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Is the world ready for instant IoT?

News Analysis
Jan 22, 20183 mins
Internet of ThingsSoftware Development

A new Chinese IoT platform claims to enable IoT product development in just one day. Could that jumpstart IoT experimentation?

working iot
Credit: Thinkstock

The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere these days, a status cemented by IoT technology’s star turn at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Notably, that’s true even as many enterprises struggle to develop workable IoT devices and applications as they deal with multiple incompatible platforms, operating systems and standards. Making things even harder, many IoT systems need to work in harsh, remote, space-constrained and low-power environments. Those are just some of the reasons why IoT development often takes six months to a year and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars—especially for global markets.

One-day IoT development

At CES, though, a large but largely unknown Chinese company — Tuya Smart — touted an upgraded version of its IoT platform that it claims can help companies develop IoT versions of their products in a little as a single day. Just as bold, the company claims its platform — which it describes in its search description as “the world’s leading IoT platform” — can help companies bring smart versions of those devices — such as lighting sockets, switches and lamps — to production in just 15 days.

Now, I have no idea whether Tuya Smart’s claim is accurate, or what’s actually involved in turning traditional products into smart products in 24 hours. Frankly, it sounds a little too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that one platform could solve all of the issues that go into creating truly useful smart devices.

Easier experimentation key to IoT growth

But even if we take 3-year-old Truya Smart’s claims with a shaker full of salt, they illustrate a clear trend and opportunity in the world of IoT. Just about every IoT platform company — the list of IoT platform vendors keeps growing — is working on ways to speed IoT development and make it more accessible to wider array of customers.

Success in that endeavor will obviously be critical to individual company’s success, but it’s also an essential ingredient in the overall adoption of IoT. To the extent that IoT devices and applications remains difficult, expensive, and time consuming to develop, the technology will be focused on use cases that hae clearly demonstrable high-value ROI. Experimentation on potentially transformative but unproven applications will be limited.

But if Truya Smart, or Cisco, or any of the other companies working on IoT platforms can really make IoT development quick and easy, look for a flood of IoT experimentation from companies large and small. Many of those experiments will come to nothing, of course, but that doesn’t matter. Failure will be relatively cheap, and the lessons learned along the way will help spawn new IoT experiments from startups and established companies around the world.

And who knows, some of those experiments could end up being the next big things in IoT.


Fredric Paul is Editor in Chief for New Relic, Inc., and has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite, InformationWeek, CNET, PCWorld and other publications. His opinions are his own.