by Christian Légaré, Micrium Executive Vice-President
In the previous two articles, I described the hardware and software required to build an IoT device. These devices (the “Things” in the Internet of Things) are an essential part of an IoT system. There are two more building blocks to complete our system design. In this segment, I will look at the Internet, its usage by IoT devices, and the existing and new Internet protocols supporting the explosive growth of this new industry.
The Internet is the sum of all the network equipment used to route IP packets from a source to a destination. The World Wide Web, by comparison, is an application system that runs on the Internet. The Web is a tool built for people to exchange information, and in the last twenty years, we have developed and refined the Web so that ordinary, non-technical people can use the Internet easily and productively. The human interface for the Internet now includes e-mail, search engines, browsers, mobile apps, Facebook and Twitter, and other popular social media.
By comparison, in IoT, the idea is for electronic devices to exchange information over the Internet. But these devices don’t yet have the machine equivalent of browsers and social media to facilitate communication. IoT is also different from the Web because of the speeds, scales, and capabilities that IoT devices require in order to work together. These requirements are far beyond what people need or use. We are at the beginning of the development of these new tools and services, and this is one of the reasons why a definition for IoT is difficult to lock down. Many visions about what it can, or could be, collide.