Satish Mohanram, technical marketing manager, National Instruments, India, speaks to Janani Gopalakrishnan Vikram about the evolving definition of the IoT, and the role of testing in meeting its goal.
JGV: The definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed in the past decade, from merely being a network of RFID tags for fleet tracking, to a more widespread and pervasive network of things. What is your take on this?
SM: The idea of the Internet of Things is inspired by Nature; a human with variety of sensors and being interconnected through the nervous system on to the backbone and then the brain, which is like the cloud that runs analytics on the information collected. The first evolution of this is Industrial Automation – different data collected from different subsystems located in different geographic areas being collated to take critical decisions. The extension of the same is the Internet of Things where multiple types of signals/ information from different connected sources are pumped to the cloud and are available for analytics to take decisions.
JGV: What role does testing play in ensuring the perfection of the fundamental components of the IoT? What are the specific testing requirements, from the perspective of the IoT?
SM: Testing specifically for IoT is still not very evolved but will involve multiple facets including – sensor calibration, environment testing based on where the IoT is going to be used, its connectivity testing, etc. This means the test system would involve I/Os that would vary from DC to RF and will have to have the capability to scale to the changes in the functionality of the IoT. A modular software-defined test setup seems to fit these needs and is the ideal fit for testing IoT systems.
JGV: Which of your tools are helpful in testing/ developing IoT products?
Nationals Instruments tools such as LabVIEW and COTS hardware such as compactRIO are used in prototyping the Internet of Things. With the graphical system design approach of building systems with a platform-based approach, using a highly productive software such as LabVIEW and a completely configurable off-the-shelf hardware people can bring their ideas to reality faster. Our PXI hardware is a modular test platform that can help build sophisticated test systems to implement test solutions for IoT.
JGV: Is it possible to cite any specific examples of how your tools have helped towards developing/ testing an IoT product?
The following is an interesting case study of IoT that we are working on: http://zone.ni.com/wv/app/doc/p/id/wv-3925