With the achievement of Recommendation status from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML5 has at last come of age. More importantly, the real revolution that HTML5 will enable is just around the corner.
The first new HTML standard to reach this stage since 2000 has been used by web developers for a number of years to build more responsive, content rich applications that are better suited for cross platform and mobile device use. This alone would allow HTML5 to be called a success, but it’s not finished there. The Internet of Things - millions of interconnected, embedded devices generating data at an unheard of rate predicted to do everything from improve our golf swings to managing the traffic in our cities. HTML5 is fast becoming the connective tissue that links the Internet of Things through a feature called Websockets. The IoT has three basic components: devices to generate data, collectors to receive it, and a way to send it. Websockets provide an easy, open framework enabling devices to send data in real time over IP connections to servers (or ‘collectors’) and for applications like web browsers to read and visualize the data. By simplifying the transmission of device data HTML5 and websockets brings the IoT one step closer to realization.
Of course none of this can happen until the supporting infrastructure in in place. HTML5, websockets and IoT will demand new things from our networking, security and DNS architectures. Simply managing the connections from millions of devices will strain network equipment such as firewalls. Visibility into the data transmitted over websockets will be needed to protect the collecting infrastructure from malicious attack. With non-existent or limited storage, embedded devices won’t be able to buffer sensor data for long, so the collecting infrastructure must be highly available and discoverable by DNS – hard coding IP addresses seems a poor design choice. At the same time, to avoid ‘weaponizing’ your connected refrigerator, DNS resolutions must be secure and verifiable, through the use of signing schemes like DNSSec. Meeting these challenges is going to be as important as HTML5 in the growth of IoT, and the industry needs to start preparing now.