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Android Things

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To help software developers build and develop new hardware and make them play nice with each other Google has launched a platform called “Android Things.”

Android Things lets you build smart, connected devices for a wide variety of consumer, retail, and industrial applications.

This new platform allows you to build using the existing knowledge you have with Android development. Allowing this knowledge to extend into devices like Raspberry Pi and NXP i.MX7D. This service is coupled nicely with Android Studio, giving you the full power of Android in all of your Internet of Things work.

Android Things is a managed OS built for IoT manufacturers that streamlines production time and costs by creating development on top of a reliable toolset like the Android SDK. Products produced on the platform also benefit from regular security patches/updates that are automatically provided/enabled by default. Google will then provide the security updates free for three years.

 

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What does this mean for future IoT devices?

As more devices come online and companies make them easier to use, we start to see a rise in Linux based systems; Android is one of those systems. While I am a huge fan of Linux, most companies lack the skills to secure the OS properly. Improper security allows backdoors or security holes that were discovered years or months ago to be exploited, allowing “hackers” to gain access to the end device. Another significant issue is that new companies that are hardware focused getting into the software game. That’s like someone who works at the local Pizza place filling in for the mechanic that usually fixes your car; you are not going to let that happen! Again, this is what is taking place. We have developers writing software that work at a hardware-focused company; they don’t have the experience to know what security measures need to be in place. This works in the same inverse way, software developers building hardware, not a great idea.

With the introduction of Android Things, security problems like this will sadly still exist but will be less pervasive. While security patches are provided, it will still be up to the individual or company to secure and lockdown the device itself.

When looking at how this can impact IoT, I see this as a tremendous opportunity for companies and individual developers. If you are already in the Android ecosystem, then it makes perfect sense. For the consumer, this is also a significant advantage because your products will come out of the box and just “work.”

 

Will this improve standards?

Companies or developers can create there own standards on the fly with little to no oversight. Allowing developers to standardize on Android might make quite a bit of sense. This “framework” will allow for more formal restrictions and rules around what can and should be done.

 

Let’s work together!

Tired of struggling with your IoT project? Let Echolo develop your next IoT application, device or both! Companies are often concerned that their employees lack IoT skills and knowledge, along with senior managers lacking understanding of, and a commitment to, the required technologies to succeed with an IoT strategy. The Internet of Things is new and often a very nebulous idea. In fact, 70% of companies often look to outside consultants or IoT companies for help or try to learn from early movers in similar markets.

When companies look to secure outside help, they tend to be more successful and reach the market faster. Consultants like Echolo have often seen the pitfalls and can help identify issues early because of the experience they already had with launching IoT based projects.

Greg Winn

Greg is veteran of the Iraq war and a unique expert in software engineering, hardware engineering and big data which provides a substantial advantage for Echolo's IoT products and roadmap. Greg spent more than 10 years at the National Association of Rocketry, building guidance and avoidance systems for high powered rockets. After a few years in the online gaming industry, Greg built his first company Tacticalzone.com a community site for the NovaLogic video game, Delta Force. TacticalZone was acquired in 2002 by Playnet Inc. In the years following TacticalZone Greg launched many web platforms and SaaS-based products including Cignal, a big data twitter sentiment analysis and predictive tool. Greg has contracted for top companies and organizations such as NASA, Ackerman & McQueen, Match.com, and the NRA. He has become a leading authority on how to create world-class software with a startup development team then scale into a full product organization.

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