Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Peter Silva, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Xenia von Wedel

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

How to Truly Implement the Internet of Things

How consulting companies and developers can truly design, implement and support the IoT ecosystem

My colleague, mobility and IoT (Internet of Things) guru Peter Rogers has written one of the first articles I have ever read that explains how consulting companies and developers can truly design, implement and support the Internet of Things ecosystem.  Mark your calendars with this historic day.

I was talking with friends today about the whole notion of wearable technology and soon stumbled upon the following important question, "What does a consultancy actually bring to the table in terms of wearable technologies?"

My opinion is that it is not about writing software for Google Glass, which seems to be the first thing anybody does at the mention of wearable technology. I mean firstly it is not (officially) on sale in Europe inside a retail outlet and secondly it does not actually have an official App Store.  I believe it is more about the hardware, the life cycle maintenance for wearable software and the supporting ecosystems. I also believe it is about the creative experiences that showcase the kinds of M2M scenarios that the film Terminator demonstrated. I aim to use the rest of this Blog to explain this argument clearly.

First, it was interesting to see Samsung using Tizen as the operating system for their Gear 2 wearable devices. I have long mooted that it make little sense to have full operating systems on wearable devices and mobile handset vendors seem to want to keep their actual devices in the loop (the iCar and iWatch are both rumoured to work with an iPhone). If the iWatch ever appears then will it be running iOS 7.1? Even if it was running iOS 7.1 then I doubt you would build Apps using the same UI capabilities as for a standard phone or tablet. I would wager that the mobile device will continue to act as an arbitrator between the wearable device and the Internet (of Things) for some time to come and that the wearable devices will be running lightweight operating systems. In which case surely Ubuntu Mobile, Tizen and Firefox OS will make a play.

If that is indeed the case then the whole development cycle and life cycle maintenance of wearable device Apps is going to be a little bit different than before. It will be more constrained, but not in the earlier definition of the word, when wearable displays could only effectively display a pre-processed bitmap image. I would suggest that the Mobile Consumer Application Platform (MCAP) or Portable Native vendors who are geared up to supporting new operating systems quickly will be able to offer support for wearable devices faster than any other toolset vendor.

Proof of the pudding would appear to be Appcelerator's Titanium platform which already offers Tizen support. Whilst disappointingly Samsung say they will not commit to a Tizen powered mobile handset in 2014, at Mobile World Congress they most definitely did commit to Tizen powered wearable devices. Likewise, Marmalade supports the Tizen operating system, although this technology is predominantly (but not exclusively) used by game developers.

I would therefore conclude as my first point, that a consultancy wanting to get into the wearable technology space should first of all have a good knowledge of the MCAP / portable native platforms that are available to support both portability and the fast creation of applications for the wearable device market.

The second point I would make is that there is a definite need for ecosystems that support wearable devices. Such an ecosystem needs to support secure integration of remote devices, discoverability and messaging (to, from and between) disparate devices. I talk about SkyNet a lot at the moment as it is an actualisation of this concept and is available today. SkyNet is an open source Node.js based discovery, messaging and secure integration architecture for wearable devices. It can be hosted on a Mobile Back End as a Service (MBaaS) and acts to consolidate a vast amount of disparate technologies available in this space. As a solid example of this then in a few months you should be able to write JavaScript based Constrained RESTful servers that run on the SkyNet Node.js service tier and use them to discover and communicate with JavaScript based applications running as first class citizens on a Tizen OS powered Gear 2 device. That is one technology stack that covers the whole end to end architecture. It means that the solution architects can focus on security governance, as opposed to integrating disparate technologies, and worrying about what happens 3 months down the line (namely when a new version of the OS is released for the device). Likewise the creative experiences are empowered by a simple and powerful underlying framework.

SkyNet is not the only solution of course, but it is the best Blueprint I have seen so far and it is MIT licenced and available on GitHub today.

Here are two very cool 60 second videos of the Team SkyNet demonstrating their Internet of Things:

1. Bluetooth Low Energy integration. They appear to be messaging some custom built Pebble-type watch.
2. Voice control. They have a voice controlled remote lamp that can be called from a standard telephone.

Each connected device has its own 36 character UUID and a secret token.  These device credentials are required for authenticating and communicating with SkyNet. They also have TLS certificates available on the network by the time you read this. SkyNet can be deployed as a Private Cloud (in your enterprise or even in your home on a Raspberry Pi).  SkyNet networks also have UUIDs and can forward messages to other SkyNet networks.  You can also encrypt your messages if needed for additional security.  SkyNet currently supports 3 protocols over TCP (HTTP(S), WS/S, and MQTT).  They will be adding CoAP (a UDP protocol) this quarter for real-time communication. MQTT and CoAP are optimised protocols for constrained devices.  They are also working on a SkyNet Gateway device that can run in your home or office to communicate with local devices such as Nests, Phillips Hues, Wemos, Insteons, etc. The Gateway (and indeed SkyNet) are all open source and designed to support any protocol or transport layer.

If the right level of security can be applied by using acceptable levels of encryption and the Node.js implementation can be moved to nice Mobile Back End as a Service then you have a secure, scalable and maintainable Internet of Things. We often hear about REST being used but wearable devices introduces us to both Bluetooth Low Energy and Constrained RESTful environments (CoRE). It was in fact the CoRE Working Group that did the major standardization work for CoAP. I am sure instead of mobile architecture diagrams with JSON and REST, you will soon be seeing Bluetooth Low Energy and Constrained REST appearing on wearable architecture diagrams.

I would therefore conclude as a second point, that a consultancy needs to have a good idea of appropriate ecosystems that can match their customer's requirements.

The final point was inspired when I saw the SkyNet Team building a Pebble-Watch-Replica from scratch, a light bulb that could be controlled by voice and talking about voice controlled drones. I have to wager that hardware skills are going to be just as important as software skills - at least in the Innovation and Proof of Concept stage. The final piece of the puzzle for a consultancy then is to bring some level of hardware skills to the table.

In summary, in my view you should not be looking for a consultancy who can purely write Google Glass 'Apps'. Instead you should be looking for a consultancy who can offer you the following: tools for the life cycle management of software on wearable devices; solution architecture around supporting ecosystems for wearable device integration; and even the ability to design custom hardware for innovation projects.


Kevin Benedict Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation Cognizant View my profile on LinkedIn Learn about mobile strategies at Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict Browse the Mobile Solution Directory Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.