentives. There must be business opportunities. Clearly, the world's major IT companies believe they exist: Microsoft, Apple, Google and many other software and hardware companies are all pouring money into this, as are the networking companies such as Cisco and Huawei, while the communications giants such as Samsung, Ericsson and Sony are also jumping on board.
Regrettably, some of these companies are creating proprietary solutions, perhaps in the hope of cornering the market, perhaps just hoping it will be big enough to satisfy their shareholders. I'm not interested in proprietary solutions and will mention them more in passing than in detail. There are enough interesting challenges in this area without buying into "my locked-in system is better than yours" arguments.
The scope of this book is as follows: deal with each component piece of the puzzle, but try to see how the bits integrate together. This will take some time. This will consequently be an organic book, growing by bits and pieces as I will fill in the gaps. Hopefully you will find value in the bits that are done!
The book is labelled "IoT - A techie's viewpoint". You might expect it to be full of code examples, but it isn't. I assume that if I point you to a programming language such as Basic, you can look it up and be writing simple programs at least within a few hours. Or if I reference an IETF Request For Comment, that you can look it up and get as detailed an idea as you want about the subject. That is, basically I point to a topic and assume that you can learn. Google and sites such as Stack Overflow, W3Schools, etc, can be used to fill in the gaps.
Copyright © Jan Newmarch, firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Internet of Things - a techie's viewpoint" by Jan Newmarch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://jan.newmarch.name/IoT/.
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