By Jennifer Elias, Technology Reporter, Silicon Valley Business Journal – First published in the San Antonia Business Journal.
The Internet of Things has officially advanced past the “hype” stage, according to conference panelists including a Google developer.
At the Bluetooth World conference in Santa Clara, California, Wayne Piekarski, a senior developer advocate for Google, said he believes the next big push in the Internet of Things is “orchestration,” meaning multiple connected devices aware of each other working together.
Photo Credit: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg
“When you walk in your home, the lights come on and coffee machine goes on,” Piekarski said. “People don’t want to control a single light bulb, they’re going to work with multiple devices, which means working with multiple manufacturers.”
Currently, users of connected devices have to buy one product and download its app. But Piekarski said the Mountain View company wants to decouple that “so that some app developer can write the app but the device doesn’t have to be made by the same company.”
According to Piekarski, that’s why the company is working with smart home platforms such as Brillo and Weave.
Google product strategy manager Scott Jenson spoke in a separate panel about Google’s efforts toward “The Physical Web” which is an open-source effort to enable all connected devices to work in unison without the need for separate apps. Jenson said it is one of the company’s most popular projects on open-source collaboration platform Github.
As demand increases for connected devices, consumers will want to add more features such as voice commands, he added. “There’s all these integrations you can do once people get a feel for the Internet of Things.”
Sales of connected devices are climbing but Piekarski said consumers should be wary about some of the products on the market. “There are IoT devices gradually being put out there but they’re not done well,” he said, adding “I think what we’re going to see is a security conflict.”
Piekarski said he expects a security breach before IoT manufacturers start taking security seriously. “Currently, they’re [manufacturers] sending packets over the network un-encrypted and we haven’t had anything bad happen yet but something’s going to happen where someone’s house catches on fire,” he warned.
“People need to trust them and if you’re going to put it [connected device] on a door, it has to work every time and it has to let you into the house every time–it can’t lock you out. The challenge is going to be doing it really well and that’s what we’re trying to do right now–to make it so that people can trust these things.”
Adnan Nishat, another panelist and senior product manager at Silicon Labs, agreed with Piekarski, saying when a high-profile security attack happens, it doesn’t just affect one brand “but it weakens consumer trust which impacts everyone … We need to take a systematic approach to implementing security, not just about turning a feature on and off, but planning holistically end-to-end.”