IoT: Make Mine a Standard

By Wim Stoop, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Cloudera

Standards and open source are closely linked. Open source allows you to stay on the cutting edge, to have the latest and most innovative technologies at your disposal at all times. No one company is going to outpace the rate at which an open source community produces innovative new software. In spirit and by definition, open source excludes all things proprietary.

Standards and architectures are the guidelines that ensure the ability for open source software to integrate, exchange and interact. Defining these is, therefore, a crucial element, and Cloudera is now taking part in just that for the biggest revolution we’ve seen in business and society: the Internet of Things (IoT).

Standards for IoT

“The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from” – Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Standards permeate our daily lives and thankfully so. Not only does it make our individual day to day goings on a lot easier, it makes business as a whole worthwhile. Manufacturers, for example, no longer need to invent individual solutions to the simplest problems, with limited opportunity to compete with others.

Complete solutions and approaches, like IoT, are made up of many different elements and components that may all come from different vendors and providers. Standards then, particularly open standards, are crucial. If systems are going to interoperate, if vendors and partners are going to have the ability to create solutions from different parts they don’t all own or create, you really need open standards to enable the flexibility needed.

As Andrew S. Tanenbaum already noted: there’s a lot to choose from on the standards front. The IEEE-SA alone lists a raft of standards to use as do organizations like ETSI and IETF.

Architecture for IoT

Connectivity is a pretty well-defined part of the IoT puzzle. One that’s still more in flux is the wider architecture to go from device to business user interface; it’s a necessary one though as ultimately the value from IoT investments is realized by being able to act on the data the connected devices produce. Contextualizing this data and gaining insight from it is where organizations achieve not just value but also the ability to innovate and differentiate.

Between the connected things and enterprise applications, three components make up the complete solution. IoT gateways provide not only end-point connectivity but also a degree of edge processing and analytics. Gateways handoff to integration hubs that offer two-way communication for device command and control as well as data integration to the third and final element: the data management and analytics platform. Centralizing IoT data processing, analytics and machine learning here enables deep business insights and actionable intelligence. Though the Cloudera Enterprise platform has been based on open source software since 2008 and as a direct result, has seen tremendous innovation; this has not been the case for IoT gateways and integration hubs.

Open source for IoT

Until that is, the Eclipse Foundation dedicated a working group and community to open source for IoT: Eclipse IoT provides the technology needed to build IoT devices, gateways, and cloud platforms. Led by steering committee members Bosch, Eurotech and Red Hat and with participating members that read like a “who’s who” in IoT (including Cloudera), it defines the complete stack, architecture and open source projects, addressing enterprise IoT needs from operational to information technology to data management and analytics.

The benefits of including open source in the end-to-end IoT architecture are clear:

  • Open and interoperable components enable future-proof solutions
  • Modular deployment eliminates vendor lock-in and leverages existing investments
  • New capabilities can be plugged into the existing architecture as they are developed or mature, providing tremendous extensibility
  • Risk and complexity is reduced through simplification of development, deployment, and integration, saving costs
  • End to end analytics and machine learning uncover value and insight for innovation and differentiation
  • Full data control lets organizations meet privacy and regulatory requirements
  • End to end security for both devices and data reduce business risks from fraud and cybercrime

As a whole, IoT will present a $200 billion aggregated market for data services and analytics with solutions and use cases that run from predictive maintenance for machines and vehicles to usage-based insurance to real-time health monitoring and advice, and anything and everything in between. An end to end open source architecture for IoT will contribute greatly to the speed with which these implementations will come to value and insight.

Where do you expect the biggest impact from open source in IoT?