Cluster Meeting Recap - Robotics
Internet of Things, iot, MassTLC

IoT creates Challenges and Opportunities

Article by: Martin Bakal, WW Agile & Embedded Software Solution Offering
Lead, Product Management + Design, IBM Rational Software
IoT creates Challenges and OpportunitiesOne of the big changes the electronics
industry is facing is how and when to automatically collect data from ranges of
devices and pass them to other machines. This is generally called M2M (Machine
to Machine) and IoT (Internet of Things), I recently attended a talk on this
subject. The link to a blog with the slides is located at

Overall session was very well attended and the speaker was by
Peter Coffee from The general theme was that IoT/M2M is being
used in many different ways today from finding pre-failure events to enhancing
the experience with applications. Most of the issues involved in implementing
this technology aren’t and there are companies that can support this type of
The biggest issue overall is trust. We have to trust the data
will be used in our best interests. I personally see this all the time when I
try to set my browser to not pass data back to servers, turn off GPS on my
phone, etc. Do you want your TV, refrigerator, car, etc to be passing around
information and the larger question is when/how does it benefit the end user?
In terms of building these smarter devices the general idea is
to connect, measure, think and then act as needed.. To really accelerate the
usefulness long term there are still some technical issues.
1)     We have to rethink networking.
Our current packet metadata only includes where we are going not where we came
from. There also is no concept on time stamping. This means apps only looking
for proximity type data or time relevant( in nanoseconds) have to open the
packet to act.
2)     Environments could be relaxed
to allow lossy data – Data coming through could paint a picture without needing
every packet and then falling behind
3)     Enable negotiation not just
transactional data – When we here about stolen data in the news the primary
issue is every source is trusted once something gets in the network and these
types of devices open more holes. The systems need methods to require
authentication internally.
4)     Need to connect to people not
just add additional data and confuse them.
5)     Battery life – do we want
smaller devices to chew their batteries just to pass this type of information
6)     Need to take a system of
systems approach and understand what the architecture is and why we are
building it, not just connect devices because we can. Connecting devices
without a purpose just leads to cost with no benefit.


Overall the opportunity to gain
more insights and respond quicker to events is huge and the changes will keep
coming. This is especially true in the realm of fixing devices, monitoring the
roads, etc. The larger issue is how quickly we are willing and able to make
these changes and not disenfranchise people along the way.

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