Linux Foundation Advances IoT Interoperability

Mike Vizard

Looking to foster greater interoperability between endpoints and gateways across Internet of Things (IoT) environments, The Linux Foundation today launched an open source EdgeX Foundry project based on software developed by Dell Technologies.

The announcement was made at the Hannover Messe 2017 conference, and Philip DesAutels, senior director of IoT for The Linux Foundation, says the goal is to reduce the anxiety organizations face when deciding what type of IoT hardware to implement.

“A lot of IoT projects are not moving forward because of a fear factor,” says DesAutels. “Organizations are afraid of making the wrong choice.”

Based on Fuse software developed by Dell that has been combined with an existing IoTX project, the EdgeX Foundry project as of this week is made up of over 125,000 lines of code and dozens of microservices.

Founding members of the EdgeX project include Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Alleantia, Analog Devices, Bayshore Networks, Beechwoods Software, Canonical, ClearBlade, CloudPlugs, Cloud of Things, Cumulocity, Davra Networks, Dell, Device Authority, Eigen Innovations, EpiSensor, FogHorn Systems, ForgeRock, Great Bay Software, IMS Evolve, IOTech, IoTium, KMC Controls, Kodaro, Linaro, MachineShop, Mobiliya, Mocana, Modius, NetFoundry, Neustar, Opto 22, relayr, RevTwo, RFMicron, Sight Machine, SoloInsight, Striim, Switch Automation, Two Bulls, V5 Systems, Vantiq, VMware and ZingBox. Industry affiliate members include Cloud Foundry Foundation, EnOcean Alliance, Mainflux, Object Management Group, Project Haystack and ULE Alliance.

DesAutels says that at this juncture, the biggest inhibitor to IoT projects is not necessarily the technology involved as much as the business models around these projects that need to be fleshed out. Because of that issue, DesAutels says, many more business executives are getting involved in IoT projects that in many cases were, up until now, viewed as proof-of-concept projects being tested by IT organizations.

In some cases, those projects are being driven by IT departments. In other cases, operations teams that have been managing machine-to-machine (M2M) projects are taking the lead. In either scenario, DesAutels says the primary difference between IoT and M2M comes down to the level of scale involved in IoT projects.

In many ways, IoT projects will rank among the most complicated any organization is likely to undertake. In effect, an IoT project is a massive distributed computing endeavor that requires application code to be run both in the data center and each individual gateway. It’s not economically feasible to transfer massive amounts of data generated by endpoints back to a central data center or cloud computing service for processing. In addition, in many instances, some action will be required to occur in real time on the endpoint based on the analytics generated at the gateway level that precludes any latency that would be created by backhauling all data to servers in a data center.

As IoT standards and open source software mature, the level of IoT interoperability should not only increase, but the total cost of deploying an IoT project should begin to substantially drop as well.


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