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Engineers working on IoT devices have to expand their thinking to the whole system, even if they are not building it all.

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How can model-based design help here?

Model-Based Design (MBD) using Simulink, Stateflow and MATLAB, helps in several important ways.  The models enable the engineer to think at a higher level of abstraction, which in turn makes it easier to conceptualise the entire system.  Simulating those models enables the engineer to evaluate and improve the system’s behaviour across a wide range of scenarios, including those that are difficult to replicate in real life.  Automatic code generation means fast and robust implementation to devices ranging from FPGAs and micro-controllers, to SoC devices such as the Xilinx Zync, to rugged industrial PLCs.

MATLAB and Simulink can also connect directly to popular low-cost and open-source hardware such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, without the need for a code generator.  Tethering and targeting the hardware support packages enables makers and developers to create devices of the future with today’s tools.

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Since MBD provides capabilities for simulating the behaviour of the physical system, and not just the algorithms, it is very useful for developing algorithms that require comparison to a reference model to assess the behaviour of the system and detect anomalies.

How does MATLAB help handle complexity with ease, in the specific case of IoT products?

The MATLAB data analysis environment and the MATLAB language have a key role to play in IoT systems, alongside Simulink.  The MATLAB Desktop is the ideal environment for engineers and scientists to explore, visualize, and gain insight into the data acquired by the IoT system.  In addition, MATLAB can be used to develop and refine the algorithms that make up the “brains” of an IoT system.  In addition, the MATLAB language is an ideal language to express the complex algorithms needed by these systems.  Maintaining this intellectual property in a high-level language insulates you from the inevitable infrastructure churn that will accompany the evolution of the IoT.

Everybody seems to have an IoT slant to their operations now – what about MathWorks – do you have any specific vision for the IoT?

Our goal at MathWorks has always been to accelerate the pace of engineering and science, by providing tools that enable technical professionals to conceive, implement, and apply their innovative ideas.  As I have discussed, the capabilities we have put in our products over the years are immediately relevant and useful for the IoT.  The Internet of Things really just provides an opportunity and context; what it becomes will be the result of what engineers and scientists build with it and on it.  At MathWorks, we expect our users to be at the forefront of that activity, both in research and in development.


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