Enabling IoT

1Executive Summary

While the internet of things (IoT) is creating quite a buzz in the media and despite the fact that it is built on solid foundations such as machine to machine (M2M) communications, these remain early days for the technology. With architecture standards and communications protocols still in their infancy, today’s use cases tend to be custom-designed, using a combination of embedded sensors, gateway devices, networking communications, and backend services.

This report is aimed at embedded device manufacturers, telecommunications operators, and cloud service providers aiming to add value to their portfolios, as well as application developers and architects looking to respond to existing and new opportunities for IoT. It drills into what needs to be in place for IoT to deliver on its promise, with particular emphasis on how embedded devices integrate with cloud-based analytical services.

Key findings are as follows:

  • From an architectural perspective, IoT extends the sensory network of the enterprise, enabling smarter decision making and faster response to events, potentially in real time.
  • To be successful, IoT use cases need to fit with the way technology is being adopted by today’s agile businesses. This means taking account of cloud-based software-deployment models as well as focusing on the early delivery of business value.
  • Most use cases follow one of three architectures: ultra-thin, smart client, or peer to peer. Each relies on different combinations of technology elements, from embedded sensors and gateway devices to processing and analytics.
  • A number of constraints exist, including reliability and responsiveness, simplicity and interoperability, and security and privacy. These create a threshold of acceptability against which potential use cases can be measured.

Feature image courtesy Flickr user Jeff Wilcox

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