How the Internet of Things will affect micro communication

  • IoT growth is outpacing that of recent technologies, including smartphones and PCs.

  • Now is the time to build your organization's understanding of IoT communications.

  • It is critical for IT staffs to increase their knowledge of connected devices and protocols to ensure speed and reliability.

The Internet of Things is expected to grow to more than 20 billion devices by 2019. Business Insider says, “We estimate that by 2019 it will be more than double the size of the smartphone, PC, tablet, connected car, and the wearable market combined.” Coping with that volume of nodes and the traffic they produce will require IT to support new and different connection protocols and a different way of thinking about connectivity.

Keeping online users connected to applications, and the servers they run on, is old hat. That doesn’t mean every problem is solved and nothing goes wrong. But the difference between maintaining desktop connections and mobile connections is relatively small. And even though mobile usage is growing faster than desktop, both involve a human on at least one end of the connection. IoT device communication, however, will be primarily centered on real-time Machine to Machine (M2M) connections.

Writing in, Stan Schneider says, “We contend that IoT will be an entirely new utility. It will be as profound as the cell network, GPS, or the Internet itself.” Enabling these connections will require different kinds of communication protocols that can accommodate the priorities, speeds, and volumes of connections needed by 20 billion devices.

The information conveyed in messages between IoT devices can be used to monitor and manage anything from traffic lights to power plants to oil rigs to the power grid. When issues arise, the communication from the IoT sensor or monitoring device to the systems that receive and process the data must be fast and reliable.

The speed and reliability issues are being addressed by four specific protocols germane to the world of IoT:

  • MQTT: a protocol for communicating device data to servers (D2S)
  • XMPP: a protocol that connects devices to people, a special case of the D2S pattern, since people are connected to the servers
  • DDS: a fast bus for integrating intelligent machines (M2M)
  • AMQP: a queuing system that connects servers to each other (S2S)

Some of these may be familiar to IT communications professionals because they are not new, but they could prove critical in IoT. As the IoT grows, IT staffs need to learn about it, be conversant on the basics, and understand where it is likely to appear in their own enterprise.

Is your enterprise integrating IoT devices yet? Read more about AT&T Internet of Things solutions.

Scott Koegler is an independent business writer and the author of this blog. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.



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