What do you need for an IoT Solution? Part two

  • IoT Software

Like any piece of complex hardware, IoT devices need an operating system in order to be useful. But because IoT devices tend to be small and resource-constrained, operating systems will vary in functionality, memory footprint, and feature set. Devices also need to be programmed–given the instructions they need to do the tasks that engineers need them to do. There are many vendors developing operating systems and programming tools and the choice you make for any given solution will be the product of several factors including:

– Availability of the software you need
– Compatibility of the software with the devices you’ve chosen
– Compatibility with other software/cloud systems in your solution

Of course, your solution may involve devices with a variety of operating systems and development environments. But the more you add to your solution, the more complex development and maintenance becomes so it pays to be mindful of the software choices you make and the implications of each one during the architectural phase of the project.

What Programming Languages should I chose?
When it comes to programming devices, the operating system running on the device may determine what languages can be used to program it. Many modern hardware devices can support multiple languages and board engineers may develop specific flavors of hardware to support various languages. Microsoft’s IoT core, for example, supports most languages that Windows develop in general supports including C#, C++, and JavaScript. Ubuntu Core, on the other hand, supports Python, Ruby, and Node.js.

This makes choosing a programming platform complex and attempting to even outline the matrix of options here would not present an adequate picture. Instead, we can suggest how to approach the decision-making process when it comes to a programming platform. These suggestions build upon the strategies we’ve been seeing throughout this posts, so some items will be familiar and other items will be new.

Determine what data you want to collect.
Your IoT architecture generally will begin by figuring out what problems you’re solving and this, most times, will be characterized in terms of the data you want to collect. This relates to programming languages because the data you want to collect will impact the devices you choose and the programming language(s) you choose will have to work with the device infrastructure you deploy.

Think about your broader software environment.
When you think about what software platform you want to use, it can be helpful to think about the development environment across your business group or enterprise. By using a language that already is deployed in other areas of your business can make tasks like resource balancing, code sharing, source control, hiring, and similar factors more efficient.

Choose a device or devices platform.
Once you’ve figured out what data you want to collect and have thought about your larger ecosystem, you’ll be better informed when it comes to choosing a device platform. As I said before, you may need more than one device platform so choosing platforms that are the most compatible with items above will give you a more efficient overall environment in which to develop your solution.

What about the cloud?
It may go without saying I’ll say it: an essential component of the software platform when making a platform decision is the cloud services you’ll use to support your software and hardware. I think it’s important to call out here as an essential aspect of the decision-making process.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: