IoT & Embedded Technology Blog

MWC2016 (Part 2): Graphics, Cars, and Communications

by Daniel Mandell | 03/03/2016

In our second installment, we look back at our time at MWC2016 with a different group of leading IoT and embedded technology providers. Enabling mobile computing is no longer revolutionary – quite the contrary actually as it has become table stakes in a number of vertical markets. However, the efficiency and functionality of mobile computing systems particularly in industries like automotive is still very much a common battleground for competing architectures and vendors. Also in full swing is the development of new wireless infrastructure and technologies to meet the accelerating demand of mobile end users and IoT deployments. Read more

Open Connectivity Foundation, Part 2: OCF’s IoTivity to Support AllJoyn, But Could it Also Support Google Weave?

by Steve Hoffenberg | 02/29/2016

As we noted in Part 1 of our post about the newly formed Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), Qualcomm has joined Intel, Microsoft, and numerous other technology vendors in support of the IoTivity framework for interoperability among IoT devices. Given that Qualcomm was the creator of the competing AllJoyn framework and founder of the AllSeen Alliance, this inevitably begs the question of the long term viability of AllJoyn. Read more

Open Connectivity Foundation, Part 1: Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Others Come to Terms on IoT Framework Licensing and Intellectual Property Rights

by Steve Hoffenberg | 02/26/2016

The announcement on February 19th of formation of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) stirred up much interest among participants in the IoT market. The OCF is the successor organization to the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), essentially consisting of the existing OIC members (Cisco, General Electric, Intel, Samsung, and many more) plus new members Electrolux, Microsoft, and Qualcomm. The OIC has been the force behind the IoTivity framework for interoperability among IoT devices from different vendors, particularly in the smart home market. All three of those new OCF member companies are also board members of the AllSeen Alliance, proponent of the AllJoyn framework which is directly competitive with IoTivity. Read more

MWC2016 (Part 1): Mobile, IoT, and 5G

by Daniel Mandell | 02/25/2016

After the first two (and a half) days, much has been abuzz at Mobile World Congress 2016. Essentially all of the new product announcements, demos, and keynotes highlight either mobile devices (obviously), IoT solutions, or 5G. Several of the leading IoT & embedded hardware players are out in force, showcasing new levels of performance, connectivity, integration, and software support. The following are some highlights from my time with various vendors so far. Read more

Enhancing IoT Security through Virtualization

by Roy Murdock | 02/12/2016

In the early days of computing, hardware limited software’s potential. Low memory density, simple processors, and slow clock rates enforced constraints on the possible range of instructions and the number of operands available to the software programmer, limiting software complexity and flexibility. Fast forward through 50 years of steady technological progress, and software has gained almost unlimited potential due to cheap, powerful commodity computing hardware .

Virtualization is the latest step in unleashing software’s full power, by abstracting it further from the hardware that runs it. We define virtualization to be a software-defined resource that is typically intended to mimic or replace a physical, hardware-defined resource. Read more

What’s in a (Processor) Name?

That which we call a system-on-chip by any other name would still feature broad I/O support, integrated memory, and heterogeneous processing.

by Daniel Mandell | 02/10/2016

Embedded processor taxonomies are evolving with the capabilities of the increasingly integrated and powerful technologies they define. The advent of heterogeneous processing architectures and continued miniaturization of chipsets has fueled the rapidly growing system-on-chip (SoC) market over the past five years at the expense of more traditional processor types like central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processors (GPUs). Microcontrollers (MCUs) continue to be a major part of the embedded processor market with even 8-bit devices still seeing strong use prompted by falling costs with little or no increases to MCU application requirements. As these various embedded processor types each assume more functionality and greater overall performance, the lines between them have blurred causing many to question: What’s the difference and does it matter what we call them? Read more

CES 2016, Part 3: Wireless IoT Technologies Proliferate

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/13/2016

Another of the trends that stood out most to VDC at this year’s CES was the ubiquity of wireless technologies. It was rare that any connected product on display did not include wireless, the most prevalent types being Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee.

Bluetooth Smart, also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), is ideal for many wearable devices that will communicate with the user’s nearby smartphone. Wi-Fi is best for IoT devices in a home or small business environment, leveraging existing routers and networking for other PC and Internet communications. ZigBee is a short range mesh network with a communications protocol adopted by numerous device makers, primarily in the smart home market. But none of these technologies is suited to longer range communications required in many industrial, commercial, and government IoT applications. Fortunately, there is no shortage of alternatives that are well-suited, the two most widely known being the Low-Power Wide-Area Networking (LPWAN) technologies Sigfox and LoRa. Read more

CES 2016, Part 2: Automotive Technologies Move Forward

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/12/2016

At this year’s CES, booths were brimming with IoT products such as home automation devices, connected audio and video gear, pet trackers, and fitness monitors. But one of the trends that stood out most to VDC was the prevalence of automotive technology, which came to the forefront as never before.

Two of the keynote speeches at CES featured heads of major carmakers. One of the keynotes was by Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, although more than half of her presentation was essentially a live infomercial for the 2017 Chevy Bolt all-electric vehicle, including a bit of a cheap-shot at Tesla—without mentioning that company by name—due to its lack of “neighborhood dealerships.” (Many consumers consider Tesla’s direct sales model to be a benefit over the traditional dealership business model.) Read more

CES 2016, Part 1: Drills, Holes, and Holemakers

by Steve Hoffenberg | 01/11/2016

Since long before the turn of the millennium, every January has brought to Las Vegas the humongous trade show and conference known as CES. Those three letters no longer officially stand for Consumer Electronics Show, but that’s how many people in the industry still refer to it. The very term “consumer electronics” is usually considered a category of devices, as in a department in retail stores where consumers buy their boxes of TVs, audio and video players, cameras, etc. But as the industry has evolved, more and more of the products have included (or in some cases wholly become) intangibles and/or services. In recognition of such trends, two months before this year’s show the organization behind CES, the Consumer Electronics Association, officially changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association. Although CTA says it has no plans to change the CES show name, the industry shift is evident. Read more

IoT Forcing Embedded Boards and Systems Vendors to Adapt to Survive

by Daniel Mandell | 01/05/2016

Emerging embedded hardware requirements are stirring up competition for motherboards and integrated systems while driving demand for more IoT-related systems integration services.

The global markets for embedded boards and integrated computer systems will see growing competition over the next five years, according to a new report by VDC Research (click here to learn more). The embedded hardware space is vast, continually evolving, and extremely fragmented with larger organizations often supplying several different board and/or system form factors as well as potentially a variety of SKUs featuring different configurations thereof. Systems integration services, in turn, are benefiting from the growing complexity of modern (connected) embedded systems and are seeing greater use for IoT designs. Read more