For a native developer with (a little more than a) passing interest in web development this kind of meetup is a big culture shock. The technologies and tools bear a passing resemblance to what I’m used to in my traditional (mainly desktop-)client-server world, but everything feels a little foreign. Maybe because of that it also feels fresher and more exciting – like they are really pushing the envelope. Definitely lots of new stuff to research and think about (for me)!
- A talk about the internet of things by Vlad
The internet of things
Vlad’s presentation was split into two parts. He first talked about how with devices we currently have more of an intranet of things and the potential of moving towards the internet of things. He then spoke a little about the setup of his startup and how its work helps in moving towards the internet of things.
The intranet of things was Vlad’s metaphor for describing the current state of proprietary networks, protocol, standards and APIs that are prevalent in the embedded devices community. He argued that a move towards a REST & HTTP-based internet of things would bring big benefits to embedded devices:
- ability to transfer experience of web development
- proven scalability
- reduction in development cost (ease of use, ability to reuse code for similar problems)
Another benefit is of course the ability to enable different devices to communicate and interoperate with each other. In my mind, this is the key benefit because pooling enables the kind of collaboration where the sum is greater than the parts: It is the kind of thing that turns a nicer development environment into a true platform on which higher level applications can be built:
For example, one of the things that Vlad mentioned is that we won’t need to physically search for our shoes in the morning and instead we will Google them. However, what if we could rely on a preference-based algorithm to physically select our entire wardrobe in the morning (entailing collaboration between lots of different individual units of clothing)?
He also talked a little about what may be necessary for this move towards HTTP (ADIs etc.)
The second part of his talk was more focussed on his startup‘s work towards this. This work has been to write REST APIs for particular projects as well as providing an infrastructure around these APIs. Interactions with the devices are supported at various levels of sophistication (QR code; RFID tag; sensors or raspberry-pi-like machines).
One of the interesting points was that his main customers are big companies who are looking to protect their (and their client’s data). Therefore, the normal deployment option is as a private cloud. Unfortunately, data security, identity and sharing are of course key concerns, when establishing a platform as described above. Private cloud-like deployment may limit potential.
In my mind, the main benefit is therefore the reduction of development cost and enabling a wider community to offer services for companies within their private cloud.
Alex’s talk had three parts to it:
Alex also described the evolution of devices, how devices are getting much more powerful and how we are reaching the point where squeezing performance for every clock cycle is no longer as important.
Use the experience gained for resin.io startup
Altogether I found Alex’s talk very interesting and informative – with lots of pointers in new directions where I’d like to learn more!