The internet of things needs developers. So what do developers need?

11 Comments

When it comes to the enterprise there’s a lot of interest in the internet of things, but also a lot of confusion as today’s tech giants struggle to take advantage of this shift. Most see it as a systems integration opportunity rife with service revenue and magic boxes that will remove the pain of collecting and organizing gigabytes of data collected across hundreds of thousands of sensors.

Cisco, Dell, IBM, AT&T, Verizon, Oracle, Intel and even GE all are trying to create some version of this scenario in physical hardware or software to sell. Some of these companies have even teamed up to form the Industrial Internet Consortium to try to build out reference architectures so others can simply plug in the available hardware and business processes designed to make taking advantage of cheap sensors and connectivity easier.

But this approach tries to make the internet of things fit the old-school, expensive M2M model where carriers sold cellular connectivity to enterprises for tracking assets and funneled that information to proprietary software platforms for use in some acronym-heavy effort like CRM or ERP or ILCM. But in a world where open-source software, a variety of much cheaper connectivity choices and agile design cycles proliferate, this old-school model isn’t going to fly.

Instead the internet of things needs developers. And developers need tools. The key isn’t the things, but the data these things generate and the applications that will be built on top of that data. But how developers will use the data generated by the internet of things is still an open question with pros and cons under each option. But letting developers build on that data must happen if we’re to take real advantage of the possibilities offered as this post from Bosch points out.


It’s a point that seems obvious, but what isn’t obvious is what those developers need to build the awesome apps that will make the internet of things such a disruptive force. The Bosch post mentions cloud efforts such as Xively, Axeda and others. Those look a lot more like places to store data and to offer APIs against it. Meanwhile many companies today are selling platforms to enable developers, from ARM’s mBed to Cisco’s DevNet or IBM’s new IoT Foundation. Others are offering protocols such as the Eclipse Foundation’s MQTT or The Intel-backed Open Interconnection Consortium. And still others are selling APIs.

In the months ahead I will keep an eye on how developers are building enterprise applications for connected devices. Are they using specially designed protocols? Cloud-based platforms and APIs? Abstracted platforms that let the developer affect use a popular language to control embedded devices without having to learn embedded frameworks? Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

11 Comments

yamanoor

I don’t think these organizations are teaming up to develop frameworks or something lofty like that. This is the next hype cycle and everyone wants the “others” to end up on the “Betamax” side of IoT. If you don’t believe me, the term IoT was coined in 1998 or something. Why the sudden urgency?

Bryan Kester

@gigastacey … Rick brought up a great point, take a look at cloud services that get you out the door in 24-48 hours vs. 3/6/9 month coding approach with Heroku, Bluemix and other “enablement” places. The problem with this emerging world, as with all early tech markets is one of delivering ROI to the masses. The fact of the matter is there is no room in initial IoT projects for any kind of “developer”. For every $100K of initial IoT budget, typically $90K is consumed by hardware and networking (or SIM data plans). Either the software gets underdone and delivers no ROI or it takes too long and the project loses financial and political support. After you see the ThingWorx stuff come take a look at SeeControl and have a double mind-blown. I will do it personally as well.

:)

-@seecontrol

Bryan Kester

@gigastacey … Rick brought up a great point, take a look at cloud services that get you out the door in 24-48 hours vs. 3/6/9 month coding approach with Heroku, Bluemix and other “enablement” places. The problem with this emerging world, as with all early tech markets is one of delivering ROI to the masses. The fact of the matter is there is no room in initial IoT projects for any kind of “developer”. For every $100K of initial IoT budget, typically $90K is consumed by hardware and networking (or SIM data plans). Either the software gets underdone and deliver no ROI or it takes too long and customers lose political and financial willpower. After you see the ThingWorx stuff come take a look at SeeControl and have a double mind-blown. I will do it personally as well.

:)

-@seecontrol

Steve Jennis

Hi Stacey, agree that it’s all about the data and the apps. The ‘Things’ are just there as data sources and sinks. But even before you select an app platform you need to ensure the data-sharing software infrastructure is in place to liberate the data from devices and stovepipes and make it available ‘as required’ system-wide….so the apps (whether in the cloud, in a device, in a tablet, or in an enterprise system) can access the data seamlessly on-demand to create new value from it (e.g. via analytics). The IoT is about liberating the data, only then can the apps do their work to create new value. So one of the most important ‘developer tools’ is the data-sharing platform (a kind of Twitter for Things). Have a look at http://www.prismtech.com/vortex to see what one can use today to deliver seamless data-sharing in real-time – system-wide. Best regards, Steve Jennis

Rick Bullotta

C’mon Stacey – show ThingWorx some love here. We’ve been focused exclusively on empowering developers with the tools/platforms to develop IoT applications 10-20X faster. And with the addition of Axeda to the family and our partnership with DataStax, Splunk, and others, we really have an unequalled stack from sensor to cloud, including data management, event-driven execution, process/ business system integration, UX, and analytics.

Rick Bullotta

@Stacey, have you had a ThingWorx demo lately? I think it would be really useful to get you up to speed on what we’re doing and what we’re offering. I have a feeling it will blow your mind. I’d be happy to do it personally.

Cheers,

Rick Bullotta
CTO/Co-Founder
ThingWorx

Bruno Cendón

True story, but we are still walking the technological path. Industry and market will set the de-facto standards in due time

geronimomolina

Feels like we’re having more technology than needs to be solved Jaja ..
Maybe we need embebed systems in the city or comunities more than houses or aparments …

Why would somebody like to measure the level of water of something in his room , or aparment , I don’t need it! ..

I think developpers need feedback from th users , to know what problems they really have , to develope solutions based in the internet of things …
for me , this is a social subject.

I do domotics by the way :p ..
http://www.sinaptica.ec

echamberlain

Aquariums, swimming pools, and well storage tanks come to mind as applications where someone would like to measure water levels at home.

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