On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Ryan Chacon is joined by Dominik Obermaier, the co-founder and CTO of HiveMQ, to discuss IoT protocols including MQTT. They talk about the differences between IoT protocols, how to select the right IoT protocol, the technical challenges in moving IoT data, IoT scalability, recent IoT adoption and use cases, and where the IoT industry is going.
Episode 303’s Sponsor: Troverlo
Troverlo Autonomo is rewriting the rules of asset tracking and data collection. No more chasing elusive devices or losing sleep over data breaches. Autonomo’s unique background app ensures you stay in control, even when devices go off the grid. It’s scalable, platform-compatible, and delivers a rapid return on investment. Visit Troverlo.com now and harness the power of Autonomo to transform your IT department!
About Dominik Obermaier
Dominik Obermaier is CTO and co-founder of HiveMQ. He is a member of the OASIS Technical Committee and is part of the standardization committee for MQTT 3.1.1 and MQTT 5. He is the co-author of the book “The Technical Foundations of IoT” and a frequent speaker on IoT, MQTT, and messaging.
Interested in connecting with Dominik? Reach out on LinkedIn!
HiveMQ is an enterprise MQTT platform that underpins business critical systems so they can securely move data between devices and the cloud at enterprise scale. HiveMQ is easy-to-deploy and connects devices, sensors and edge nodes to enterprise systems for seamless data movement with MQTT, the de-facto standard for IoT messaging. The HiveMQ platform gives DevOps teams and software engineers the foundation to get the right data to the right place at the right time, enabling them to build out any IoT use case from building connected products and services to improving operations in smart manufacturing to building new services for connected cars.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(02:28) What are IoT protocols?
(10:17) IoT scalability
(15:06) Where is the IoT industry going?
(17:22) Learn more and follow up
– [Ryan] Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast. I’m Ryan Chacon, and on today’s episode, we’re going to be focused on talking about IoT protocols, what they are, differences in their capabilities, what they can be used for, how to select the right protocol. And joining me today is Dominik Obermaier, co-founder and CTO of HiveMQ.
They are an enterprise MQTT platform provider. Prior to getting into this, if you’re watching this on YouTube, we truly appreciate you give this video a Thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. If you’re listening to us on a podcast directory, please subscribe. See the latest episodes as soon as they are released.
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And if you have any requests or ideas on things that we could build for you that you think would be beneficial for your understanding of IoT and AI now, please let us know. But otherwise, on to the show. Troverlo Autonomo is rewriting the rules of asset tracking and data collection. No more chasing elusive devices or losing sleep over data breaches.
Autonomo’s unique background app ensures you stay in control even when devices go off the grid. It’s scalable, platform compatible, and delivers a rapid return on investment. Visit troverlo. com that’s T R O V E R L O. com now and harness the power of Autonomo to transform your IT department. Welcome Dominik to the IoT For All Podcast.
Thanks for being here this week.
– [Dominik] Yeah, thank you for having me.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Excited to talk. Good conversation I think we’re going to have, but before we get into it, I’d love it if you could give a quick overview to our audience about yourself and the company you’re with.
– [Dominik] Yes, my name is Dominik Obermaier. I’m CTO and one of the founders of a company called HiveMQ. We’re a company in the IoT space and we’re building a central nervous system for our world. So what we do is we’re providing an MQTT platform for enterprises that allows our customers and all users to connect IoT devices, their smart home.
But also more like connected cars, connected fridges. We do a lot of factory systems and so on. So it’s really like we are building the backbone for communication. And we are using the MQTT protocol for that, which I also helped in the last few years also specify and making an official ISO standard.
So we’re talking about a truly open communication standard that is now the backbone for the Internet of Things.
– [Ryan] First thing I want to ask you, because this is a conversation, or a question that gets brought up quite a bit especially by those who maybe are not on the technical side of things is when you’re talking about protocols in the IoT space, What does that exactly mean? What are I O T protocols?
Why are they important? Why are they an important part of the tech stack? For enabling I O T deployment. So how should people be thinking about them? What’s like the layman way of explaining what I O T protocols are and why they matter?
– [Dominik] IoT protocols are similar to the protocols we use for the traditional internet. This is the communication layer. And so for example, if if users are going to a website these days, they’re going to the browser, they’re putting in HTTP, wikipedia. com or something like that, and they’re using the HTTP protocol.
And why is this important is because it allows for interoperability. For example, for the internet one of the reasons why we can do all of this great things these days, like chatting over whatever WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger sharing things online over social media and so on also doing Zoom calls and all of that is possible because of all these great protocols and this protocol stack, so the stack up also and this is we are doing this since the, pretty much since the beginning of the internet.
And. Yeah. Also, when we talk about Internet of Things communication, of course, devices also communicate. And in the beginning, a lot of companies tried to use or repurpose protocols like HTTP and others to, which connect humans to connect things. But it turns out this is not a very smart idea and this is their dedicated Internet of Things protocols why they exist to connect things and devices to each other.
– [Ryan] What are the main differences when it comes to uses capabilities of the main protocols that exist in the I O T space? And then on top of that, how would you advise or recommend somebody listening to this on how to select the right protocol or go about selecting the right protocol.
– [Dominik] So these days it’s much simpler to to choose the right protocol. I’m doing this now for more than 10 years. So I’m really I’m heavily involved in IoT protocols and around 2014, this was not really clear what would be the dominant technology. So we had technologies like MQTT, we had AMQP and XMPP as well as others, like more niche protocols, like Co Web and others.
These days, most of the devices on the globe are connected over MQTT. And if you’re choosing either a platform somewhere where you just get an IoT endpoint as a developer, or if you’re hosting your own things, usually this is MQTT. So fortunately these days, people usually don’t choose so much anymore.
Sometimes you see web technologies like HTTP in the mix. But usually it’s MQTT, AMQP and XMPP, you don’t see them very often these days anymore. There’s one important aspect though, especially when users are deciding what should they be using in case they’re interested in that conversation. There’s a protocol called MQTT version 5.
Which was released in 2018, which is now the default choice, but unfortunately a lot of vendors do not support it anymore. And the older one is MQTT version three released in 2014. But this is something most vendors out there supported, but I would strongly recommend to use MQTT version five because of the capabilities added for modern IoT deployments.
– [Ryan] What do you say to people when they’re curious on how to select the right one or go to go about just evaluating the options in front of them and to ensure they have the right setup for their stack, for the deployment and the solution they’re building.
– [Dominik] So it depends a bit what people want to do. So if you have a local deployment, for example, if you have a smart home or if you have only. Let’s say if you don’t have internet connectivity, then you have a lot more choices. It depends also a bit on the underlying technology stack.
So for example, if people are using things like Zigbee in their smart home, for example, then usually you’re picking different communication protocols. But this is something that most people don’t do because realistically most internet of things deployments these days do have an internet.
Connectivity part of that and even smart homes. And so if you look at in the smart homes case, if you look at all the. The most used plugins and protocols for home assistant and others. This is MQTT also locally. But especially if you’re going into the professional world, like automotive and manufacturing and so on, these days, you pretty much only see MQTT.
But as I said, there are other choices like co op and others for smaller deployments, especially in a smart home also.
– [Ryan] So let me pivot a little bit and ask you about challenges that you’ve come across in the work that you’ve done. Obviously more, more on the technical side, but when it comes to being able to communicate or have the devices in the solution, communicate, transfer data, move data. What are some of those technical challenges that you’ve seen in the use cases and solutions you’ve been involved in that are worth bringing up for people to understand these challenges exist and then how to overcome them?
– [Dominik] A bit of a backstory might also be useful context here. I’ve been working with especially automotive companies now for more than 10 years. And what is so interesting about automotive companies is that they also have connect cars. And a key problem most IoT deployments have is. Especially in a connected car space, you have moving things that are usually either using some some mobile carriers or other connectivity technologies to connect to the internet.
And this is very interesting because you don’t have a cable, like if I’m at home here, I have a stable internet connection, but if I move with my car. Depending on where you live, there are many spots where you do not have good connectivity. Sometimes you don’t even have any connectivity at all. And so it’s it’s very important that the communication protocols like MQTT are designed for doing that.
And when we founded the company HiveMQ back then we saw the MQTT protocol, but unfortunately MQTT alone as a communication protocol is not ready for big professional deployments because there’s the one thing scalability, you really want to make sure that you’re scaling the technology up to millions of devices.
And as I said, in the connected car scenario, this is true because there are many. Great American and European and also Asian companies that are producing literally millions of cars each year. So there is technology required to scale up like that. And we spend a lot of time on scalability and also on reliability because we want to make sure that it works 24 seven.
All the time and yeah, so this is, we have been pretty successful, so it took us quite some time, but today our platform can connect with a single installation in the cloud, more than 200 million devices at once, literally exchanging millions of data packets per second.
– [Ryan] And what about you mentioned building out these solutions to be scalable. Where do you see us as an industry when it comes to scalability? What are the trends that are happening when it relates to scalability of solutions? Just high level that for us and where we are, where we’re going, what to be looking out for there.
– [Dominik] I think in general scalability is getting more and more important. More devices are connected every day. And so scalability for me is at least two dimensions. On the one side, you’re talking about the number of devices you connect, but the second part is, and this is for me even more important, is the user experience you get, because At the end of the day, most IOT deployments, be it a car, be it a fridge, be it a factory, even you have some end users or applications.
And also low latency is really critical. This means you have a very snappy user experience and getting both right. So supporting a lot of devices, but also making sure that each of these devices has a awesome user experience is a pretty tough problem. And this is something I’ve.
I’ve personally been working on for quite some time now. And I think it’s a super critical for the industry as a whole and The trends I see a lot is again in the automotive space. This is clear that this is growing a lot of electric vehicles are entering our streets. And also the technologies that are built in there are much more modern and user focused than they used to be and much more service orientated.
On the other side, you also have things like factories. That are getting modernized and scalability here is usually not with the number of devices, but it’s making sure that you can pump through all the data from a factory to the cloud and back really in the lowest latency possible. And and I think this is getting more and more important.
And this was one of the reasons why you see a lot of MQTT technologies also deployed inside factories, but also for connecting factories to the cloud and back.
– [Ryan] When it comes to solutions, the big place everybody wants to get to is scale. And if the solution is not set up for that scalability you’re going to run into problems and potentially Decrease the likelihood that a solution succeeds when it goes deployed. So it’s important to talk about and understand what’s happening to with companies and technologies in the IOT space to help increase scalability, make scalability easier, make it more realistic, make it something that companies can really achieve.
So I appreciate you shedding light on that. Are there are there any industries that you’ve noticed over the last, let’s say, 6 12 months or so really coming to the forefront when it comes to IOT adoption that you all are involved in or any kind of just use cases that would be good to bring all what we’re talking about a little bit more full circle here.
– [Dominik] The use cases we work a lot on these days is, as I said automotive still continues to be very strong because there’s a lot of pressure for modernization but also logistics. So we’ve we were working with most of the big logistics companies in the world. Because. One thing I didn’t mention yet connecting things over the internet is pretty expensive, especially at scale.
So you want to make sure that you are you have a very. Efficient way of data transmission and you only transfer data when it’s required and so on. And we help these companies save a lot of money and also scale up a lot. So logistics definitely is one of the things that is getting hotter and hotter.
But also smart manufacturing. This is really the last three years. We really saw this accelerating and I’m almost having daily conversations. With leaders who want to digitize their manufacturing processes. And and also we do some oil and gas also because there’s also a big pressure to modernize and and also there’s also a lot of cost saving potential that can be unlocked with MQTT and other IoT technologies.
– [Ryan] Manufacturing is quite interesting. We’ve had some companies on here talking about just the industrial space across the board and how far the technologies and then the solutions are coming where, they met a lot of resistance early on with the I guess the resistance to adopt new technologies into their current processes and infrastructure.
But as they’re understanding the data that they can collect, the efficiency that this is able to help them achieve, it’s becoming more and more of a popular industry when it comes to use cases, for sure. So last thing I want to ask you before I let you go here, or before we wrap up, I guess I should say where do you see the industry in general, IOT as an industry, where do you see it going in the next year or so?
What are you most excited about? What should people really be on the lookout for?
– [Dominik] love this question and I might have a bit of a contrarian view on that because I think IOT as an industry, I see it more as a horizontal aspect that disbands over all industries. So similar to the internet. So it transformed literally every business on earth and IOT will do the same and it’s just a matter of time.
I do think we are still waiting for some for some inflection points when it comes to key technologies that are required. So I don’t think we will see a lot of them in the next year, but given all the trends we see with AI and others and how fast things accelerate, I’m, I really can’t make a prediction.
What I can say though is like we currently, we are working with pretty much all different industries to modernize and to digitize. And I think we, we haven’t even started yet as a whole industry. And and I think. In a few years, nobody will talk about IOT in general as an industry, but really just as a part of their business.
And I think every company that does not have a proper IOT strategy these days will get into big troubles in the coming years.
– [Ryan] I think it’s one of those things where there’s been resistance to adopt at times and waiting to see how their industry or their competitors are bringing these technologies in and they weren’t always met with the most Eager teams to deploy, but they wanted to see successes. And now we’re starting to see more successes.
We’re starting to see companies focus on promoting their their real applications and solutions, not just hypothetical things that they could do if deployed, but real life deployments are, I think, catching the attention. Of companies and making them realize how realistic IOT solutions are for them to adopt and what they can do.
And once they really realize that, I think that’s when we start to see, the market truly grow. But yeah, but before I let you go would you mind telling your audience where they can learn more follow up? If they have any questions about this once this, once they hear the recording what the best way to do that would be.
– [Dominik] For people in the audience who want to learn more about the MQTT technologies I’ve been talking about there there is a blog series. I wrote many years back that is still like super popular. And it’s, I think that probably the most linked resource about MQTT on the internet is called MQTT essentials.
So you can Google it or you go to.
www. hivemq. com. And then you will see the the blog post series. And there’s also a YouTube series I made a while ago that has five, five minutes. Bite sized pieces of content that explains all the technologies for architects and developers. And for anybody who wants to understand like what kind of business value can be unlocked, also hypemq.
com is a good resource. People want to connect with myself. They can reach out over LinkedIn. My name is Dominik Obermeyer. And I’m also available on Twitter and happy for any conversations about IT technologies.
– [Ryan] Awesome. Dominic, I really appreciate your time. It has been great conversation. Thank you so much. I’m excited to get this out to our audience.
– [Dominik] Thank you, Ryan.