Ron Wilson, Altera
Even before real systems are widely deployed, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rushing into a period of rapid evolution. Early—and, frankly, simplistic—ideas about IoT architecture are giving way to more nuanced views, often based on analysis of data flows and on hard questions of why the IoT really matters. The result will be new architectures, leading to new silicon. We will illustrate this trend with snapshots of three new IC deployments described at this year’s Hot Chips conference.
Let’s begin with today’s concepts. Many systems designers’ first impressions of the IoT fit into one of two camps: conservatives or idealists. The conservatives remain focused on conventional embedded design and see the IoT as an additional layer of requirements to be slathered over their existing designs. The idealists see the IoT as an opportunity to virtualize nearly everything, drawing all tasks except physical sensing and actuating back into the cloud. Often the best solutions turn out to be linear combinations of the extremes. But these compromises will bring about the emergence of whole new categories of computing near the network edge.
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