Circuit Cellar - GIFT

CC-2015-06-Issue 299

Circuit Cellar - GIFT

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CIRCUIT CELLAR • JUNE 2015 #299 56 COLUMNS A s I started writing this column, I decided to Google the "Internet of Things" (IoT) and see what comes up. Simply stated, the IoT is the world of information connectivity. It is a world where Things are connected in some way to the cloud of available information via the Internet. The first article that came up in my search was published eight hours earlier in the day. BBC news reported the availability of a starter kit produced by both IBM and a major British manufacturer of an ARM Cortex-M4 processor. [1] The idea behind this offering was to provide a platform to spark people's imagination about what they can do with the IoT. Market research sources quoted in the article predicted that over 5 billion devices will be "on-line" by the end of 2015. There will be up to 20 billion by 2020. Our thin slice of experience says that if the 2015 estimate is correct, the 2020 estimate is very low. This is because, in our business, the IoT is exploding. In the last two years, many of our existing customers are trying to turn their products into "always-connected" devices. They want their devices to be one of the Things in the world of the IoT. They want to send logs for diagnostics. They want software updates. They want to provide real-time interaction with their devices. They want to provide their users with more information and more control. So I think this is going to explode worldwide. As I drilled down into the BBC article, I saw that to connect the starter kit to the Internet you needed an Ethernet cable, a router, and an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Once those were in place you could connect to IBM's cloud server. Ethernet cable? That's not what I think of when I think of the IoT. I think of wireless connectivity. I think of toilets that monitor the water for blood and wirelessly send me an email that I should make a doctor appointment. I think of my basement floor notifying me that it is damp while I am away on vacation. I'm thinking of my pill bottles at home letting me know that I already took one pill at work. We are not going to be connecting our mousetraps and sprinklers to the Internet via Ethernet. It will be wireless. We could use wires. But we won't. We have seen four of our customers struggle with Ethernet or other wired connectivity over the years with their products. All of them have gone to a wireless connection. And by wireless, I am not talking about ZigBee, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. I am referring to a mobile broadband modem-based (also known as a EMBEDDED IN THIN SLICES Over the years, Bob has seen a few of his customers who had struggled with wired connectivity switch to mobile broadband modem-based connectivity to the Internet. This month, he covers four ways that he has connected customers' products to the Internet via cell modem technology. By Bob Japenga (US) The Internet of Things (Part 1) Options for Connecting Wirelessly to the Internet

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