Technology of the Future: Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet can be thought of as a combination of an "Internet of People," an "Internet of Information," an "Internet of Things" and an "Internet of Places." The potential for combining all of this is staggering. The Internet of Things (IoT) turns every manufacturer into a software provider, which will have profound impact on application strategy, architecture, development and integration. 

By the year 2020, over 26 billion things – cars, coffee machines, even animals – will be connected to the internet. They’re calling this next upgrade to the web ‘The Internet of Things’. The concept evolved as wireless Internet became more pervasive, embedded sensors grew in sophistication and people began understanding that technology could be a personal tool as well as a professional one.

Here are some examples of the impact the IoT has on industries:

  •  Intelligent transport solutions speed up traffic flows, reduce fuel consumption, prioritize vehicle repair schedules and save lives.
  • Smart electric grids more efficiently connect renewable resources, improve system reliability and charge customers based on smaller usage increments.
  •  Machine monitoring sensors diagnose – and predict – pending maintenance issues, near-term part stock outs, and even prioritize maintenance crew schedules for repair equipment and regional needs.
  • Data-driven systems are being built into the infrastructure of "smart cities," making it easier for municipalities to run waste management, law enforcement and other programs more efficiently.


Self-Organizing Overlay Networks

An overlay network is a virtual network build on top of another network. The purpose of creating a virtual network is to adapt the underlying infrastructure to some specific needs. For example, the Internet itself is an overlay network build on top of diverse technologies employed to push bits. A multicasting group is another, more dynamic example of such a network.

While overlay networks were important earlier, the arrival of pragmatic peer-to-peer (p2p) networks emphasized the need for more theoretical work. Participation in a p2p collaboration is very dynamic: nodes come and go with some non-deterministic distribution. There is no management infrastructure as is the case with many most of the Internet and local networks (such as Ethernet-based LANs). Therefore, a p2p network has to self-manage - or self-organize in other words. That involves accommodating nodes joining the network and nodes leaving it. To the minimum, the new node has to be tied somehow to the others, but it may also need to assume a role of a local manager for example. On the other hand, a node leaving the network might cause others to be orphaned or incapacitated in some other way (for example, if it acted as a local coordinator).