The Internet of Things (IoT) has been joining the digital and physical worlds for years. Today, everything we think of as “smart” technology can be attributed to IoT. If you’re developing something smart in 2018, you’re going to connect it to other smart devices. IoT developers are not only becoming more in demand; they’re helping futureproof the things we use every day — in areas as basic yet essential as lighting, heating and cooling, kitchen appliances, etc. Then there are more involved and seemingly futuristic use cases, like robotics, autonomous machines and medical devices.
Now, what if there were a place for IoT developers to go to develop the necessary skills, test their expertise, and find opportunities to work on cutting-edge IoT projects and challenges? At Topcoder, we’re turning that hypothetical into a reality for all developers.
Examples where IoT is as impactful as it is trendy
When it comes to today’s smart home, my family and I use certain devices constantly: Alexa, Alexa Skills, and Nest everything — Nest cams, Nest thermostats, Nest smoke detectors… devices that make it easier to get information, manage music throughout the house, and better ensure safety. Sonos is an everyday Alexa Skill for us, and I use Nest cams to monitor our dogs. While some IoT gadgets are just for enjoyment, others are truly life-saving, like smart smoke detection or rescue drones used by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Wipro has done something similarly transformative in medical applications. With 300+ designated IoT experts, Wipro has made IoT a priority across industries. Take, for instance, Wipro’s Deep Learning Facility Testbed, the goal of which is to deliver a next-generation smart facility solution using deep learning through neural networks. That means optimizing diagnosis, maintenance, and even repairs of assets. And on the visitor side, improved wait times and climate control.
Just last summer, Wipro unveiled its Silicon Valley Innovation Center (SVIC), an R&D and incubation hub where partners and clients can explore what’s possible in futuristic technologies and solutions. SVIC is as impressive as it is truly functional and innovative; it has a “Store of the Future” with sensor-embedded shelves and an AI-powered vanity mirror that makes health and fitness recommendations — along with many other IoT inventions and advancements.
Topcoder’s place in the IoT space
Though most companies have a preliminary strategy and funds set aside for IoT, there is still a gap in knowledge when it comes to hiring IoT talent and growing those skills internally. That said, this new, ongoing IoT boom presents a huge opportunity for qualified developers. For every new device, there are that many more applications that need to be written to connect, interact, monitor, analyze, and augment the physical attributes of the device. Unlike other technology trends and industry disruptors in recent years, success in IoT doesn’t hinge on a single app or device; the focal points of the IoT boom will be in discovering new use cases, reskilling developers, and doing something meaningful with all the data we’ve generated in just the last few years.
Over the last several years, Topcoder has become increasingly involved in leveraging IoT expertise to achieve great things for businesses (as well as teach other developers). In 2016, we created an expert community centered on Predix, GE’s industrial IoT platform. And now, developers from all over can access our Predix asset library, where Topcoder members who’ve competed in Predix challenges post their (downloadable) winning assets, along with detailed descriptions.
We’ve also helped companies realize their IoT dreams when a lack of internal resources and bandwidth created a roadblock. For a futuristic security and access control provider — a pioneer in the combination of handheld or wearable device technology and social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn — the vision was to seamlessly connect people to physical spaces using apps and social profiles… and before the competition could. In just six months, the Topcoder Community developed a new SAM API, designed and built three mobile apps (using iBeacon and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity), and developed an application which integrated augmented reality into their platform.
Watch for the launch of the Topcoder IoT Community
This is just the beginning. Today, Topcoder is working to develop an expert community around IoT — made up of designers and developers learning and competing to solve real-world business problems with connected technology solutions. IoT is not all hype; it’s now a necessity for companies of all sizes. And Topcoder is making it easier than ever for developers to get the skills they need and for businesses to forge ahead with IoT.