Matthew Gast

Matthew Gast is the director of software product management at Aerohive Networks. He has been active within the Wi-Fi community and has served as a leader on several industry standards committees, including as chair of the current revision of the 802.11 standard. He has written extensively about Wi-Fi, including three books for O'Reilly. In his spare time, Matthew is typically near an airport flying gliders.

Application programming for iBeacons

iBeacons don't communicate directly with end users — applications are required for translation and action execution.

Once you are set up with an iBeacon, no matter whether it is a dedicated device or a program running on a host device, you are ready to start writing applications. The iBeacon “protocol” is simple, as we saw in the introductory post: it defines regions in space as “where I see a specified combination of UUID, major,…
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Horseshoes, hand grenades, and building mobile applications

The difference between location and proximity: knowing you’re in the restaurant vs knowing what table you’re sitting at.

As the old proverb goes, “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” It doesn’t quite apply when building mobile applications, however. Smaller screens and the resistance to extensive keyboard input define the input and output constraints of mobile apps, but there is something more fundamental that a mobile application can do. At its best, an application that knows…
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iBeacon basics

Proximity is the 'Hello World' of mobility.

As any programmer knows, writing the “hello, world” program is the canonical elementary exercise in any new programming language. Getting devices to interact with the world is the foundation of the Internet of Things, and enabling devices to learn about their surroundings is the “hello world” of mobility. On a recent trip to Washington D.C., I attended the first
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Battery technology is not keeping pace with computing power demands

Power limitations with mobile devices are just the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve spent the past decade of my professional life working to enable connectivity everywhere with Wi-Fi. Back when I started working with Wi-Fi, it was a way of connecting laptops to the network more easily. These days, Wi-Fi is more likely to be used as a way of getting an entirely new type of device connected — a phone,…
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Wearables and the immediacy of communication

Wearables can help bridge the gap between batch and real-time communications.

I drown in e-mail, which is a common affliction. With meetings during the day, I need to defer e-mail to breaks between meetings or until the evening, which prevents it from being a real-time communications medium. Everybody builds a communication “bubble” around themselves, sometimes by design and sometimes by necessity. Robert Reich’s…
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Bluetooth Low Energy in public spaces

This lower-cost technology could greatly enhance consumer convenience for many applications.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the new low-energy form of Bluetooth (BLE) recently, with an eye toward thinking about ways it can be used. The core advantages the protocol has over other similar standards is that it’s optimized for lower data rates, and extremely long battery life. While we may complain about how much energy a Wi-Fi device uses,…
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Oobleck security

What is the security model for a world filled with sensors?

I’ve been thinking (and writing) a lot lately about the intersection of hardware and software, and how standing at that crossroads does not fit neatly into our mental models of how to approach the world. Previously, there was hardware and there was software, and the two didn’t really mix. When trying to describe my thinking to a colleague…
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Searching for the software stack for the physical world

Very much a work in progress, the stack for IoT will require rethinking every layer of the protocol stack.

When I flip through a book on networking, one of the first things I look for is the protocol stack diagram. An elegant representation of the protocol stack can help you make sense of where to put things, separate out important mental concepts, and help explain how a technology is organized. I’m no stranger to the idea of trying to…
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Wearable computing and automation

The Jawbone UP shows the promise available in all kinds of wearable sensors.

In a recent conversation, I described my phone as “everything that Compaq marketing promised the iPAQ was going to be.” It was the first device I really carried around and used as an extension of my normal computing activities. Of course, everything I did on the iPAQ can be done much more easily on a smartphone these days, so…
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Obstacles to future proofing home automation

If home automation is going to grow, we need a standard set of protocols that is used by everybody.

When contemplating a home-automation project — as with many other technology decisions — the right place to start is ensuring you’re purchasing something that is future proof. As a veteran of the networking industry, future proofing is a technology decision that has some well-understood rules. Computer networking benefits from open standards that drive interoperability, and our customers in turn benefit…
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