The vision everyone keeps touting for the Internet of Things, where billions of devices are sharing information and completing tasks to improve the efficiency of daily life, relies on access to a planetary-scale Internet. Unfortunately, today's architectures can't handle the needs that the Internet of Things will demand.
In the near future, the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) will reach 26 billion devices, according to Gartner, and produce $300 billion in revenue. Some of the devices that will participate in the IoT are sensors and actuators in smart cities, smart tags on many familiar objects, wearable health monitoring sensors, smartphones, intelligent cars, and smart home appliances. In the not so distant future, IoT will incorporate many types of robots -- domestic, flying drones, and even bee-size flying robots. The changes to our daily life will be immense. For example, IoT will lead to a more precise and greener management of power and water distributions in smart cities and improvements in healthcare such as stopping the spread of epidemic diseases.
However, today's technology isn't ready for the massive scale and highly dynamic nature of the future IoT, the huge amounts of data streamed from the physical world, and the new communication patterns it creates. We need novel programming, content delivery, and network management approaches. What follows is a proposed, still-developing framework for such a global, Internet of Things architecture.
One major problem with the current IoT architectures is they're designed for relatively small scale IoT islands -- closed-looped networks, such as a power plant operator pulling data from a turbine -- under proprietary protocols. Densely deployed "things" can't collaborate dynamically across these "islands" to execute distributed tasks that involve sensing, actuating, and computing.
So, how can we better facilitate the current state of IoT to reach its full potential? We must rethink the intelligence embedded in the IoT architecture.
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