Can Open IoT Solve the Main IoT Challenges

May 12, 2014

Chris Murphy from InformationWeek has published a fascinating article about some of the challenges organizations face when trying to implement IoT solutions. The article focuses on Industrial IoT solutions and is based on interviews with GE, Union Pacific and others. I certainly recommend reading the article.

I thought it might be interesting to look at each of the challenges presented in the article to see how the Open IoT community might help solve the problems.

1. The data isn’t good enough.

Getting smarter about how to collect and use the data is still a work in progress. The last quote ‘linkage is one of the next big areas to look at’ is particularly relevant. This is why open standards like MQTT, CoAP and others will be so important for IoT. We need to break-down the existing proprietary protocols so it is easy to flow the data from a Nest thermostat or smart-meter into the demand generation of a power generation plant.

 

2. Networks aren’t ubiquitous.

“The future Internet of Things model often will combine on-machine processing for urgent needs and batch-data uploads for less timely analysis. Bill Ruh, VP of GE Software, describes this as “real-time, big data processing at the machine. We don’t have anything like that today.” 

 

A lot of the current web and enterprise development architecture assume the existence of a reliable network, in IoT that is not the case. Pushing application logic on-machine or to a gateway will become essential. Cisco has certainly observed this challenge and that is why they talk about ‘fog computing’. It is also why the Eclipse Krikkit project is so important.  IoT gateway solutions will also help with this challenge. Eclipse Kura and Mihini provide open source solutions for people wanting to build IoT gateways.

 

3. Integration is tougher than analysis.

Companies spend 90% of their IoT budgets on those kinds of integrations, leaving insufficient money to drive the operational changes that actually produce the returns, says Ton Steenman, Intel’s IoT business leader.

 

Building IoT solutions is hard work. It requires the skills of hardware architects, embedded software developers, network engineers, enterprise software developers and data analytic experts. Each solution is often custom crafting of a specific solution. This is where the open IoT community can deliver a huge benefit. We need to collaborate on building a common set of building blocks that people use to build these solutions. We need to use software in help with the complexity of integration. Communities like Alljoyn and Eclipse IoT are building these foundations to help with integration.

 

4. More sensor innovation needed.

It would seem the open hardware community is well positioned to take up this challenge. We are seeing tremendous innovation in hardware for the maker and IoT community. My guess is that we will see more and more innovation in this community.

It is interesting to see mention the concept of a software-defined sensor. I need to do some more research in this area but like software defined network or software defined radio, my guess is that open source software would be a great way to provide software-defined sensors.

 

5. Status quo security doesn’t cut it.

“The biggest fallacy is that traditional IT security solves operational technology problems,” 

 

<sigh> Everyone sees security as an issue for IoT but I don’t see anyone stepping up to solve it. </sigh> Someone needs to start working on this or maybe someone can point me to a community working on this, please.

 

I really like this list of challenges since it is based on companies trying to implement real IoT solutions. There is still a lot of work needed to create technology to solve these solutions but in confirms my belief that the vision we have for Eclipse IoT is focused on the correct customer requirements.


IoT Links (Interesting Companies) for 05-09-2014

May 9, 2014

This week I was in California for the IoT DevCon. I had the opportunity to speak about Eclipse IoT and also meet a lot of interesting companies. Therefore, for my weekly IoT links instead of linking to articles on the Internet I thought I’d share with you 3 companies I see doing interesting things for IoT.

1. TempoDB – Andrew Conk, the CEO of TempoDB, is one of the smartest guys I’ve met in the IoT space. TempoDB has a time series database that is well suited for collecting and managing the streams of sensors create in IoT solutions. His vision for sensor analytics is exactly the type of innovation and thinking we need for IoT. TempoDB includes Ninja Blocks as one of their customers but it is some of their industrial customers that I find interesting.

2. Aeris Communications – I had the opportunity to attend a Connected Car presentation from Aeris Communications at the Silicon Valley IoT Meetup. Aeris is networking company that appears to be focused on a lot of the reliability issues of keeping a car connected to the network. Connected Car is definitely going to be a hot solution over the next number of years so it was interesting to learn about Aeris’s approach. They didn’t provide a lot of details about their software stack but it does appear they are using MQTT for their messaging.

3. Cisco – The Eclipse Krikkit project is part of the Eclipse IoT community. It is also being lead by some very smart people within Cisco. Cisco’s vision for IoT is called ‘Data In Motion’. They want to push the processing of data out to the edges of the network so IoT solutions can be smarter and more responsive. A key component is defining rules for the data. Krikkit will be the api for defining and processing the rules. Next Wednesday, we will be doing an IoT Hangout to talk about Data in Motion and Krikkit with the guys from Cisco. Cisco is also hosting a hackathon on May 20 in San Francisco that includes hacking on Krikkit and Data in Motion.

 


How to categorize the Internet of Things

May 3, 2014

I was recently asked how to categorize the Internet of Things. IoT is so broad and multi-dimensional that I am not sure if there is one easy answer or set of categories. However, here is my current thinking…

1. IoT Hardware

A lot of the excitement in IoT and the maker community starts with the cheap, easily accessible hardware. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone are the poster kids in the space. Now there are a ton of new hardware solutions be made available, ex Parallela (16 cores for $99) , Galileo from Intel

2. IoT Standards and Protocols

There is a lot of talk about IoT protocols and which one will win. It is too early and I agree not any one protocol will win. One thing I do know is that closed proprietary solutions are not going to win. We do need to work on having a common set of standards like CoAP, MQTT, Alljoyn, SensorML, etc  Of course, we also need to make sure that we have open source implementations for these standards and protocols. That is why Eclipse IoT is so important for an Open IoT.

There will also be a lot of vertical standards that will be developed for IoT, like OneM2M, Continua, etc.

3. IoT Gateway Software

The typical IoT solution architecture will have some type of gateway solution that connect the sensors and actuators to the Internet. Eclipse Kura and Mihini are good examples of this but there are certainly others.

4. IoT Middleware

Companies like IBM, Axeda, Sierra Wireless, 2lemetry, ClearBlade, Microsoft, Eurotech, Thingworx, Litmus Automation and others are providing IoT platforms/middleware solutions. This is definitely an emerging space where all platforms are not equal. I expect to see a lot more startups and the big enterprise middleware vendors driving the innovation for IoT middleware.

 5. IoT Databases

The amount of data generated by IoT solutions has the potential to be Huge Data, not just big data. AS pointed out by Matt Asay, the exists a massive opportunity in analyzing IoT data.  Splunk seems to be the leader in this space but I expect a lot of innovation in this space.

6. IoT Solutions: IoT & Humans vs Industrial Internet

There are also a lot of  industry specific and user-case specific IoT solutions. Tim O’Reilly wrote a recent article titled ‘The Internet of Things and Humans‘ which does a very nice job summarizing the human impact of IoT. In fact a lot of the hype for IoT is around wearables and home automation.  Nest is the poster-child for IoT&H but you can’t go a week without finding another home automation solution being launched on kickstarter.

There is no doubt the human side of IoT will be important but I find the Industrial side to be a lot more compelling. SCADA systems like the London Tube system , Nespresso providing remote management of coffee machine, the work GE is doing for hospitals, aircrafts, etc. are the things  are fascinating and exciting opportunities. This is also where a lot of the profits in IoT will be made.

 

In the last 6 months the activity/hype around IoT has exploded. It will be fun to watch how these categories emerge and merge in the next 1-2 years. Of course an Open IoT is what is needed for all this to be successful. Eclipse IoT will be an important part of the solution.

 

 

 


IoT Links: 05-02-2014

May 2, 2014

It has been a while since I’ve posted a summary of links to interesting news in the IoT industry. A lot of interesting stuff is happening, so it is now time to get back into the habit.

1. Micorsoft and IoT

Microsoft has made some very interesting announcements about their IoT strategy, in particular with Azure.

- Blog post from the new MS CEO: A data culture for everyone announcing Azure Intelligent Systems Services

- London Tube IoT using Azure IIS 

- GnatMQ: MQTT broker for Azure  Not official MS product but movement towards MQTT in the MS community

 

2. Data for IoT

I believe a lot more discussion is required on how the data created by IoT solutions will be managed. We need better databases, middleware and discussion around common data formats.  Some of the discussion is starting:

- Data engineering is the bottleneck for IoT

- The impact of IoE on NoSQL

- Discussion on MQTT topic standardization 

 

3. Other Stuff

- Benjamin Cabe published a new tutorial and demo using the Rapiro robot

- New Eclipse project proposal for Moquette, a Java based MQTT broker

- IoT Hangout #5 featuring Genuitec and PiPlug, think Eclipse RCP for the Raspberry Pi

 

 


Most popular sessions and speakers at EclipseCon 2014

April 10, 2014

Thank you to everyone who attended EclipseCon, especially our speakers. The speakers spend a lot of time preparing for the conference and make the event a huge success. Therefore, I’d like to highlight some of the more popular sessions and speakers.

Most popular sessions (based on attendance)

  1. New Features in Java SE 8 – George Saab and Stuart Marks
  2. Making the Eclipse IDE fun again – continued – Martin Lippert, Fred Bricon and Andrew Clement
  3. API Design in Java 8 – John Arthorne
  4. What every Eclipse developer should know about Eclipse 4 (e4) – Jonas Helming and Eugen Neufeld
  5. A guided tour of Eclipse IoT – Benjamin Cabe
  6. Xtreme Eclipse 4: A tutorial on advanced usages of the Eclipse 4 platform – Sopot Cela, Lars Vogel and Paul Webster
  7. The New Profiling Tools in the Oracle JDK! – Klara Ward
  8. The Road to Lambda – Alex Buckley
  9. JDT embraces type annotations – Stephan Hermann
  10. M2M, IoT, device management: one protocol to rule them all? – Julien Vermillard

 

Most popular speakers (based on feedback survey*)

  1. JDT embraces lambda expressions – Srikanth Sankaran, Noopur Gupta and Stephen Hermann
  2. Turning Eclipse into an Arduino programming platform for kids – Melanie Bats
  3. Code Matters – Eclipse Hacker’s Git Guide – Stephan Lay, Christian Grail and Lars Vogel
  4. Writing JavaFX applications use Eclipse as IDE and runtime platform – Thomas Schindl
  5. Servlets are so ‘90s! – Holger Staudacher
  6. Building a full-product installer using P2 – Mark Bozeman and Mike Wrighton
  7. Connecting the Eclipse IDE to the Cloud-Based Era of Developer Tooling – Andrew Clement and Martin Lippert
  8. Advanced Use of Eclipse 4’s Dependency Injection Framework -Brian de Alwis
  9. What every Eclipse developer should know about Eclipse 4 (e4)  – Jonas Helming and Eugen Neufeld
  10. The Road to Lambda – Alex Buckley

 

* a session needed feedback from at least 15 attendees to make the list.

A detailed summary of all the sessions is available.


Moving towards interoperability for IoT

April 8, 2014

The is a LOT of hype around the Internet of Things (IoT). Lots of vendors selling proprietary solutions that have very little to do with the Internet of Things but everything to do with locking customers into a single solution. If we are going to have a truly open Internet of Things, the solutions will need to be interoperable.

The MQTT Interop Test Day was one of the first events that has demonstrated interoperability between different proprietary and open IoT solutions. On March 17, 15 different organization and products spent 1 day testing their MQTT solutions with each other.Participating were large established software companies like IBM, Software AG,  RedHat JBoss,; smaller software companies like  2lemetry, Xively, ClearBlade, Litmus Automation, HiveMQ; hardware companies like Eurotech and Sierra Wireless and open source projects like Eclipse Kura, Eclipse Paho, NodeRed and others. it was amazing to see MQTT clients and servers that have never been tested together would simple work. It wasn’t true all the time but it certainly showed that MQTT is a specification that will enable interoperability between solutions.

A complete report is now available. The feedback from the participants was very positive so we are going to do it again in the Fall 2014, just in time for the OASIS TC to finalize the first MQTT open specification.

We are definitely moving towards an open IoT!


Time for a new eclipse.org L&F

March 31, 2014

As with all good things, the time has come to give the eclipse.org web site a new look and feel. A lot has changed since the existing web site was launched over 5 years ago. Eclipse itself has evolved to bea large community of open source projects. The Eclipse Working Groups, ex. LocationTech, IoT, PolarSys and Automotive, have become important parts of the Eclipse community. The technology for building web sites has also changed significantly, with frameworks like Bootstrap and JQuery, becoming very popular.

Given this background, today we are making available a prototype of the new site. Our goal is to solicit feedback on the prototype before we make the big change in early June. The prototype is focus on the key pages of the site, including the home page and download page. We also worked on the header, footer and navigation menus. We did not work on the individual project pages but the expectation is that they will be able to move relatively easily to the new theme.

eclipse org screen shot

When we started we set out some goals for the new design:

  1. Make the site look nicer, ie. reduce some of the clutter, be more consistent with colours, etc.
  2. The web site should be responsive so it is usable on mobile devices.
  3. Make it easier for newcomers to get started at Eclipse.
  4. Help people discover and understand our Eclipse Working Group

To achieve these goals we put ogether a team of people to help design and advise on the new site. Chris Aniszczyk and Sven Efftinge provided feedback and advice from the committer/project perspective.  Nitin Dahyabhai and Russ Bateman helped provide the perspective of the newcomer to the Eclipse community. Finally, Christopher Guindon, Denis Roy, myself and Matt Joanisse, a graphic designer hired by the Foundation to work on the site, worked on the design, content and implementation. I’d like to thank all of these people for spending the time helping get us to this stage.

As I mentioned, now we would like to get feedback on the prototype from the community. In particular, we would like to know the following:

  1. Overall, what is your view of the site? We have started a survey to solicit your feedback.
  2. Have we missed some key content that should be referenced from the navigation menu or from the key landing pages?
  3. Is the Getting Started Page missing any important content you think newcomers would find useful?

Please provide the feedback via this survey. As with any creative initiative, we guarantee we will read all feedback but we might not agree to implement it. :-)

We know the prototype is not complete. We still need to implement the design for mobile devices. There are a number of pages that still need to be implemented with the new design. Some of the links are not correct or aren’t pointing to a page. These will certainly be done before the site is launched.

Overall, I am thrilled with the new design. I can’t wait to see it implemented on the live site. A huge thank you to Christopher, Matt and the entire team for getting us to this stage.


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