With the coming onslaught of IoT designs from big companies and small, the opportunity for IoT FPGA prototyping deserves a closer look. This session will start off with a keynote “The Internet of Trust and a New Frontier For Exploration” and will be followed by a discussion with industry experts Don Dingee, Frank Schirrmeister, Tom De Schutter, and Toshio Namamo. Frank was kind enough to offer his perspective to open the conversation.
The discussion about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential almost always makes me smile think of one of my favorite technology quotes. Science fiction author William Gibson once said that “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”. It seems that I am at the early adoption curve because for me the IoT has become part of daily life.
When I wake up my sleep tracker informs we of my sleep score – how long did I sleep, how many deep sleep cycles did I have, how long did it take me to fall asleep and how much snoring did occur last night. It does so by way of a tracker under my sheet (the “thing”), connected to my phone (“the hub”), interacting with the cloud comparing all this to a set of representative previous nights. Then another tracker, always at my wrist, counts my morning workout calories and steps during the day. Just like my sleep tracker, it helps me with health aspects. By the time I dropped my daughter at school and arrived at work, my car has become “the thing” delivering via my phone (“the hub”) my movement to Google/Waze servers (“the cloud”) tracking traffic indirectly and helping me with my optimal path through traffic.
So for me the future of IoT is already here, part of my daily life. At EDPS in Monterey we will talk about prototyping for the age of the IoT. To me the common defining characteristics of the IoT from my examples above include:
- A connected system of things, hubs, networking and cloud for data processing poses classic system design problems: What are my channel latencies? How much compute power is needed? What bandwidth do my channels have to support?
- Value being derived across the chain from the “overall system”. Take out a component and it will break down, the value to the end user goes away.
- “Things” are plentiful and of heavily varying complexity – from wearables through watches and fitness trackers to even cars (although one could argue that the thing for Waze is the phone in the car). The “things” need advanced sensors to pick up all the activities users do, implying needs for analog/mixed signal integration as well as low power given that trackers need to run for days at a time at least.
- Protocols for communication, networking from and to the hubs in the IoT as well as the compute needs to be carefully verified, all in the context of software.
Looking at the four characteristics above, prototyping will take a central role in the development for applications in the IoT, of course as part of an overall set of connected engines from virtual through RTL simulation, acceleration, emulation, prototyping and even the real silicon. Prototyping allows users to make sure the system of things, hubs, networks and servers interacts correctly and is configured appropriately. It will allow to show the overall system value to make business decisions and prototype what valuable data end users can derive from IoT applications. Prototyping will allow to verify algorithms, protocols and interactions between the digital and analog worlds, and last not least will enable software development of varying complexities, from real time software control software in the “things” to middleware and OS validation in hubs and servers, and of course up to the actual applications that are presented to the end users.
The IoT is most certainly here but not evenly distributed yet. Prototyping will play a key role for its development. Come join the discussion at the EDPS in Monterey on April 21[SUP]st[/SUP]. Use the discount code SemiWiki-EDPS2016 for $50 off.
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