As the Internet of Things (IoT) cements itself into place as the mandatory next big thing for 2015, more systems architects are taking a hard look at its underlying concepts. As they look, these experts are asking some hard questions about simplistic views of the IoT structure: the clouds of sensors and actuators attached to simple, low-power wireless hubs, linked through the Internet to massive cloud data centers.
Almost every stage of this description is coming into question. Some experts challenge then notion that a swarm of simple sensors is the right way to measure the state of a system in the first place. Others question the idea of a dumb, inexpensive hub. Network architects are asking about the role of traditional Internet switches, and even the Internet Protocol (IP) itself, in the IoT picture. And data-center architects are taking a hard look at the implications of the IoT for concepts they are exploring: both virtualization and application-specific data centers.
We are a long way from consensus. But the answers that are emerging from these questions could profoundly alter sensing technology, the structure of data centers down to the hardware level, and even the Internet.
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