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May 2019

Dear ComputingEdge reader:

Managing IoT Diversity: The Internet of Things (IoT) pervades many industries, domains, and facets of our lives. Yet, these connected objects are often not standardized and don’t work across different applications. This lack of  interoperability is a key challenge in increasing adoption and effectiveness of IoT systems. Two articles in this issue of ComputingEdge present innovations for managing this heterogeneous IoT ecosystem.

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What We Talk about Today

Some days, I awake with the hope that we will never discuss blockchain or the Internet of Things (IoT) again. After all, I reason, we no longer discuss the logical properties of vacuum tubes or the vagaries of ALGOL syntax. Perhaps we’ve reached the point where there is nothing more to say about either blockchain or IoT. The May 2019 issue of ComputingEdge does not support that aspiration. It reminds us that there are still key lessons to learn about both technologies.

The two articles on blockchain quickly move past the hype of cybercurrencies and probe for the real value of this technology. The first, Shedroff’s “Self-Managing Real Estate,” looks at an application with requirements that might benefit from smart contracts. The second, Kshetri and Voas’s “Blockchain in Developing Countries,” notes that the technology has the ability to build inexpensive institutions of trust where none currently exist.

The IoT remains a big problem that needs clear insight. “[It] is about the digital representation of the physical world,” note authors Höller, Tsiatsis, and Mulligan in their article, “Toward a Machine Intelligence Layer for Diverse Industrial IoT Use Cases.” Another article, “Semantic Enablement in IoT Service Layers—Standard Progress and Challenges” by Gilani et al., takes on this complex subject, as well. Both articles show what we’ve done to organize IoT, reveal some of the problems that are outstanding, and suggest the work that we need to do to make this technology truly effective.

Beyond blockchain and IoT, we have emojis, trolls, and careers in this issue of ComputingEdge. In “Emoji: Lingua Franca or Passing Fancy?,” Hurlburt gives us a fairly detailed analysis of this phenomenon and suggests where it might be trending. In “The Online Trolling Ecosystem,” Berghel—one of the more provocative columnists for Computer—and his coauthor, Berleant, probe the nature of trolling and give us a taxonomy to explain the phenomenon. The issue ends with a description of an experimental system that presents graphical representations of various career paths (“CareerVis: Hierarchical Visualization of Career Pathway Data” by Li et al.). These three subjects—along with blockchain and IoT—are aspects of computing technology that we will discuss tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

—David Alan Grier for ComputingEdge

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