Designing for Billions of Things
Even today we have glimpses of the scale of things. Consider Visa’s Ready Program, a contextual commerce service that enables everyday things, such as automobiles, home appliances, clothing and other connected devices to pay for services. Medical equipment company Proteus Digital Health has developed an ingestible sensor that measures whether patients have taken their medication. View, a smart window maker, uses sensors and a smartphone app to tint window glass on demand, reducing energy use and the need for blinds.
Regardless of the projections, such hyper-scale systems must be factored into the design and development of the infrastructure that will support the IoT economy. Much has been written about the design of hyper-scaled systems. Take, for example, the need to get work done by designing through microservices-small pieces of software that talk more efficiently to each other. Or leveraging the design principles of computer and network virtualization so a cellular core packet network architecture can be designed to handle millions of smartphones and billions of IoT endpoints.
Designing for billions of devices (and connections) requires innovation across the ecosystem of silicon vendors, equipment makers and service providers that are on the receiving end of large volumes of interactions. The future of the systems and the infrastructure for all of these sectors depends on expertise in designing three fundamental capabilities: software definition, open hardware and service velocity.