Even though we haven’t begun to break the surface of IIoT, it’s easy to imagine the type of impact this technology will have across all industries. It’s already begun with the car industry and self driving cars. Soon we’ll be seeing computer driven automation and efficiency in almost every aspect of our life. If you are a developer that’s looking for work, I can guarantee you that businesses will be looking for many talented people like you to fill their growing technology needs. But what skills do you need for the future?
There are three main development opportunities in regards to the IIoT ecosystem: Things, Gateways, and the IoT Stack. Each of these categories provide unique challenges depending on the IIoT implementation your business is looking to employ.
Information in this article was sourced from this survey. We highly recommend taking a look at the data to further understand the current state of IIoT development.
If you are looking to develop for the Things within the IIoT chain, there’s a good chance you’ll need to know C based on a developer survey. Other popular languages for this category include C++, Python, and Java. Things are the “bottom” level of the IIoT chain and all the data is typically collected at this level. You’ll most likely be dealing with sensors and/or microcontrollers if you are developing for Things.
One of the key challenges to consider when developing for Things is communication. Any IIoT implementation will need some way for the objects to communicate with the network. Communication protocols established internally by the company as well as externally by IoT protocols will need to be taken into consideration as well. You’ll need to facilitate the transfer of large amounts of data from many objects in the most efficient way possible, while keeping everything secure. Easy, right?
Other requirements to consider when developing for Things includes hardware abstraction, remote management, and even OS/RTOS.
The complete list of most popular languages utilized for Things includes:
- C (56.4%),
- C++ (38.3%),
- Java (21.2%),
- Python (20.8%),
- Assembler (18.9%),
- Node.js (8.5%),
- Lua (7.1%), and
- C# (5.7%).
The most popular languages used for gateways include Java, C/C++, and Python. Gateways facilitate communication between your Things (Sensors, Microcontrollers, etc.) and your network connected to the gateways. This is one area that can serve as a bottleneck to your entire IIoT implementation, so it’s important that your solution can support the sheer amount of data collected each interval.
Due to the nature of IIoT and networks, the key things to consider when developing Gateways include data management and connectivity. Your gateway will need to pass on massive amounts of data from multiple endpoints to your cloud platform stack, and vica versa.
The complete list of most popular languages utilized for Gateways includes:
- Java (40.8%),
- C (30.4%),
- Python (29.9%),
- C++ (28.1%),
- Node.js ( 17.3%),
- C# (8.7%),
- Assembler (5.3%),
- Go (4.5%),
- Lua (4.3%), and
- PHP (4.3%).
Depending on how detailed your IoT solution is, developing in this area may be more conceptually challenging. You’ll need to consider data management, storage, and communication. You could call this the “endpoint” for raw data collected on the IIoT network; Massive amounts of data will need to be constantly stored at acceptable speeds.
The most intriguing part of the IoT Stack is the meat and potatoes of IIoT: data interpretation. You’ll need to turn the data collected into meaningful solutions for your network of Things, and then communicate your updated commands based on the interpretation. If you consider what this might look like in a completely connected Smart Facility that’s meant to respond to data collected from the floor in real time, it’s easy to see how quickly IIoT development becomes a game of brute efficiency.
The complete list of most popular languages utilized for IoT Stacks includes:
- Java (46.3%),
- Node.js (26.3%),
- Python (26.2%),
- PHP (16.4%),
- C++ (11.6%),
- C# (10.5%),
- R (8.4%),
- C (7.3%), and
- Go (6.9%).
Other things to Consider
- According to the 2017 IoT Developer Survey, currently the largest concern for IoT solutions is security. The top security-related technologies utilize in IoT solutions include Communication Security (48.3%), Data Encryption (43.2%), and JSON or similar token (34.4%).
- IoT Platform / middleware development, Home Automation, and industrial automation are currently the top 3 most popular industries for IoT developers to work in.
- IoT Platform / middleware development and Home Automation were the largest key industries in 2016 with all other’s being considerably behind. 2017 has shown a sizeable increase in participation across all the industries other than those aforementioned.
- The most common IoT OS utilized was Linux at 81.5% across all IoT devices.
- TCP/IP and Wi-Fi are the most common connectivity protocols utilized, while HTTP and MQTT are the most commonly applied messaging protocols.
If your a developer looking to get into the IIoT industry, you’ll most likely need a solid and demonstrated understanding at least C, C++, and Java. As with any development project, there currently isn’t an industry standard when it comes to programming language. If you get to decide the language, you’ll need to consider the application needs of IIoT that were detailed in this article. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with whatever language the company has already been working with.
The edge you’ll need for IIoT development is a great understanding of security protocols as well as data/code efficiency techniques. It will also be very important for you to understand how your code translates into real world interactions to ensure that your systems behave in accordance with general safety protocols. Lastly, you should wield a proper understanding of how exactly this technology can be leveraged. Our previous article, Why IIoT, Its Applications, And The Business Behind It will give you some ideas about the sheer potential of IIoT.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at the Programming Languages And Tools being used for IIoT solutions, be sure to catch our next article.