A Layered Model for the Internet of Things

Nov 20 2017


Introduction to CHOReVOLUTION, an IoT-Oriented Open Source IDRE - Part 2/3

Links to part 1/3, part 3/3.

The creative integration of smart connected things with existing information systems will be a driving force behind the much talked about digital transformation of the business world. CHOReVOLUTION is a solution for developing innovative IoT-enabled applications capable of managing complex interactions between users, services and things, in contexts such as intelligent transportation systems and smart city applications. Now available as an integrated development and runtime environment (IDRE), CHOReVOLUTION leverages a software engineering innovation known as choreography of services that heralds a new generation of applications integrating services and things in a manner that is dynamic, secure and distributed.

The first part of this article introduces the CHOReVOLUTION solution for developing distributed IoT-enabled applications, the second analyses how the Internet of Thing is moving toward a layered model and where CHOReVOLUTION fits in the model while the third assesses the market and business models for application enablement platforms such as the CHOReVOLUTION IDRE.

Part II - A Layered Model for the Internet of Things

IoT's heterogeneous and siloed nature is a barrier to its widespread adoption. IoT-enabled business applications have to integrate connected things with enterprise information systems, and this is driving the market toward a layered technology model. Part II examines the IoT landscape, the layered technology model and the application enablement layer where the CHOReVOLUTION IDRE is positioned.

IoT is a Fragmented World

IoT solutions result from combining a vast range of technologies – connected devices, sensors, actuators, all sorts of embedded systems, low voltage networks and wireless communication infrastructure, data collection, analysis and visualisation, authentication, security and privacy solutions. IoT applications also involve multiple stakeholders, such as device providers, systems integrators, application developers, online service providers, telecommunication operators, business process experts and service providers. Although the IoT market is booming, and IoT applications are being developed across all sectors, there is as yet no sign of a dominant vendor, language or approach to developing IoT services and applications. The heterogeneity of the IoT landscape fosters technology niches where software is still dependent on usage-specific hardware and standards, with the drawback that economies of scale across use-cases are limited. IoT is fragmented and this (among a host of other issues, including security and lack of skills) can be a serious barrier to mainstream adoption.

Integrating Things with Business Applications

The vertiginous and continuing expansion of the Internet is fuelled by its ability to support and transform businesses. Of course the same applies to the Internet of Things, as clearly the IoT is not outside the Internet. There is no doubt its growth will be driven by its ability to leverage connected things into innovative and competitive business services. For the time being, IoT is still a relatively new market and innovation is focused on smart devices, their interconnection and management, and data gathering and visualisation. But IoT will have to offer more than just data analysis and the connection and management of smart things. 

"Disruptive applications will integrate things with existing information systems."

IoT will create real business value when it extends to integrating the entire chain of technologies and services – from connected devices through to business applications. This is what digital transformation is about. Innovative information systems that connect things to business-value creation, devices to processes and things to users and usage will all be based on a new technology stack.

Piling Up Software Technologies

While IoT is by nature associated with hardware (the “things”), it is also part of the digital world where everything tends to be software-defined. IoT services are, of course, software-defined. Recent software technologies, machine learning and data mining, for example, are increasingly part of the IoT technical landscape. These technologies help make sense of the profusion of data automatically generated by connected devices and produce valuable results to ramp IoT up to the next level. Interestingly, the IoT innovation wave is once again propelling centre stage well established technologies and methods such as SOA and BPM. Disruptive applications integrating devices and business processes will thrive on SOA and BPM. Whereas BPM software provides the capability to connect people and applications across heterogeneous and siloed IoT technologies, SOA and related styles of application architectures are an effective approach to developing composite applications.

The Layered IoT Technology Stack


So, what does the IoT information systems stack look like? From the more tangible to the more intangible, it rests on the connected things themselves as they represent the first layer of the stack.

Obviously, there is no IoT without these smart things, they are manufactured by all sorts of companies—from start-ups through to giant electro-technology manufacturers. Next, the second layer: these devices must be connected, monitored, managed and secured. This is the focus, with competitors ranging from device manufacturers to major telecommunications companies. Incidentally, blockchain technologies may have their role in this layer. As noted above, connected devices automatically generate a massive amount of data, and mining and analysing this data and producing meaningful results and fancy dashboards are the domain of the third layer; here is a market for AI and Business Intelligence and Big Data technology vendors. And now for the fourth layer: in order to deliver actual business value to enterprises, cities, and government administrations, all these resources must be integrated into existing information systems and leveraged with IoT-enabled applications. This is the application enablement layer, and where the CHOReVOLUTION IDRE belongs.

The layered IoT model takes into account the complexity of the IoT landscape. It bets on a transition, from a fragmented market characterised by independent silos of usage-specific technologies to a platform model encompassing a number of functional layers. The CHOReVOLUTION IDRE is an application enablement platform designed to enable organisations and cities to derive the full potential of IoT-enabled applications. The third part of this paper will cover the business opportunity foreseen for the CHOReVOLUTIONapplication enablement platform.

    - https://directory.apphub.eu.com/organization/chorevolution
    - https://l.ow2.org/cpvm

Technical White Paper


Case Study


CHOReVOLUTION is a research project funded by the European Commission.

See the original article on Linkedin: