Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez

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 MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com 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 an opinionated Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
"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 SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.