Smart Systems Platform Challenges
Current computer science operates with models of information, networking, and database schemas that were conceived in the mainframe and client server eras and cannot serve the needs of a truly connected world. Data today is locked in silos, on both a system-by-system basis and by vertical use. Software development is duplicated and applications remain unable to share data or functionality. We are using the last generation of tools for the next generation of computing and information interactions. Today’s so-called IoT platforms, tools and solutions have several challenges:
Challenge 1: Platforms are, for the most part, limited to connectivity, “canned” device and data management functionality and programmer-centric APIs when what we need to do is remove app development limitations through more powerful data structures and more intuitive, visual interfaces, making IoT app development accessible to non-coders.
Challenge 2: Custom solutions are stunted by expense, time and lack of flexibility when what we really need is a catalog of reusable, modifiable parts to speed prototyping, development and implementation.
Challenge 3: One-off apps isolate data and do not enable fluid data interactions when what we really need is intelligent message flow, non-destructive data manipulation, and unique data identifiers that allow data to flow across apps, domains and widely varying usage.
Current Architectures versus Future Architecture
What’s required is a distributed, peer-to-peer information management and application development space designed for everyone and every conceivable kind of data – a platform to overcome the Web’s “information islands” and offer the scalability and interoperability needed for the pervasive-computing and Internet of Things era. The IoT is a distributed computing challenge. IoT deployments are by their very nature distributed systems. We hear lots of talk about the “cloud” as it relates to the IoT to the point that in many cases it seems like the “cloud” is being presented as the solution to all things IoT. The reality is that it is not possible, cost effective or desirable to transmit every piece of data from every IoT device to the cloud in order to gain value from that data. An IoT technology platform needs to recognize and embrace the highly distributed and innately non-hierarchical nature of the IoT and support that with a corresponding software architecture.
Diverse Backgrounds Converge on the Platform Opportunity Leading to Fragmentation
The IoT is not and will not be a well organized, centrally planned development. It will grow in ways that may appear unplanned and disorganized when viewed from a classic central computing vantage point – it will more resemble and organic system. Value added applications will spring to life in environments where the right resources (data) find the right nutrients (software applications that can deliver financial value). These applications will occur at all levels of the architecture, from the edge to the cloud.
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