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Java Founding Father: IoT Is More Than Just Making Simple Tweaks To Existing Devices

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James Gosling said most IoT efforts are simply tinkering rather than proper smart network deployments

Creating Internet of Things (IoT) systems in a lot harder than it appears to be, and significant deployments of networks of smart machines need careful consideration.

That’s according to James Gosling, the founding father of Java, who is now part of a startup working on ocean data gathering IoT-connected robots called Liquid Robotics.

Speaking at IP Expo 2016 in London, Gosling pointed out that a large majority of IoT devices that garner public attention are mostly just simple tweaks to make relatively affordable devices smarter, rather than create true IoT systems that have a significant impact on solving problems or aiding society.

“If you look at people talking about IoT, most of what you see is rally the tinkering crowd; people who are playing with the thumb-sized ARM processors with cool things that [are cheap]. And that’s all really, really good but it paint this picture of IoT as being a lot easier than it really is,“ he said.

IoT challenges

james-goslingGosling noted that marketers want to sell IoT, while engineers want it to work in a meaningful way.

As such, creating large scale IoT systems for business, industrial, environmental or just data gathering at scale requires problems to be solved.

He noted these include latency of sending data back from devices on the edge of a network into central systems or the cloud, the lack of homogenous networks, finite bandwidth and the need for a reliable network.

Cyber security, an evergreen topic in the IoT arena, was also noted by Gosling who said it can be painful to do right but “deadly if done wrong”, and described the IoT as an “immensely obvious threat”.

He suggested outsourcing security to store sensitive data as a means to curtail some of these risks.

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Gosling championed open source as a way to get IoT networks off the ground, as the software is often made by people trying to solve a problem that can be used by others with a few tweaks.

“I encourage you folks to step back, take an end-to-end look at what you are building,” he concluded, noting how the IoT in not simply a collection of connected devices and need to be used in a way to solve specific problems.

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