The Internet of Things (IoT) is about as mature as a toddler. If you’ve ever spent even a few minutes with a toddler, you know that means thinking long and hard about what’s accessible and what’s not.
For human toddlers, the problem is usually too much access, but for the Internet of Things, it’s the opposite: IoT devices are becoming little silos of data, which makes it hard to share access.
IoT devices often send data in slightly different formats. APIs can solve the problem, but as ZDNet points out, your options are proprietary APIs from big vendors.
As with any data, establishing open data standards is the key to solving this problem. That’s why HyperCat is big news. HyperCat is an open standard developed by a UK-based consortium of 40 technology companies.
On a technical level, it’s a catalog of specifications that provides a common way to describe the information stored on data hubs. Another way to think of it is as a “thin interoperability layer” for the IoT, ComputerWorldUK suggests.
So, HyperCat basically tells developers what they need to include in the data to make it easy for apps to search and identify it.
Now, as Justin Anderson, CEO and co-founder at IoT vendor Flexeye, told TechRadar, that does NOT mean everything in the data has to be identified.
This news also puts the UK in a great position to lead on the IoT, which experts say will be an extremely lucrative field. The group received funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board—and kudos to the country for stepping up on that. I’m sure their businesses will reap benefits in terms of early entry into this emerging market.
That doesn’t mean you should think of this as a UK standard, however, especially since IBM, ARM and BT helped develop it. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about a competing standard emerging, simply because that’s almost always a given with open standards.