Real-Time Tic Tac Toe Light

I had the great privilege of being a speaker at HTML5 Developer Conference in San Francisco recently.  It was the second HTML5 Dev Conf I have presented at, with the first one being October 2013.  This time, I paired with Frank Greco to present a session entitled “WebSockets: Past, Present and Future”.  Frank took the stage for the first half of the session, and I followed up with some hands-on Internet of Things (IoT) demonstrations that were integrated with Kaazing Gateway.

Introducing the Tic Tac Toe Light

My personal favorite demonstration was a project I called the “Tic Tac Toe Light”.  I called it this because the custom-built enclosure houses nine (9) Adafuit NeoPixels in a three-by-three (3×3) grid.  The enclosure, made using foam core board and a hot knife, also contained an Arduino Yun.  I have grown to be a big fan of the Arduino Yun for real-time IoT/web projects.  The board is the same profile as an Arduino Uno, but includes integrated wireless (802.11 b/g/n), an ATmega32u4 (similar to the Arduino Leonardo), and a Linux system on a chip (SoC).

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Using a web-based user interface, attendees of the HTM5 Dev Conf session could use their laptop, tablet or smartphone to control each NeoPixel (RGB LED) in the enclosure.  At the same time, the web user interface kept in sync with all the attendees selections – across all screens.  The Arduino Yun was also listening on a real-time connection for color change messages, which is how it knew what lights to change to what colors.

Why Kaazing Gateway

I think the bigger question here is “Why real-time?”  Although I do not know the exact count, I would say that the session had nearly 200 attendees.  The ATmega32u4 has a clock speed of 16 MHz with 32 KB of RAM.  If all those attendees were selecting light colors at anywhere near the same time using HTTP, the Arduino would be crushed under the load.  In a real-time scenario however, there is but one connection, and about twenty (20) bytes of data for each color change.  The end result was a far more scalable solution.

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And it had to scale too!  The lights on the Tic Tac Toe box were blinking wildly for the duration of the time I had it plugged in (before I had to move on to my next demonstration).

Can you imagine the user experience over HTTP, even if the 16 MHz chip could handle the load?  You would select a color, and at some interval later, the color would be set.  That lag however would leave you wondering “Was that my color selection?”  This as compared to an instant response using Kaazing Gateway, even over conference wireless.  Not to mention keeping all the other connected users in sync.  The additional HTTP polling load for that would make the whole project come to a crawl (or just crash).

What Next

The 3×3 grid was actually happenstance – I happened to have ten (10) NeoPixels on hand in my component drawer.  I wanted a square, so 3×3 it was.  This led to the name of Tic Tac Toe.  But then I started to wonder.  What if this was the physical manifestation of two players in an actual game of tic-tac-toe?  Or even better yet, maybe artificial intelligence (AI) on the server was playing the other side in real-time!

This is where I would like to take the project next.  If you want to see the code for the project, you can hop on over to my GitHub account where I have posted more details, as well as code itself for the Arduino Yun and the web client.  The fabrication plans are also posted there should you want to take on a project like this yourself.  If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, or drop a comment below.

Credits

Thanks Matthias Schroeder for the Vine video of Tic Tac Toe in action during the session.

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KAAZING Leads Education in Modern Web and Mobile App Development

KAAZING was the first organization delivering formal, instructor-led HTML5 and WebSocket training globally back in 2008. Since then, we have trained thousands of web developers and engineers on the latest best practices and techniques for building state of the art Web and mobile applications.

Today, we still remain very active in educating the web development community at all skill levels. Earlier this year, we launched two new intermediate to advanced level courses for web developers focused on new best practices and techniques for modern Web and mobile app development using open-source tools, and developing secure, real-time networked Web and mobile applications.

Richard Clark, Head of Global Training at KAAZING, will be teaching a 1-day beginner level JavaScript course at the HTML5 Developers Conference in San Francisco on May 19 from 9am-4pm. This course is called Leveling up in JavaScript. For more information and to register, click here. http://html5devconf.com/training.html – clark-leveling

For those looking to learn core foundational web development skills, you can pick up the fundamentals of JavaScript in less than a day. This course is for those who want to go beyond static design and into the world of interactive programming. Once you know how JavaScript works, you can take advantage of it to make your web pages and apps come alive.


richard-clarkRichard Clark is the Head of Global Training at KAAZING. He is an experienced software developer and instructor. He has authored commercial web applications and blends the practical knowledge of a developer with extensive experience as an instructional designer and trainer. Richard has taught for Apple and Hewlett-Packard, written immersive simulations, developed multiple high-performance web applications for the Fortune 100, and published Apple iOS applications. He is an evangelist for new technologies with a focus on their practical uses.

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Why Should The Internet Of Things Be Central To Your IT Strategy?

Not since the Web began has there been an era of disruption like the one ushered in by the Internet of Things. An IoT connected world is fast becoming a reality that promises to link our homes and business and improve efficiency. 

By the year 2020, the number of Things connected to the Internet will be 6X the number of humans. With the explosive growth of connected things, an IoT world brings both tremendous risks and enormous opportunities.

Join KAAZING and Gigaom Research for “The Internet of Things: Making it Happen in Your Business,” a free analyst roundtable webinar on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. PT.

Our expert panelists, Craig Foster, freelance analyst, writer and consultant, Rich Morrow, founder / head geek, quicloud LLC and Jonas Jacobi, Co-Founder & President, KAAZING will discuss the risks and benefits of implementing a secure IT strategy to help you adopt and leverage the Internet of Things in your business.

This webinar will introduce a spectrum of IoT use cases through current examples that will help you identify the process and technology changes required to support IoT-based initiatives.

Prepare your business to succeed in an IoT connected world. Learn what our experts have to say and gain valuable insights on how to make the IoT central to your IT strategy. Register now. http://goo.gl/C3D1fj 

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KAAZING Is Expanding, And So We Are Moving…

Unless you have been hiding under a rock since January 1st, you will have noticed that KAAZING in 2014 has entered a period of rapid expansion.

Whether it is measured in terms of participation in industry events worldwide, high-profile customer wins, bold new hires, or improvements to and additional flavors of the KAAZING Gateway, the company is visibly, energetically and relentlessly expanding in lockstep with the explosive growth of the Internet of Things.

No surprise then that we have also out-grown our current office space. Which is why on February 10, 2014, we are re-locating our Worldwide HQ.

While remaining in the heart of Silicon Valley, our new headquarters will henceforth be in San Jose – in the America Center, hailed when completed in 2009 as one of the “greenest” office projects in the Valley, back when LEED-certified office projects were still a rarity.

They say that moving on is not about never looking back, it’s about taking a glance at yesterday and noticing how much you’ve grown since then. All at KAAZING have been doing exactly that. We loved Mountain View, where the company was born and raised. But we are ready for this bigger and better facility, where Zingers will henceforth have access to a fitness center. The new location also provides easy access to jogging and bike trails.

“It’s all about growth and execution,” said Vikram Mehta, KAAZING’s CEO. “We’re a hot business in a hot industry. The move gives us the space to execute better, faster, and with a larger team.”

Mehta noted that the entire Enterprise IT & Infrastructure industry has already been asked to update its records with KAAZING’s new information and added that the company “looks forward to seeing all our partners and associates at our new location.”

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Here is our new address (pictured to the left):

Kaazing Corporation
6001 America Center Drive, Suite 250
San Jose, CA 95002

Our phone numbers have not changed:

T +1 (877) KAAZING
T +1 (877) 522-9464
F +1 (650) 960-8145

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Now That The Emperor Has No Clothes On…

by Vikram Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, Kaazing

To get the Internet of Things rolling, “Let’s just throw more bandwidth and hardware at the problem”, would be a very typical response from the technology industry. That should fix it.

At the end of 1987 the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had no freeways or highways. The very first freeway, only 11.5 miles long, leading from Shanghai to Jiading, opened in 1988. By the end of 2013 the freeway/highway system in PRC totaled 60,494 miles – long enough to circle planet earth 2.4 times. Now, many recall what has been described as amongst the worst traffic jams in history, a sixty-mile queue on the Beijing-Tibet highway in August 2010 in which tens of thousands of drivers were caught up for more than ten entire days. So much for circling the earth 2.4 times!

The solution to PRC’s traffic and traffic-induced pollution problems cannot possibly lie in doing more of the same – i.e., building more freeways long enough to circle the earth another 2.4 times. Instead, the solution lies in making dramatically more efficient use of existing freeways, or even completely changing the way freeways are used in the first place.

Conventional wisdom would suggest building more capacity to meet expanding needs. But what’s the point of building still more freeways which will then become clogged up with even more cars, thus perpetuating the cycle?

Accelerating the Web for the Internet of Things

We need to transform the Web from being unidirectional, like the telegraph of the 1800s, to being bi-directional like the modern telephone. We need to make the Web work way smarter. We need to eliminate clutter from the Web. We need to “unclutter” it.

KAAZING has pioneered a way to make the Web work more efficiently, securely, reliably and fast – while streamlining, simplifying and scaling Web Communications to eliminate clutter and over-building.

Our two forward-thinking co-founders Jonas Jacobi and John Fallows were the early and significant contributors to the Web’s most important re-inventions in recent times – HTML5 WebSocket. Their contributions were standardized by the IETF as RFC 6455 in 2011.

The engineering team at KAAZING then used this invention to create a new category of products – KAAZING Gateways – tailored for M2M, P2P, and P2M communications. Our unique, proprietary, and patent-protected products enable the orderly and accelerated onboarding of billions of “different things” (Mobile Users, Enterprises, and Machines) onto the Web in an always-on, always-connected, and always-communicating state at unprecedented scale, and with enterprise-grade performance, predictability, reliability, and security.

We’re a category pioneer and the world’s leading provider of gateways that extend the above benefits of scale, speed, predictability, reliability, and security across the multiple languages (protocols) spoken by the “things” (Mobile Users, Enterprises, and Machines) that are all seeking to connect in an IoT world:

  • MQTT for machine-to-machine communication (M2M)
  • XMPP and WebRTC for peer-to-peer communication (P2P)
  • JMS, MQ, and AMQP for human-to-machine communication (P2M)
  • BYOP™ (Bring Your Own Protocol) for other unique forms of communication.

By electing to build our value-added stack on a set of industry standards that we actively co-authored, we occupy pole position when it comes to taking advantage of new revisions to the standard. Our deep knowledge of the standard enables us to extend the standard to deliver new and unique value to our customers. Such extensions manifest themselves in tangible benefits to our customers, for example – two orders (100x) of magnitude latency and three orders (1000x) of magnitude bandwidth improvements for existing Web applications, all through the addition of just “one line of code” – bulwarked of course by thousands of man years of intensive development by KAAZING, our partners and customers.

As an enabler of the IoT world, our solutions are innovative, elegant and robust and our list of customers – circling back to where I began this blog – include one of the world’s largest energy-producing and trading companies; three of the world’s top ten banks; one of America’s top three professional sports franchises with over 70 million fans in 150 different countries; one of Europe’s most sophisticated rail transportation networks; one of the top three transportation companies in the USA; one of the world’s top five commercial airlines; one of the world’s best known cable and satellite networks; and one of the world’s most valuable retail brands. And that list of businesses that are relying on KAAZING is growing very rapidly.

These global enterprises have chosen KAAZING’s Gateways – and our Education and Consulting Services – to equip themselves for tomorrow, today.

Is your business ready for an IoT world? Call us for an obligation free discussion on how you can benefit from what we have to offer.

Meanwhile for a good read, check out the IEEE Computer Society’s Top 10 Tech Trends in 2014. In my next blog, I will offer KAAZING’s viewpoint on the impact of these trends on the Internet of Many Different Things.

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The Internet of Many Different Things – Are We There Yet?

by Vikram Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, Kaazing

vikram-mehtaPer my earlier blog post, no matter whose research you believe, there is no arguing that the years ahead will see an explosion in the number of “Things” that can and will connect to the Internet – all with the good intention of making our world a better place.

Let’s step back for a moment to take a wide-angle view of the IoT landscape. Today, we live in a Web Wide World where Internet-connected devices are increasingly vital to our lives, business and society. The conventional request-response protocol of the old ‘walkie-talkie’ Web gets in the way of mobile apps, low-latency communications and high-speed enterprise messaging. KAAZING is fixing that problem with event-driven, real-time and right-time Web Communications for the coming billions of Internet-connected things.

Quite simply, the faster we can help enterprises make the move to help Kaazing accelerate the Web for all the Internet-connected Things, the better we all will like it! Despite advances in discrete technology and our desire to move rapidly to this new and better world full of machines communicating with other machines (M2M), humans communicating with other humans (P2P), and humans communicating with machines (P2M), the underlying communications infrastructure, legacy enterprise systems, applications, and everything surrounding an enterprise’s IT infrastructure are holding us back.

Picture a gigantic freeway system that serves as a means to get you from point A to point B safely, on-time, every time, at any time of the day, at any day of the week, and any week of the year. Now what if I told you that this freeway had an on/off-ramp every few hundred yards and that traffic wanting to use this freeway was doubling every week? To make matters worse, what if I added that the incidence of breakdowns and accidents was on the rise? What would it be like to use this freeway everyday to commute to and from work, for the rest of your working career?

Everything about the Infobahn (the Internet), from the underlying protocol used by the entire World Wide Web. (HTTP) to discrete infrastructure like firewalls, proxies, and Web front-ends of application servers, creates the same effect as I described in the preceding paragraph. Now 24 years old, it would not be an exaggeration to say that HTTP – unidirectional, slow, laden with considerable overhead, and inefficient – is perhaps the single biggest barrier keeping us from getting to the $14-15 trillion treasure trove described earlier in this blog.

As Kaazing Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer John Fallows likes to put it – and yes he’s rather droll:

“Humankind is Homo Duplex, equipped with a two-way brain and highly adept at full-duplex processing – talking while simultaneously listening, for example. The current Web, however, thanks to the historical assumption that online services should only speak when they are spoken to, is conspicuously only half-duplex.”

Since, in the IoT world, the Web is going to be shared by 50 billion+ “Different Things” that are always-on, always-connected and always trying to communicate, it needs to be full-duplex, secure, scalable and fast.

However, HTTP, the language of the Internet of today, is like the telegraph network of the 1800s – unidirectional, slow, laden with considerable overhead, and inefficient. This is because it was designed to serve up static information in response to requests for such information. It was never designed to be continuously communicating your vitals and keeping your doctor informed in real time; and it was not designed to give your doctor the ability to push a message to your Internet-connected wrist watch that reads – “your heart is experiencing extreme stress; please take an Aspirin and lie down immediately; paramedics are 20 seconds away.”

Seventeen million people die each year of Cardio Vascular Disorder (CVD). One of the promises of how IoT is going to make life better for everyone is providing such at-risk individuals a “Connected Care” service that allows them to go about their lives as they usually do, while having the peace of mind that the Internet-based Connected Care service they subscribe to will ensure that they always get timely, predictive medical assistance. In the United States alone, for example, approximately 26 million people who have been diagnosed with heart disease could benefit from such a service.

Vital statistics for 26 million human beings transmitted over the Internet 24×7 and event-driven alerts coming back to the 26 million subscribers – all over the Internet! Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Doing all this over a network that behaves much like a telegraph network of the 1800s – now there is a sobering dose of reality.

In an IoT world, the Internet will be shared by 24-50 billion “Different Things” (a number far greater than what’s connected via the Internet today); always on, always connected and always communicating.

As a subscriber to a Connected Care service how would you be sure that your doctor can message you reliably, securely, and at IoT speed on your Internet-connected SmartWatch if a remote review of your vitals tips him off that you’re about to suffer a coronary event that could permanently damage the valves and muscles in your heart. As things stand today, his message might come too late…or simply never get to you!

Now, how much surer would you feel if I said that some day there could be as many as 340 undecillion (340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) Things sharing the Infobahn at the same time that your doctor was trying to get a vital message to you before permanent damage is caused to your heart?

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Next blog, I’ll be taking a look at how the technology industry typically approaches Internet, Web and Enterprise Communications challenges.

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The Internet of Many Different Things – Let’s Get There at the Speed of Light, Alright?

by Vikram Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, Kaazing

vikram-mehtaThe coming “Internet of Many Different Things” is not a world that is still way out in the future.

According to researchers, somewhere between 2008 and 2009 there were as many “things” connected to the Internet as the number of people on the planet – over 6 billion!

According to GSMA, by 2020 there will be 24 billion “things” connected to the Internet, of which half or 12 billion will be mobile devices.

So what’s all this going to be worth? Analyst firm IDC projects that IoT technology and services spending will generate global revenues of $8.9 trillion by 2020. Indeed, with 12 billion mobile devices and 50 billion ‘Things’ connected via the Internet in the not-too-distant future, new technology that transcends the limitations of the current Web is critical.

Cisco, which has a big stake in infrastructure for a thriving Internet of what Cisco likes to call “Everything” estimates that the IoT will boost global output by $14.4 trillion over nine years, or a comparatively sane $1.6 trillion a year. General Electric, by contrast, goes even bigger than McKinsey, and estimates that what it calls the “Industrial Internet” will boost global GDP by $15.3 trillion in 2030.

Cisco’s punditry forecasts that beyond just smartphones and tablets, that number of “Things” that connect to the Internet will only continue to scale as the growing number of connected gizmos, appliances – and even cows – are coded and cataloged to send messages to the Web.

No matter which prognostication or forecast you tend to believe, the opportunity for Internet-connected Things is indeed enormous.

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My next blog will explore the factors that are holding back the Internet-connected parts of all those billions of “Things.”

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