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Silicon Labs: Translation of apps layer arriving in 2015

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet of Things? IoT? application layers?

Without a translation function available at the gateway, when Nest Labs' thermostat figures out the temperature in a kitchen and sends that data to the cloud, a furnace in the house attached to the same network won't necessarily become aware, saying, "Wow, it's cold. I'll turn it on."

Things attached to the network will only function in coordination, when they understand each device's common set of behaviour and commands.

EE Times: And presumably, the network needs to be able to discover who else is on the network.

Ashton: Yes, they need to be able to discover what resources are available and what new devices are being added. The network needs to be extensible.

EE Times: So how do you expect application layers to get standardised?

Ashton: The first step is to know what each device does and how it behaves.

EE Times: Do we need to create a list of commands for each of these IoT devices, then?

Ashton: Actually, no. If you are working on Apple's Homekit scenarios, of course, you could sit around at a table and debate and describe what a door lock is supposed to do. There's no shortage of smart people in Silicon Valley.

But in reality, door lock companies have already gone through the exercise. They already have a library of commands in a binary format. ZigBee guys, for example, know what door locks do. Data is already there. They know all about commands and behaviours.

We just need to translate them into an IP-friendly format. They need to get published in a standard way.

EE Times: Is Silicon Labs taking on that challenge?

Ashton: At Silicon Labs, we've been asked by our customers [IoT device vendors] to help them out. We expect one of the standards organisations will take over the job.

EE Times: Which group will that be?

Ashton: It's not public, so I can't tell you that. But this is driven by customerswho asked the industry to get it done in 2015.

EE Times: So this will be the first step to address application layer issues?

Ashton: IP stacks are landing in 2015. The pressure point now is that application pieces need to come together.

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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