Way back when I first started this blog, I wrote about the way that embedded development is subject to fads and fashions. Even though embedded developers are conservative and only adopt new technologies and ideas when they address real problems, when such adoption does occur it is always seen as a Big Thing. Every couple of years, something comes along that fits this category.
I have found it interesting to observe the arrival, the brief reign, and the descent into some level of obscurity [or normality] of numerous such technologies. What is hard [and risky] is to try to see them coming …
Crystal ball gazing is probably never wise, but I am going to put my head on the line and predict what everyone will be talking about next year at Embedded World and DESIGN West [or ESC or whatever they call it now there is no DESIGN East]. That topic is the use of the Internet by non-humans. It used to be called M2M [machine to machine], but is now normally referred to as the Internet of Things [IoT] and it also encompasses the whole Smart Energy space.
I am not saying this because of my own involvement – I recently chaired an online panel on Smart Energy – but because of what I see in the news. Here is what I picked up [from just embedded.com] over the last month alone:
- ARM acquires Sensinode Oy – clearly they want to improve their expertise in IoT protocols.
- WiFi going to 900MHz – the new IEEE 802.11ah standard will be supported by chips in 18 months or so and this is aimed at home automation etc., competing with Zigbee, for example.
- Intel announces quark – this is a new, low-power implementation of the X86 architecture; a synthesizable core which consumes 10% of the power of Atom and is aimed at the IoT market.
- Microchip announces a CDMA M2M platform – this is designed for custom software development on PIC32 devices needing such connectivity.
- Oracle announces an update to Java ME Embedded – they want to gain ground lost to Apple and Android and their stated aim to go after IoT.
Now, if that is all in the space of one month, how much more will be see before 2014 dawns?
Clearly I am not the only one who takes this view, as I observe that the media group UBM have set up a dedicated website IoT World, sponsored by Freescale.