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  • ISBN: 978-1-491-92180-7

    What Is the Internet of Things?

    Mike Loukides & Jon Bruner

  • The future has a funny way of sneaking up on you. You dont notice it until youre soaking in it. That was the feeling at OReillys Solid Conference. Wired

    The traditional boundaries between hardware and software are falling. Its a perfect storm of opportunity for a software-enhanced, networked physical world. The new products and services created from the melding of software, hardware, and data are built by people who work across disciplines and industries. A vibrant new community is emerging, made up of business and industry leaders, software developers, hardware engineers, designers, investors, startup founders, academics, artists, and policy makersmany of whom have never come together before. They gather at Solid to be inspired, to make connections and launch conversations, and to plug into the future for a few days. Will you be a part of it?

    Find out more at solidcon.com



  • Mike Loukides and Jon Bruner

    What Is the Internetof Things?

  • 978-1-491-92180-7


    What Is the Internet of Things?by Mike Loukides and Jon Bruner

    Copyright 2015 OReilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Printed in the United States of America.

    Published by OReilly Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA95472.

    OReilly books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use.Online editions are also available for most titles (http://safaribooksonline.com). Formore information, contact our corporate/institutional sales department:800-998-9938 or corporate@oreilly.com.

    January 2015: First Edition

    Revision History for the First Edition2015-01-13: First ReleaseWhile the publisher and the author(s) have used good faith efforts to ensure that theinformation and instructions contained in this work are accurate, the publisher andthe author(s) disclaim all responsibility for errors or omissions, including withoutlimitation responsibility for damages resulting from the use of or reliance on thiswork. Use of the information and instructions contained in this work is at your ownrisk. If any code samples or other technology this work contains or describes is subject to open source licenses or the intellectual property rights of others, it is yourresponsibility to ensure that your use thereof complies with such licenses and/orrights.


  • Table of Contents

    What Is the Internet of Things?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1So Whats New? 3Disrupting Economies of Scale 6Being a Software Company 9Frictionless Manufacturing 10Software Above the Level of a Single Device 12Standards for Connected Devices 14Design Beyond the Screen 16Everything as a Service 18Software Replaces Physical Complexity 19Roadblocks on the Information Highway 20Inventing the Future 25


  • What Is the Internet of Things?

    At our first Solid conference in 2014, we started a wide-ranging discussion about the intersection between software and the physicalworld. A year later, this discussion is continuing, with even moreenergy and passion than before. You can hardly read a newspaper (ifyou still read newspapers) without seeing something about theInternet of Things and the rise of the hardware startup. But whatdoes the intersection between software and hardware mean?

    Early in 2013, we sat around a table in Sebastopol to survey someinteresting trends in technology. There were many: robotics, sensornetworks, the Industrial Internet, the professionalization of theMaker movement, hardware-oriented startups. It was a confusingpicture, until we realized that these werent separate trends. Theyreall more alike than differentthey are all the visible result of thesame underlying forces. Startups like FitBit and Withings were taking familiar old devices, like pedometers and bathroom scales, andmaking them intelligent by adding computer power and networkconnections. At the other end of the industrial scale, GE was doingthe same thing to jet engines and locomotives. Our homes areincreasingly the domain of smart robots, including Roombas and3D printers, and weve started looking forward to self-driving carsand personal autonomous drones. Every interesting new producthas a network connectionbe it WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or even abasic form of piggybacking through a USB connection to a PC.Everything has a sensor, and devices as dissimilar as an iPhone anda thermostat are stuffed with them. We spent 30 or more years moving from atoms to bits; now it feels like were pushing the bits backinto the atoms. And we realized that the intersection of these trendsthe conjunction of hardware, software, networking, data, and



  • intelligencewas the real news, far more important than any individual trend. The Internet of Things: thats what weve been workingon all these years. Its finally happening.

    Weve seen software transformed over the last decade by a handfulof truly revolutionary developments: pervasive networking that canmake the Internet a central part of any piece of software; APIs thatmake systems available to each other as abstracted modules; cloudslike Amazon Web Services that dramatically reduce the capitalneeded to start a new software venture; open source projects thatmake expertise available to anyone; selling services rather thanproducts. We now see the same developments coming to the physical world. As Tomasz Tunguz has said, the potential of the Internetof Things isnt just linking millions of devices, any more than thepotential of Google or Amazon was building massive IT infrastructure. The IoT is about transforming business models and enabling companies to sell products in entirely new and better ways.

    Software New Hardware

    Infrastructural servicesreduce capital requirements

    Amazon Web Services PCH

    Open source improves accessto expertise

    GitHub Thingiverse; Arduino; RobotOperating System

    APIs let developers build onplatforms

    Twitter API Smart Things; IFTTT

    Ubiquitous connectivity WiFi ZigBee, Bluetooth

    Data enables optimization Netflix recommendations Taleris (airlinemanagement)

    Direct-to-consumer retailchannels

    Apple App Store ShopLocket; Quirky; Etsy

    Products sold as services Salesforce.com Uber; Zipcar

    Hobbyists become entrepre-neurs

    Yahoo! MakerBot emerges fromNYC Resistor

    2 | What Is the Internet of Things?


  • Software New Hardware

    Software intelligencedecreases need for interac-tion

    Google Now Nest thermostat; Googledriverless car

    So Whats New?Hardware that has software in it isnt the least bit new. TVs and carshave had software-driven components since the 1980s, if not earlier.Chrysler introduced a computerized anti-lock braking system backin 1971. Microwave ovens, dishwashers, probably even those fancybeds that let you adjust the position of the mattress and many othersettings: these all have hefty doses of microprocessors and software.So whats new? Didnt software and hardware converge a long timeago?

    The hardware renaissance of the last few years entails more than justembedding CPUs into appliances. Its built on ubiquitous networking, which changes the game radically. Devices with embedded computers become much more powerful when theyre connected to anetwork. Now we have networked televisions, networked loudspeakers that receive MP3s from a server, and networked devicesthat let us find our lost keysand we call that the Internet ofThings or the Internet of Everything or the Industrial Internet,or Fog Computing, depending on which vendors language youlike.

    The functionality of new hardware depends on both modest, efficient local computing as well as powerful cloud computing. A fitnesstracker, for instance, can carry out some functionality, like basic datacleaning and tabulation, on local hardware, but it depends onsophisticated machine-learning algorithms on an ever-improvingcloud service to offer prescription and insight.

    The Internet of Things crossed our radar back in 2001, at OReillysfirst Foo Camp. It was an interesting idea: we wondered what wouldbe possible if we could assign an IP address to every physical object.Back then, we were skeptical: who cares? Why would I want myshoes to have an IP address? That question is still useful, but theanswers were getting now are much different. In 2001, networkedshoes sounded like gratuitous geekery, but in 2015, in the context ofthe Quantified Self, network-enabled shoes that log your every step

    So Whats New? | 3


  • make complete sense. At the same time, the conversation has movedbeyond easy-to-lampoon examples like connected refrigerators andhas come to include important industrial and commercial applications for connected devices: jet engines, power plants, cars. In