By Henrik Stahl on Aug 20, 2012
Analysts predict that the next revolution in the industry will be the Internet of Things. Speaking in hyperbole, the message is that we first had the Internet of Computers (90s), then the Internet of People (2000s) and that the next Big Thing (tm) is when all the gazillion devices we have around us start becoming connected. This is labeled the Internet of Things. Catchy phrase, isn't it?
So what are all these "things"? Well, if you look around, you will probably see a dozen of them from where you read this. Your car, an elevator, your washing machine, a pretty screen on your home AC control unit that shows scary statistics on how much power you're consuming in the heat of summer. And so on. A common description of this entire segment is "embedded", and it is an entire industry in and of itself. This industry is in a state similar to the PC market in the early 90s. There is a plethora of operating systems, toolchains, frameworks and standards, and a very fragmented hardware market. Programming these devices require specialized skills and is arguably quite a bit more complicated than writing a web or phone app.
In my completely unbiased opinion (ok, flame bait) it is clear that Java could be highly beneficial for this market. It has a large pool of skilled developers, a very mature runtime and development tools, and a well established ecosystem of commercial vendors and open source communities. Java is fast to work with, greatly simplifies portability of code across devices and - very important - adapts well to a rapidly evolving underlying platform. So you are moving from 16 (not a joke) to 32-bit? Just get a 32-bit JVM and you're set. Your embedded chips are becoming multi-core? Java and the JVM have supported multi-core for an eternity. You want to share that nifty communication protocol code you wrote between your backend and your little edge device? No problem. See?
For those interested in learning how to program embedded devices in Java, JavaOne has long had dedicated tracks and sessions for embedded and that remains true this year. However, this year we also wanted to reach out to executives and decision makers and show how Java can enable your business to benefit from the Internet of Things revolution. For this purpose we hold a new sub-conference called Java Embedded @ JavaOne.
If you are a business leader, register now. Then come and find out from us and our partners how Java enables tying embedded systems to your enterprise backend, and how Java can help your business grow with the Internet of Things while reusing existing investments and retaining good TCO on new investments.
If you are a developer, tell your manager that they should come and need a technical advisor (you) who can attend the main JavaOne event. And while you're there, go to a few embedded sessions to learn something new, such as how to make LEDs blink, how to properly secure an embedded device to avoid privacy issues or how to make it talk to your Java EE service in the cloud. Then go home and program your Java-enabled coffee machine to make you a perfect cup of Java :-)