InsightaaS: As we’ve observed both in ATN and in InsightaaS’s own research, IoT appears to be segmenting into different core markets: a ‘white collar’ IoT for buisness intelligence and management support, and a ‘blue collar’ variant – often referred to as ‘the Industrial Internet’ – focused on industrial automation and operational issues like (and prominently) maintenance. This bifurcation may serve the immediate interests of some IoT vendors and users by enabling rapid introduction of focused products, but it’s ultimately counterproductive to a technology approach that is targeted at seamless connections between billions of devices. At one important level, the connection discussion boils down to a relatively stark choice: will IoT be based on current enterprise network standards, which are generally controlled by Cisco, or will they be driven by the industrial networks which are only vaguely dependent on/connected with corporate IT?
As a division of leading automotive and industrial supplier Bosch GmbH, Bosch Software Innovations sits clearly on the ‘industrial’ side of this debate. Today’s featured post was contributed to the Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog site by Mike Milinkovitch, executive director with open source community Eclipse Foundation. Given this heritage, it’s unsurprising that the post itself offers unambiguous support for a vision of IoT based on open source standards. The provenance of the POV doesn’t, though, detract from its key points. In the post, Milinkovitch advances the position that IoT requires scale, a freedom to innovate, interoperability and access to developers that are best delivered through an open source/open standards approach.
There are certainly other ways to achieve these ends, and it’s quite likely that (to pick on one point) there are more developers comfortable with Cisco technology than with any of the frameworks released by Eclipse. However, as is often the case with these kinds of discussions, there’s merit in examining the medium as well as the message. Although Eclipse was started by IBM (in 2001), the organization is based outside of the US – in Ottawa, Ontario – and while its board includes major US IT firms (IBM, Oracle CA, Google) it also includes a strong European contingent, and the group recently held a major conference in Germany. So while it is easy to get caught up in a view of IoT shaped by North American media and ‘white collar’ visions of the future, and while some of the guidance from Milinkovitch is more than a bit strident (“The IoT will be implemented using open source software platforms. There is utterly no alternative to this outcome. Anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves”), the notion that IoT’s destiny will ultimately be shaped by many voices originating from both the IT and industrial camps and from around the world is a very important point to remember when structuring a long-term IoT strategy.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to become the next wave of technology to fundamentally change how humanity works, plays, and interacts with their environment. It is expected to transform everything from manufacturing to care for the elderly. The internet itself has — in twenty short years — dramatically transformed society. This scale of change and progress is about to be repeated, in perhaps even larger and more rapid ways. New ventures will emerge, existing businesses will be disrupted, and everywhere the incumbents will be challenged with new technologies, processes, and insight.
It is important to recognize that the internet is successful because it is one of the most radically open technology platforms in history. The fundamental protocols of the internet were invented in the 1970’s, and put in the public domain in the late 1980’s. The world-wide web was invented at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which made it free for everyone. In subsequent years, open source technologies such as Linux, the Apache web server and the Netscape / Firefox browser ensured that the basic infrastructure for the web is based on open source. The technology behemoths of our day such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are only able to scale their infrastructure and their business models by relying on open source. In short: our modern digital world is built on open source software (OSS).
The IoT will be implemented using open source software platforms. There is utterly no alternative to this outcome. Anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves.
There are four reasons why this is true.
Depending on which analyst you prefer, the next decade will see between 50 and 70 billion sensors being deployed on earth. This will require tens, if not hundreds of millions of routers, gateways, and data servers. There is simply no way to achieve those levels of scale without relying on open source software to drive the vast majority of that infrastructure…