July 2015

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Have you updated your IoT Plans?

On June 29, millions of users installed a securable open source IoT Platform.

Toby ConsidineToby Considine
TC9 Inc

The New Daedalus

Contributing Editor

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All of your customers got a new open platform for the Internet of Things on June 29. So you have to be thinking, “How does this change my plans”?

On June 29, millions of users installed a securable open source IoT Platform. Users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 are eligible for free upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 includes an AllJoyn server as a core service. 

The pioneers of digital controls in buildings have long been pioneers in the Internet of Things (IoT). For a long time, a strong concern was how to keep these systems off the Internet, especially as the level of security in these technologies was so poor. For the home hobbyist, the IoT began in with the release of the X10 protocol in 1975. X10-based systems were only embraced by hobbyists, because unless it was your hobby, you would never tolerate the drudgery and significant weekend time to configure and operate your systems.

Despite all the buzz, the IoT has been a confusing mass of non-standard protocols and custom applications. In 2011, Qualcomm presented AllJoyn as a common framework for interacting with the IoT. The code was later open-sourced and presented to the Linux Foundation. In 2013, the AllSeen Alliance was formed to encourage adoption of the AllJoyn platform.

The AllSeen Alliance is more than startups and communications companies, although there are plenty of those. Old line computer companies such as Microsoft and Lenovo are members. Building centric companies that shun open source, such as Honeywell are members. NREL has signed on. By now, each of your customers has probably installed some AllJoyn in a building.

AllJoyn complements the Message Queueing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), and open source bridges between the two are available. While AllJoyn is designed to handle discovery and message transfer over a proximal [local] network or local network. AllJoyn interfaces can support need from control applications to media streaming. MQTT is a publish/subscribe framework in which a MQTT broker acts as a public IP addressable node. Publishers and subscribers connect through the broker. MQTT was designed for remote monitoring and control for most part. Most deployments of MQTT deployments use WAN network atop cellular technologies.

Also this month, the core OBIX 1.1 was released to what I hope is the final public review. The focus of the entire effort was improved interoperability of different code-bases through more abstract formal information models. Standardized encodings enable easy and accurate exchange of messages from XML to JSON, the protocol of choice for today’s web developers, and COaP, a newer protocol appropriate for very large sensornets.

All this get especially interesting when you consider Bindings rather than Encodings. One of the new Bindings defined in OBIX is WebSocket. The Smart TV Alliance has embraced OBIX encoded in JSON and bound to WebSocket as a means to communicate between consumer electronics. To a growing degree, MQTT is being used as a lighter weight, higher performance variant of WebSocket, with binding gateways also available in Open Source.

We at last have some standards that stir the pot in a way the pot has not been stirred for a while. With wireless network companies supporting the AllSeen Alliance, we may soon see the open source AllJoyn as an option on your home router.  A home router is a natural gateway between a proximal network and a Pub/Sub network. Less open solutions such as ZigBee will need to re-position themselves.

Larger systems using formal controls schemas, and probably OBIX, will soon look to AllJoyn as a way to extend their situation awareness.  Natural bridges between the Consumer Electronics Association with the Smart TV Alliance platform and AllJoyn-based applications come from compatible bindings, compatible encodings, and open standards.

What will really turbo-charge this is the cross-platform development environment that comes with Windows 10. It can come as no surprise that Microsoft is releasing DotNet development tools for AllJoyn applications. ROTOR has long supported DotNet on multiple platforms, but support for the advanced development libraries that make DotNet so valuable on Microsoft platforms has been spotty.

This changes with the AllJoyn component on Windows 10. Each version of the pre-production DotNet AllJoyn library has been released on the same day for Windows, Android, and IOS. At the end of June, 2015, the high-touch Microsoft development environment is now available to for all three platforms in all DotNet Languages.

Building system programming has always been isolated, and not really up to consumer and corporate expectations. The bar is now raised. Have you updated your IoT plans?


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