Used to describe the ever-growing web of interconnected personal devices and enterprise IT assets, the concept of the 'Internet of Things' suggests utopian visions of total integration once limited to the domain of science fiction. Individuals and organizations alike are already enjoying the benefits of an increasingly intertwined tech environment, and the IoT is poised to take this standard of connectivity to the next level.
As smartphones, tablets, personal computers and e-readers become staples of the typical consumer and corporate arsenal, there are countless opportunities for technology firms to take advantage of this vast market that will inevitably thrive. In fact, transforming the IoT from a nascent idea to a well-oiled machine will be top of mind for organizations across many industries.
Overcoming language barriers within the IoT
The imagination runs wild at the prospect of a fully integrated tech ecosystem that links personal devices, household appliances and even automotive electronics. However, achieving this level of cohesion hinges largely on software developers' ability to engineer a method by which these disparate systems can communicate with one another in an effective way. Because the languages that govern each distinct device are themselves unique, translating data and inquiries between platforms is bound to be one of the greatest challenges the IoT poses throughout its lifespan.
According to a recent article from InformationWeek, industry leaders are striving to close communication gaps that exist throughout the IoT in an effort to create a more seamless user experience.
"While it's called the Internet of Things, it's really more like a bunch of devices talking to their own siloed Internets," Liat Ben-Zur, chair of the AllSeen Alliance, told the news source. "The thermostat talks to the thermostat's cloud, and the refrigerator talks to the refrigerator manufacturer's cloud."
Can someone please get a translator?
InformationWeek explained that coding standards in the context of the IoT must be comprehensive and stringent, requiring manufacturers and developers to maintain a firm handle on best practices to avoid inconsistencies. An open-source project known as AllJoyn may be the great equalizer that programmers are looking for, as the solution will attempt to automatically translate communications across platforms with varying operating systems and specifications.
"You just take the code, put it as-is into your product, and there's really not any interpretation needed," Ben-Zur told the source. "It will be the same code that everyone else gets."
Even in light of such efforts to level the playing field, developers will have to remain diligent in their code review practices as the Internet of Things becomes an increasingly ubiquitous presence.