Open source code may unite IoT – networking project spawns IoT middleware: Page 2 of 2

September 24, 2015 //By Jim Ballingall, Industry-Academia Partnership
A high profile open source project working on software-defined networks has given birth to what could become an important standard for bringing unity to the fragmented Internet of Things
The ease of use of this middleware platform was recently proven when a group of Boston University students used IoTDM along with common mobile development languages and server-side tools, to build a pair of Smart Cities apps. Their work was showcased in the DevNet Zone for IoT hosted by Cisco at its annual Cisco Live event in San Diego in June.

These applications provided visualisations of mobile device positions on interactive maps of both indoor facilities and aerial/satellite imagery. They combined signals acquired from disparate things including Bluetooth low energy beacons, Internet routers, and GPS signals. To speed development, the students made extensive use of open source software including iOS and Android mobile location apps, as well as sigma.js and node.js to support the browser-based functions.

One application allowed users to search for other registered users on their mobile devices and view a heat map that displayed realtime people traffic and historical data. The other app provided visualization of the IoT network nodes and data including the applications, users, devices, and the aggregated IoT sensor data. Users could directly edit the graphical representation of the network, using a cursor to select specific nodes on their display for editing, as well as creating new nodes, or searching for nodes not displayed. In this way, users could easily add, update or delete data.

These applications were written by students and required 600 and 1,000 person-hours of work each. They are representative of future IoT applications that will easily combine data from multiple and disparate sources, providing insights that enable smart decisions.  The underlying technology solutions that can perform the required data aggregation, sensor service management, and application integration are maturing quickly. 

Jim Ballingall is executive director of The Industry-Academia Partnership, an association of university professors, students and industry leaders in pursuit of common goals in cloud computing education, research and product development.

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