The many connected worlds of Internet of Things

The Internet of things seems to have caught the fancy of every one from the everyday consumer to the government. It is exciting indeed to think what we could accomplish by having devices talk to each other over the internet. The excitement is growing rapidly and smart devices are being released with such ferocity that one wonders that when  billions of devices are connected in the next few years will there be order or chaos.

From tracking pets to  doctors monitoring their patient’s health to cars being controlled via smart phones. From power plants to smart grids to smart cities.

Even though the concept of a connected world or the Internet of Things is being accepted with fervor, intuition dictates that we do this with a grain of salt. 

Every example that we see of a connected world actually is a very small connected world within a large number of connected worlds. A network of connected worlds so to speak.

Consider the home automation system. It is one connected home leading to a network of many homes in the same network. The network is then a collection of home installs for a given company. This means that a city could have multiple company networks like the cable companies have today. 

Some IoT installs use WIFI while some use ZigBee while some Bluetooth. Each minor connected world tends to behave independently of the other. Some for business reasons while some for convenience of implementation.

History has shown that many of these small worlds,  will gravitate towards a few technological survivors . Others will fall by the wayside only to have gratified their creators that they were part of this revolutionary development. 

But in all this there remains the problem of interoperability.  It is critical that we start planning on how to make sure that there is a common standard so that all the small interconnected worlds  can communicate with each other without sacrificing their innovational privacies.

I do realize that there are many IoT standards in the fray competing to become the de-facto standard. But if history of standards is any indication this is going to be an uphill task.

As a developer this is very worrisome. The so called connected world is destined to becoming the fragmented world. Very soon and very quickly.

Worth reading is a post by David Evans in Tech Crunch titled “We Need To Get The Internet Of Things Right