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How Android is used in IOTby@madhu_kesavan
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8,318 reads

How Android is used in IOT

by Madhu KesavanJanuary 16th, 2017
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It was once thought to be the stuff of <a href="https://hackernoon.com/tagged/science" target="_blank">science</a> fiction. But the ‘internet of things’ (IOT) is already here and growing at a rapid rate. Simply put, IOT refers to the increasing interconnectedness of different smart devices over the internet. These devices feature sensors and internet connectivity that allows them to receive, gather and transmit information.

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It was once thought to be the stuff of science fiction. But the ‘internet of things’ (IOT) is already here and growing at a rapid rate. Simply put, IOT refers to the increasing interconnectedness of different smart devices over the internet. These devices feature sensors and internet connectivity that allows them to receive, gather and transmit information.

A wide variety of devices are have already hit the market and many more are set to be released as developers work towards increased connectivity of electronic devices in homes and offices. Today you can easily control your refrigerator, treadmill, smart TV or toaster from your smart phone.

However, IOT is only possible as a result of the availability of a platform on which these devices can operate. Enter Android.

Why Android has become the Major Driving Force behind IOT

A quick look at the market shows that most smart devices run on Google’s operating system, Android. Anyone familiar with smart phones is also familiar with the operating system. It is currently the world’s leading mobile device operating system edging out iOS. As of 2013, Android smart phones had outsold Apple’s iPhones 4 to 1.

However, the war didn’t stop with smartphones. The battle for the top is now being fueled by the expanding demand for interconnected devices and Android is leading the charge. The world of IOT is being created and managed for Android.

There are various reasons why Android is at the forefront:

1. Android is a universal front end from which developers can work

Android has risen quickly as a software platform mostly because Google (the company behind it) chose to give it away to developers and device makers. The Linux-based software is open source, therefore allowing just about anyone to use its source code and therefore customize it for use in just about any gadget they can imagine.

The number of devices that rely on Android as an operating system today are numerous. With such a large number of devices run on Android it is easy to see how Android acts as a front end for IOT. It is easy and cheap to develop devices for IOT making them even more affordable for consumers.

2. Apps drive IOT

A gadget is just a gadget. However, with the right app to and software to help it run and perform different tasks, it becomes much more. Apps are what make it possible to use IOT devices. Android is currently the world’s largest app platform. As of December 2016, Google Playstore was reported to host more than 2.6 million apps. It is not surprising that Android drives the IOT movement.

3. IOT is being built on Java

Many IOT devices are being built on Java. It therefore makes sense that Android is driving the IOT market. Android allows for Java to be applied in a way that makes sense as opposed to the use of embedded JAVA which requires dedicated devices.

The Android IOT Ecosystem

To understand the application of Android in IOT, you must understand the IOT ecosystem and Android’s role in it.

· The sensor

Sensors detect physical properties such as temperature and generate digital signals. Many hardware vendors rely on specific domains such as Linux, Android and Windows. The popularity and availability of Android makes it an easy winner in this area. The fact that Android is open source and can be tweaked for use in any device makes it a popular choice for device makers.

· Data Transfer

There must be a component that supports the transfer of data from the sensor. The two simplest options available for this are MQTT and XMPP. Android supports both of these open source implementations. The libraries can be used on Windows, Linux and Android.

· Device

There must a device or processor with an operating system that supports the components of the IOT ecosystem. This ought to be a small and portable device that doesn’t consume too much power but can provide continuous connectivity. In many cases, inexpensive Android devices are chosen for this. Android devices meet the requirements to support a wide variety of sensors. There are also various tutorials available to assist developers.

· Program

There must be a program that receives the data and stores it. This could take the form a standard Linux Server. This server receives the data, decodes it and processes it. The data can be used for subsequent analysis.

There is no doubt that Android is the major driving force behind IOT devices. Reach out to an Android app developer if you are planning to build IOT Apps.