ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT HEADS ASSOCIATION

November 2014

Current Views

By Barry Sullivan, Program Director, ECEDHA
 

 

IoT, CPS, and ECE

The task of selecting news items for the “ECE in the News” section usually falls to me.  For the November issue of the
ECE Source, however, we are fortunate to have selections from George Pappas, this month’s guest editor.  George has identified several articles related to the Internet of Things (IoT), the theme of this issue.

These news articles highlight several issues critical to realizing the IoT vision, including security, standards, and communication requirements.  The featured articles in this issue provide in-depth treatments of IoT concepts, technologies, and research challenges.  For my contribution, I want to share some observations on how the IoT finds its way into so many areas of electrical and computer engineering. 

The Internet of Things—also know as the Internet of Everything and the Industrial Internet—comes under the broader heading of cyber-physical systems (CPS), another term of fairly recent vintage.  According to a current National Science Foundation program solicitation, cyber-physical systems are “engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components.”  In other words, CPS captures the application of computers at all scales to real-world systems, which covers a lot of territory.

CPS and IoT have obvious implications for computer networks, embedded systems, and electronics in general.  Just how significant the impact can be is evident in an interview with Gregg Lowe, CEO of Freescale Semiconductors, who cites IoT-related products as a growth area for the company and among key factors in his company’s growing revenues.

The impact extends to large-scale devices as well.  As reported in the New York Times article, GE plans to IoT-enable industrial equipment, including products for the aviation, energy, healthcare, and transportation industries.  The Smart Grid—which integrates remote monitoring, communications, and control into the electric power grid—exhibits CPS attributes and is often mentioned among pioneering IoT deployments.

Whether you believe the IoT is the next big thing or just the continuing evolution of embedded systems and machine-to-machine communications, the articles in this issue of the ECE Source make clear its growing impact across a range of ECE disciplines.

 


 
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