Connectivity enables cloud and data services – such as WOT.IO – that make IoT technology different from its predecessors.
By IoT Embedded Systems staff
Engineers looking at the internet of things can have a hard time of it. IoT has such a breath of scope that it’s sometimes really hard to grasp its reality. Is IoT something really different or is it, as Mike Muller, ARM CTO, recently asked, just a repackaging of what we’ve had all along? IoT is different in that it is now connected, which gives you availability of cloud services and big data advantages.
Think about a home with sensors on the oven, the water meter, the heating and air-conditioning, the lighting, and on the washer & dryer. They are all connected to a panel where the homeowner can see everything’s status. That’s nice, but IoT brings this to a much higher level where not only can she or he see the status from anywhere in the world, they can, for example, connect a malfunctioning appliance to a service company who has access to thousands of records for that very same appliance and can quickly match symptoms with repair methods.
This is where you begin to realize the true potential of the IoT. With the connection of homes, city infrastructure, health services, environmental monitors, and education systems, a very significant opportunity exists. The IoT is about taking small, low cost processing elements that are powerful enough to handle each of these little data points. It’s about making little data available.
To maximize an IoT application each node should have an extremely low cost and low power processor – preferably one that can run on a small battery for years. That small processor should have some processing power, however, and maybe even some DSP capability. It is much more power efficient for the local node to process or compress the data before sending it on, especially for wireless nodes. The communication link usually will take more power than the sensor. This is where ARM fits well. It is all about making Little Data available. And Big Data starts with Little Data.
Partnership and tools
mMaking IoT work will take partnerships and standards and tools. To make something on this scale requires some basic standards everyone can agree on. ARM’s approach is the ARM® mbed™ IoT device platform which includes mbed OS, mbed Device Server, and mbed tools. Partner MCU manufacturers have development boards using various ARM Cortex®-M series cores. MCU partner companies include STMicro, Renesas, NXP, Marvell, Freescale, and Atmel.
The mbed OS has the connectivity, security, and device management functions required for an IoT device. It provides a C++ application framework and component architecture along with a connectivity protocol stack supporting Bluetooth LE, Cellular, Ethernet, Thread, Wi-fi and 6LoWPAN. mbed OS works with Cortex-M based hardware and includes the automation of power management, device security, provisioning and secure firmware updates. It also has end-to-end IP security through TLS & DTLS with public key cryptography support.
The mbed Device Server is licensable software that provides server-side technologies to connect and manage devices in a secure way. mbed Device Server provides a bridge between the protocols designed for use on IoT devices and the APIs that are used by web developers and simplifies the integration of IoT devices that provide Little Data into cloud frameworks that deploy Big Data analytics on the aggregated information. Built around open standards, the device server scales to handle the connections and management of millions of devices.
A data service exchange
One of the partners within the mbed community is WoT.io (watt-e-o) a start-up company that provides a data service exchange. They can collect your data and do wonderful things with it. WoT.io has more than 40 data service partners that you can select for big data storage and/or various data analysis and display functions. Using this service you can create a unique user experience using modern web 2.0 technology.
The company enables the design engineer to connect to the big, wide world. Let’s say that you’re your company makes a large manufacturing machine and you are designing the electronics and control system for this machine. You have put in 100 sensors monitoring bearing temperatures, feed rate, humidity, quality control measurements, and electricity usage. Maybe even the status of raw materials on the production line. You can put in a few LCD displays showing the real-time information, or you can connect to WoT.io via a web end point and select data services that will store this data and analyze this data and pull out a wealth real-time and historical information.
Using one of ARMs partner mbed platforms and the free mbed OS makes the connection to the WoT.io straightforward and they can advise you on what data services might make sense for you application, allowing you to unlock the information in your data.