MITProfessionalX Course Diary – IOTx Internet of Things: Roadmap to a Connected World – Week 1&2

‘By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet.  How will you and your organization capitalize on this tremendous opportunity?

While the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) brings many new business prospects, it also presents significant challenges ranging from technology architectural choices to security concerns.  MIT Professional Education’s new Internet of Things: Roadmap to the Connected World course offers important insights on how to overcome these challenges and thrive in this exciting space.’

I’m in the second week of the ‘MITProfessionalX: IOTx Internet of Things: Roadmap to a Connected World’ course. In the first week Sanjay Sarma introduced the Internet of Things (IoT) in a very broad sense and posed some interesting questions that are being discussed by the course participants of which there are over 500 from all corners of the World. This week the course began to detail IoT Architectures:

The Architecture of IoT (Sanjay Sarma)

  • RFID Story
  • Opportunities for IoT
  • Some interesting IoT projects
  • Architecture of IoT

The Web of Things (Tim Berners-Lee)

  • Linked data- value is greatest when linked
  • Enterprise data – shared v. public v. private
  • Importance of security, privacy and authenticity
  • Standards
  • Web of Things layer – driver for IOT systems

Lessons from the Internet (David Clark)

  • Is the Internet the right technology to hook together a network of things?
  • The key lessons that our experience with the Internet teaches us about a future of things.
  • A focus on network management, security, mobility and longevity.
  • The desirable features of a distributed architecture for a system of things.

RFID Deep Dive (Sanjay Sarma)

  • Case Study – RFID

As can you can see, MIT faculty leaders are at the forefront of the IoT space and are instructors on the course. Professors Sanjay Sarma, co-chair of the MIT Auto-ID Labs,  Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and David Clark, senior research scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory gave their lectures via a pre-taped video. Synchronized video transcripts and a compiled transcript of all course lectures are available to participants as well as PDF presentation slides. The videos are not available for download. Assessments are taken to reinforce key learning concepts presented in each module, short case studies and focused readings, discussion forums for participants to address thought-provoking questions posed by MIT faculty and a community Wiki for accessing additional resources, suggested readings, and related links all add to the online learning experience. There are also social networking groups on facebook and LinkedIn. I have to admit, however, that the MIT edx platform is a little basic. Discussion threads cannot be followed by latest comment, for example, which makes them hard to follow. Following other participants isn’t possible and the training admins seem a little overwhelmed by the amount of conversations taking place. Overall though, the course has been really interesting so far.

I think Sir Tim summed the situation up very well in terms of the challenges and opportunities companies face.

‘So the Internet of things is a wave, which is coming, and it is going to be very valuable. And it will be much more valuable to the people and companies who have figured out how to use it in advance, who have made standards, who are prepared to cope with the massive diversity and different sorts of information about a given thing, companies who learned to link together things of very, very different types, and create meaningful information. Companies who’ve, from this diversity, managed to make a consistent view of what’s going on and have then designed things which will react to it in a timely fashion and produce the right actions.

The web of things is about building standards that help a company, help an organization, help a computer, step back, look at everything that’s going on, and understand it, and build these complex systems by doing integration across all that diversity, all that complexity, and all those feedback systems at different speeds. It’s exciting that in a way we have the opportunity, perhaps a little bit because of this hype cycle, while everybody in the media are talking about the hype, about how exciting it’s going to be. Meanwhile, those of us who are building serious systems have a chance to talk to our partners, pick who we’re going to discuss, and build systems which will solve these massive issues which we will be faced with of diversity, of the data under linking. So, exciting? Yes, but we have work to do.’

Next week the course moves on to technologies, specifically: Network Connectivity for IoT, Data Processing and Storage, and Localization.

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