IoT is almost everywhere, even where it has not reached, it is either assumed or talked about. It is in our homes, our wearables, our cars, it is in our public buildings, cities and transport. Surely designing for all these ‘Things’ must come with special challenges and need new techniques and tools?
If we look at the technology to solve a problem twenty years ago, and look at the technology to solve the same problem today, then yes, the two are vastly different. We typically have more software included, and there are some features now that were not considered then. This change has mostly happened slowly. This year’s car has been a small improvement over last year’s. I have a remote control for my TV – how about I put one with the central heating controller.
IoT does bring some interesting challenges, particularly in the areas of security and standards, but much of it is a small step on from what we had before. I worked on equipment in the mid 1980’s that had BIT, Built In Test, it put a code on the simple front panel display to show the result. Many things now have self-test, diagnostics, or predictive maintenance features, but they send the result over the internet and become part of the Internet of Things.
When we design for the IoT, we still have to have the core functionality, and all the challenges that gives us. Understand the need, understand the environment into which the system or equipment will fit, understand the operation and disposal parameters. Requirements, modelling, testing, and such things. We already have tools for this, we already have processes to support this.
So what is really different?