Embedded cloud talking

November 10, 2011

Susan Rambo-November 10, 2011

Wanted: Engineers and developers to write about cloud and M2M.

Welcome to a new space for embedded systems developers and engineers for exchanging coding tips and tricks, tools, and techniques for integrating embedded systems into networks on the Internet (the cloud). If you're developing devices that connect to the cloud (public or private, M2M, etc.), we want to hear from you.

Send us a short, technically-detailed article to share with your colleagues about how you developed embedded systems and got them working on the Internet. We'll post your interesting stories, techniques, and questions for which other readers may weigh-in. More specifically, we're interested in:

  • How-to tips: what works, what doesn't work
  • Tools, protocols, and programming language recommendations
  • Specific software coding techniques
  • Gotchas
  • How you got around barriers to integrating systems onto the cloud
  • Integration successes
  • Integration messes
  • Security
  • Real-time on the cloud: how real is real
  • Web services--what works, what is problematic
  • Questions you want to pose to the community about cloud/M2M techniques (we'll put your question in our weekly newsletter)

Ideally you'll submit about 500 to 1,000 words. Send blog or article to the managing editor, Susan Rambo at, using " Cloud Talkers" in the subject line.

Code talking
The name Cloud Talkers is an homage to the Navajo Code Talkers, Americans who used their nation's ancient language to help the U.S. war effort during World War II. It was a brilliantly simple, practical solution, bringing different cultures together for problem solving. (For a glimpse of their heroism, bravery, and accomplishments, see Let's take those Code Talkers as inspiration as we talk "code" (and hardware) about the embedded systems in the cloud.

The themes I'm hearing so far about embedded systems and the cloud:

--What's old is new or being branded as new: The techniques have been around for over ten years or longer; Embedded Systems Programming magazine used to cover them regularly (under its Internet Appliance section) in the early 2000s. Bernard Cole, the site editor of, wrote a blog for back in the early 2000s called Netcentric View, when he was an editor on EE Times;    He also wrote a book about net-centric computing and maintains the website iAppliance web. Cole recently wrote an interesting article about old-timer User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) being used to connect small, low-power devices to the Internet. Arlen Nipper, CTO of Eurotech, made a similar point about MTTQ protocol and other techniques he's using:  "I'm blowing dust off techniques done 10 to 15 years ago that are now coming to fruition."

Many people saw these cloud-based systems coming years ago (and some of them wrote books and papers about it, and coined terms, like The Internet of Things); now the technology and infrastructure is catching up with once futuristic thinking. The ubiquitously connected world is becoming somewhat real, in all sort of ways we haven't thought of or just dreamed about ("Cheers to M2M-Enabled Beer Kegs," Mike Carrozzo, Connected World magazine, November 4, 2011).

--What's practical: some simple, older solutions are often the most practical. What are the most practical techniques for developing cloud-destined embedded systems?

--Two cultures: Embedded systems developers need to reach out to the IT/web development and systems integrators working on the IT-end of the system. Generously sharing your knowledge while learning from others can not only help on the project at hand, but keep you sharp as a problem solver (and employable).

--Security is important:
There's the battle: keeping your or your customers data secure on the cloud.

A mix of talkers
Occasionally we'll post technical how-to tips and articles from engineers who work for companies that are selling a tool for cloud integration or service. Also, you will see guest journalists who cover M2M chiming in about something interesting in the field. I'll do my best to collect links to other sites that may help in your search for practical information.

But what we really need are engineers and embedded systems developers to share their experiences and basic techniques with other engineers. Email me at


Susan Rambo is the managing editor of Embedded Systems Design magazine. Reach her at

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