Frederic Desbiens, Eclipse Foundation: 2022 open source crystal ball for IoT and edge computing

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Frederic Desbiens, Eclipse Foundation: 2022 open source crystal ball for IoT and edge computing

By Frédéric Desbiens, IoT and Edge Program Lead for the Eclipse Foundation  

In another life, I was a high school history teacher. So for me, the best part of December is forward-looking posts trying to predict what’s ahead. After all, the whole point of studying the past is to chart our path towards the future, right? 

Last year, I published my predictions for 2021. Some of my predictions have nearly come to fruition; others are still a work in progress. I will now try again for 2022. Of course, my particular crystal ball is again the latest edition of the Eclipse IoT & Edge Developer Survey Report 

With that said, here are five predictions for 2022:

Rust will grow on constrained devices and even in the Cloud

C is still the number 1 programming language for constrained devices, with C++ part of the top five. There are many reasons for that. C is fast, portable, and the cornerstone of a whole ecosystem of tools, frameworks, and libraries. But it is not without downsides. Buffer overflow, anyone? Rust emerged as a credible alternative in the last few years since it provides error-proof memory management and zero-cost high-level abstractions. It is even edging closer to being accepted as a C substitute for Linux kernel development 

In our community, Eclipse zenoh is using Rust extensively. Our friends at Red Hat have also built a constrained device and cloud stack at the Drogue IoT project. I see those two projects coming closer in 2022, and I suspect other Rust-based projects will appear in our ecosystem.

Open-source hardware grows further

Do you know what is better than open-source software? Open-source software running on open-source hardware, of course! RISC-V has seen significant momentum in the last few years, and 8% of the respondents to our 2021 survey mentioned they use processors based on the ISA. Moreover, 6% said they leverage chips based on the open-source CORE-V designs developed by the OpenHW Group. 

I expect those numbers to grow in 2022. IoT developers need stable, validated platforms to work with, and CORE-V delivers just that, with flexibility that most proprietary designs simply cannot offer.

The march towards software-defined everything starts

In his remarks on the 10th anniversary of the Eclipse IoT Working Group, Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, stated that he expects developers to drop the “IoT” term at some point. When most devices are connected, talking about the “Internet of Things” does not make sense. 

I completely agree with that statement. I would like to propose an alternative to IoT: software-defined everything. In the past, the features of most devices were set in stone at the factory. Most future devices will have internet connectivity and computational power. In other words: their software will define their abilities. 

5G becomes real

Telecommunication providers have been busy building 5G infrastructure for a while now. Most high-end phones support 5G, although they cannot use all the available frequency ranges. But you know 5G is serious when Amazon jumps in and offers to build private 5G networks in your factories or corporate campus.  

2022 is the year of Sparkplug

Committers to the Eclipse Sparkplug specification project have worked hard throughout 2021 to take the specification to the next level. In 2022, we will publish the first version of the Sparkplug specification under the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process and launch the Sparkplug compatibility program. This will provide a robust foundation for the working group and technology to grow. Although MQTT has been the leading IoT-specific protocol in our developer survey for a while, the lack of interoperability in the MQTT ecosystem is still a concern. Sparkplug changes that, which is why it will see significant growth in 2022.  

About the author

Frédéric Desbiens is a program manager at the Eclipse Foundation, the world’s largest open-source software foundation focused on IoT and Edge, where he runs the organizations’ efforts for IoT and Edge Computing. His job is to help the community innovate by bringing devices and software together. In the past, he worked as a product manager, solutions architect and developer for companies as diverse as Pivotal, Cisco and Oracle. 

DISCLAIMER: Guest posts are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Edge Industry Review (EdgeIR.com).

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