Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How Google Cloud Platform supports IoT development

When considering Google Cloud Platform, most people will think about how companies are building out websites and backend infrastructure. However, Google is increasingly targeting another kind of development on its platform—IoT.
On Wednesday, at the Google Cloud Platform Next conference, Google's head of IoT solutions, Preston Holmes, lead a breakout session explaining how Google approached IoT development and how it wants to support the infrastructure.
Holmes began by giving his working definition of IoT. While there's no definitive definition of IoT just yet, he said, "IoT is a period of transformation." And, once all these devices get connected, they will no longer be the IoT, they will simply be what we use in our everyday, connected lives.
 The goal for most companies, and Google is no exception, is to collect and use the data that these smart things produce. And, IoT is the set of technologies that are the means to that end.
People have been held back from experimenting with IoT because of the complexity involved, Holmes said. For starters, you have to choose a hardware provider, whether you're going to run an OS, and if so which one, among many other nuances.
To break it down, Holmes said IoT architecture is made up of three core components:
  1. Device
  2. Gateway
  3. Cloud
IoT devices are composed of both hardware and software. Each device provides four foundational pieces of data:
  1. Metadata, or data about the data.
  2. State, or the condition of the device.
  3. Commands indicate an action to be taken by a device.
  4. Telemetry, which is environmental data around the device.
Because of the centrality of the device in an IoT deployment, device management becomes critical. Key functions of device management are network provisioning, device registration, device authorization, fleet operations, and software updates. Google handles device management through its Brillo and Weave products, platform partners, and open source.
Brillo is an IoT OS that is maintained by Google, based on the Android kernel. It offers analytics, OTA updates, Weave integration, and telemetry data. Adoption of Brillo could end up being beneficial for the greater Android ecosystem, due to the connectivity implications.
Weave is Google's open communications platform for IoT. It is focused on standardizing device commands, and helps ease user interaction with the devices from mobile devices. It also provides integration with Google services.
Jeff Chen, product manager for Brillo and Weave, said that Google built the two products, which it debuted at the 2015 I/O developer conference, for three reasons:
  1. Help device makers build for IoT
  2. Create open ecosystems
  3. Create opportunity for services
To address the gateway component, Google has partnered with companies like Intel to better connect devices to the Google Cloud Platform. Devices like Google's open Eddystone beacon benefit from a strong gateway component.


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