Getting the Most Out of the Internet of Things

There are still a great number of product silos holding Internet of Things (IoT) together. There is a pressing need for the development of open IoT ecosystems based on open standards among vendors. This means having standards for discovery, identification and interoperation of devices and services across the variety of platforms put forth by different vendors. This requires them to provide rich descriptions of their products and to share their data models, while paying extra attention to privacy, security, accessibility and scalability. Newly opened ecosystems will boost growth by establishing larger markets for product developers and will remove the burden of having to tailor product to platforms specific to different vendors.

Benefits would come from being able to use coding languages like Javascript, being able to encode data using the JSON and EXI data and metadata formats, and shared protocols like WebSockets and HTTP. Javascript would be utilized to provide direct access to sensors, actuators located in the browser, cloud or network edge service platforms and also for device drivers located in gateways using IoT protocols where devices are embedded or constrained, and then use web protocols in order to make them discoverable by service platforms.

Identification is crucial for users, devices, services and applications; especially where they are part of end-to-end security and where trust management is necessary. They differ from conventional web applications because the user isn’t always present. Trust management will need to have the ability to verify metadata, including sensor location and data provenance, for example.

Applications often need more rich data than the sensors can provide, and this data also needs to be interpreted as part of a larger network of information sources. The same is true for control systems, where the activities need to be measured against those of low-level entities. IoT needs the capacity to make models of the real world at various abstraction levels, and it needs to activate open markets with free competition for services right across the levels. Things in IoT are to be understood as virtually represented objects.

This means that IoT is not restricted to connected devices, and can be extended to unconnected people and places, as well as abstract ideas like organizations, events and periods of time. Each of which will have an avatar and a history in order to provide a richer IoT experience.

Learn more about IoT from the W3C.