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Internet of Things roundtable: Experts discuss what to look for in IoT platforms

Bruce Sinclair, President, Iot-Inc. | Sept. 24, 2014
IoT Platform products are still in their infancy, but there are already more than 20 on the market today. Seven experts discuss the critical areas to consider: security, sensor compatibility, analytics compatibility, APIs and standards.

* APIs

De La Mora: RESTful API's are becoming standard.  The abstraction capabilities they provide, along with the architectural model based on the Web, are key.  SDK's that provide API's that are not compatible with the W3C TAG group are a nonstarter for applications that should be in the end, connected to the Internet.

Jennis: First and foremost, APIs should be clean, type-safe and idiomatic.  In addition, APIs should favor non-blocking/asynchronous interaction models to make it easier to build responsive systems.  Where possible APIs should be standardized to ease component integration and prevent lock-in.

Murphy: APIs should use Web standards and blueprints (e.g. REST and no WSDL/SOAP), and state-of-art Web security systems.  They should also offer ways of extracting the data, not just feeding it in.

Tait: Keep it simple, truly good APIs are clear, concise and have a purpose.  They should also do the common things easily.

Schubert: Service-oriented architectures (SOA) and related application development paradigms rely on APIs for integration of services, processes and systems.  APIs must be open, accessible and upgrade-compatible.

* Standards

De La Mora: We are calling this the Internet of Things because it will be part of the next generation of the Internet, so the only key standard protocol, that I see in the future, is IPv6.

Kester: Any Platform that is in communication with devices should support the major communication protocols in use today, which are UDP, MQTT, XMPP, CoAP, Modbus/TCP and HTTP.

Murphy: RESTful application programming interfaces, JSON and similar Web-centric formats for data exchange should be used.  The Platform that an enterprise uses to manage its physical products and assets as digital assets, needs to be able to integrate smoothly with both the enterprise's other systems and third party applications.  Integration means both the technical protocols of system-to-system interaction (e.g. REST, OAuth) but also critically, the semantics of the information itself.

Vaswani: The use of universal standards such as IP ensures that products can be easily mixed and matched from different vendors to ensure full interoperability and to deliver on other applications supported by an even broader ecosystem of hardware and software players.

 

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