At a time, when businesses across the world are busy finding the Internet of Things (IoT) uses cases, search engine giant Google has created Android Things, that helps build smart homes and smart enterprises. It is a standard, universal platform for devices such as refrigerators, vending machines, smart thermostats, and more, to communicate in real-time and create real economic value.
Although imaginations and experiments with IoT are rife amidst businesses worldwide, Google seems to be in a mood to bestride the IoT market like a colossus. The search engine giant has gleaned the strengths and weakness of IoT devices to develop Android Things, which is believed to be one of the most secure and stable IoT platforms. Google has not only taken care of the loopholes but is also offering long-term support to the manufacturers of IoT devices, promising both security and stability.
Amidst growing speculations around Android Things, let’s unfold the diverse aspects of this IoT device platform by Google and understand how it is helping the IoT technology dress up in new attire.
What is Android Things?
Android Things is about addressing the pains and problems related to IoT devices including but not limited to consumer electronics, appliances, equipment used in manufacturing and power. It marks the beginning of a new era where not only smart refrigerators, or smart wearables, but all sorts of devices will be connected to the Internet along with cost-friendly measures.
Android as an open-source operating system is not new. We have been using it in smartphones, smart TVs, Chromebook, and many other devices. But Android Things is an extension of it, where it leverages IoT capabilities to connect home-based consumer electronics devices and appliances as well as machines and equipment used by businesses, all on a single platform.
It is to be noted that Android Things, a dedicated OS for IoT devices, was earlier known as Brillo. However, Brillo was limited to the developers with the knowledge of C++ programming language. Android Things opens the door for all Java developers.
Works with Low-Hardware Configuration
The connected devices need little processing and even the storage and workload requirements are low.
Weave allows connected devices to communicate with one another using the same channel. Moreover, it doesn’t even need Wi-Fi to connect or communicate.
Designed with System-on-Modules (SoM)
SoM is similar to System-on-Chips (SoC) that are integrated with smartphones. The difference is that SoM supports hassle-free integration with large IoT devices.
MediaTek MT8516 hardware
Qualcomm SDA212, SDA624
Google’s Virtual Assistant is Expected to Complement Android Things
Google also plans to complement Android Things with its virtual assistant, which will allow IoT devices such as robots, microwave ovens, or TVs to interact with users.
Linux-based open-source software
3 Ways Android Things is Changing the Future of IoT
# 1 Boosts IoT Security
Android Things stands tall to the fundamentals of IoT. It simultaneously and successfully addresses the security concerns that have been raising eyebrows.
Unlike other IoT devices, Google ensures optimum security with Android Things. Security is a major concern, which is not taken care of by the manufacturers. With no backup, the IoT devices become susceptible to attacks and breaches. Google has filled these loopholes by offering a regular Over-the-Air (OTA) update for IoT device software and other security patches, at least for the first three years. It means that the IoT device manufacturers will have little control over the device framework. Besides this, Android Things comes with built-in security and privacy features that make it smart, robust, secure, and stable.
#2 Benefits the Users and the Developers
Android Things creates a connected world, where the devices share information in real-time. This supports the predictive maintenance of the devices. Any malfunction in the devices can be timely tracked and routed for servicing. Besides keeping businesses updated on the performance, the devices connected to the Android Things IoT platform helps identify best-selling products and understand customer preferences.
Android Things is certainly a boon to developers as it allows them to completely focus on building and maintaining IoT devices at large. Besides providing a certified list of compatible tools and hardware, Google has also ensured that the Android Things IoT platform for devices makes the developer’s job hassle-free and less time-consuming. The developer-rich robust APIs, Google’s libraries and other infrastructure, and regular software updates, significantly help to keep the pressure off the developer’s shoulders. All these factors enable them to build products based on Proof-of-Concept (PoCs), making the journey to the market smooth.
#3 Trigger the Growth of IoT
Android Things unveils a new aspect of IoT technology. Some even believe that this IoT device platform by Google is going to completely transform the future as far as usage and experiments with IoT are concerned.
• Secured Platform: Due to the lack of regular software updates, IoT devices had been easy prey for the attackers. But with Android Things, this stigma attached to the IoT devices will no more be there.
• Universal IoT Device Platform: With Android Things, Google aims to build an omnipresent OS layer, where information on problems, solutions, and functionality of disparate devices will be shared in one format and on the same platform.
Android Things enable developers to keep their focus on developing IoT devices as they do not have to worry about the security aspects of the devices. On the other hand, the IoT device manufacturers not only get a managed OS but certified compatible hardware. All these factors will drive the IoT technology in a meaningful direction. Perhaps, it will be more regulated, more secured, and most importantly, trustworthy.
Why Android Things IoT Platform is Emerging a Winner?
The answer to this question lies in the very existence of Android, Google’s operating system that runs on most of the smartphones of the world. Therefore, it won’t be hyperbole to say that Android is universal. Firstly, it is an open-source platform, and secondly, Android users have the maximum number of apps in the Google Play store (over 2.6 million apps as of 2018), which can be easily downloaded.
So, there’s no denying the fact that Android pervades the world market and thus, it is quite obvious that Android Things IoT Platform is ought to rule the world too.