Why HTTP is not enough for the Internet of Things
Christian Karasiewicz 270005XS4E Visits (14563)
This blog post is contributed by Aditya Dutta, a Senior IT Architect at IBM India.
In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic transformation of our personal and professional lives due to the ubiquitous use of the Internet. One critical underpinning of the Internet has been HTTP, a unique protocol that allowed the Internet to really take off and become part of our everyday lives.
I believe that the Internet (of people) that we see today might get dwarfed by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) where devices and machines join the Internet. In the IoT, there will be many more “things” connected to the Internet than people.
The devices and machines around us are becoming progressively more instrumented and intelligent, and there is immense potential if the people and devices seamlessly connect and interact with each other.
But the IoT still lacks a widely accepted standard protocol. HTTP is not really ideal for many of its special needs, such as:
HTTP versus MQTT
As the above sample data shows, HTTP:
From this as well as other comparisons, it is quite clear that the search for the right protocol in the IoT is still an open topic. There are plenty of indications that there is a possibility to overcome many of the limitations of HTTP by adopting or creating a more suited solution for the IoT.
IoT protocol candidates
While the search is on for the best fit, it may so happen that no single protocol fits all the needs of the IoT. Also, as Andy Piper (@andypiper), the community lead of MQTT.org, says, only the transport protocol is not enough. It has to be complemented with data formats, ontologies and semantics.
There are quite a few standardization attempts by various bodies, which include:
We are living in interesting times, and I am excited to witness this metamorphosis.
Do you think one of these protocols would fit the needs of the Internet of Things better than others? I would love to hear from you if you have opinions or more information on this important area of technology, which I think will decide the success of the IoT. Please leave a comment below.
Follow Aditya on Twitter at @adityapdutta.
Aditya Dutta is an IBM Redbooks thought leader.