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The Internet of Things is Made of Signals


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People. Devices. Smart objects. Things. All of these create data, or signals. Signals, and responding to them in intelligent ways, are what drives behaviour. We’ll look at how the Internet of Things is, in fact, made up of signals – and some of the technology considerations to think about.

Presentation from Thingmonk 2013

Published in: Technology, Business

The Internet of Things is Made of Signals

  1. 1. The IoT is Made of Signals People, things, protocols… 
 and how we can make it all work… ! Andy Piper @andypiper People. Devices. Smart objects. Things. All of these create data, or signals. Signals, and responding to them in intelligent ways, are what drives behaviour. We’ll look at how the Internet of Things is, in fact, made up of signals – and some of the technology considerations to think about.
  2. 2. Once upon a time (ok, well, 2008.) James mentioned Matt Biddulph’s masterly “made of messages” talk to me when we were discussing my participation at Thingmonk. If you’ve never been through these 18 slides, it is worth your time. James also gave me the useful guidance “go meta”…
  3. 3. What is a Signal? …a function that conveys information about the behavior or attributes of some phenomenon… In the physical world, any quantity exhibiting variation in time or variation in space (such as an image) is potentially a signal that might provide information on the status of a physical system, or convey a message between observers Back to basics. What is a signal and why is the Internet of Things all about signals? Well, signals are really important. They surround us. Like the Force, they permeate our environment.
  4. 4. The Internet is made of… People? We’re here at an event about The IoT So what about the internet… apart from being a network created by academia, the military, and powered by innovations from the porn industry?
  5. 5. People are social One of the reasons the internet has become a social space is that humans are, fundamentally, a social species. We like to share.
  6. 6. We’ve spent centuries developing communications technologies to share our experiences. The pace of innovation has increased. We’ve gone from days to milliseconds for point-topoint communications.
  7. 7. conveying a message between observers The power of Broadcast But broadcast has always been instantaneous between OBSERVERS. We can think about smoke signals in this context. You can choose to listen… or not.
  8. 8. Morse From around 1836, US and UK scientists began to develop what we now know as Morse Code They had a telegraph system, with limited bandwidth, and chose to develop a method for sending messages via clicks (onto paper), and later bleeps and lights. There wasn’t one standard initially Did you know, Morse code stopped being used by most int’l agencies in 1999… sad.
  9. 9. the new Morse? is a niche mobile app for audio messaging - it is one-to-many; with no security; anyone can see or hear it. Reminds me a lot of Morse! (looking forward to the new Chirpino board!)
  10. 10. What can we learn here? OK so there are point-to-point and broadcast methods of communication, and the internet is made of people.
  11. 11. Connections are good … synchronicity is tough? Connections enable sharing Data and protocols can be complicated In particular, we need to agree on protocol A protocol is like a handshake Data is like a language
  12. 12. HTTP is for documents is it good for signals? So let’s talk protocols. One of them is really common… HTTP was basically built for request-response situations “I want a document in my web browser now" We’ve bent and massaged it and added features, we’ve even added WebSockets on the principle that realtime is good. But that’s not network efficient, or simple. Many methods. Verbose. Request-response when I want to send just power and temperature values. 1-1 Point-to-point DOES. NOT. SCALE. As someone said recently at the Campus IoT Accelerator event - “HTTP is not fit for purpose for the IoT”
  13. 13. Signals ~ Messages Biddulph’s Theorem? ! “A message is an atomic unit of data that can be transmitted on a channel.” Back to basics again. Let’s think of Signals as Messages. So what we have is a USEFUL piece of data. Broadcasting those signals to interested observers is USEFUL. Combining those signals —> amplification
  14. 14. The Internet of Signals is a feedback loop Things Signal Data Analysis People In the end, the Internet of People AND Things / Signals is all about DATA For Data to be useful, we want to analyse and reuse it in a reasonable period of time (or the Data is archived, or wasted)
  15. 15. Protocols diversify HTTP, MQTT, DDS, AMQP, STOMP, WebSocket… what next? The other week at an “IoT accelerator” event at Google Campus a number of us here heard that Standards are vital, and that if we all only just went and agreed to use the One Platform to Rule Them All, we would be fixed. But as Rick Bullotta said this morning - there won’t be one standard
  16. 16. MQTT broadcast, combine, learn MQTT (and MQTT-SN) becoming a standard (at OASIS) Importantly - more important than standards process - Eclipse is hosting an Interoperability Testing Workshop at EclipseCon.
  17. 17. Integration is inevitable Eclipse Ponte & node-red I’ve been working in IT for 20+ years I’ve seen the wheel turn through EAI to SOA to IoT Standards are useful Usefulness is more useful - APIs KISS - Protocol and Data! —> this is why MQTT is so powerful in my opinion
  18. 18. In 2006 Adam Greenfield published Everyware talked about Ubicomp Computing power embedded in everything The Minority Report gesture-based, customised and personalised UI becoming a reality Today, the building blocks to enable this are more real than ever before
  19. 19. Final thoughts Some fun tweets
  20. 20. Final thoughts Some fun tweets
  21. 21. Thanks - Creative Commons photography • • • • • • • Thanks to Matt Biddulph for inspiration, and also to Patrick Bergel for interesting thoughts based off!