Enabling Synergy in IoT: Platform to Service and Beyond

Keywords: Internet of Things, Wireless sensor networks, Sensor motes, IoT

Abstract — To enable a prosperous Internet of Things, devices and services must be extensible and adapt to changes in the environment or user interaction patterns. These requirements manifest as a set of design principles for each of the layers in an IoT ecosystem, from hardware to cloud services. This paper gives concrete guidelines learned from building a full-stack Synergistic IoT platform

INTRODUCTION The Internet of Things that we imagine involves far more than the mere ability of many miniature computational devices embedded in the fabric of everyday life to communicate. We expect that these devices will be specialized in ways reflecting the ‘thing’ they are a part of, that distinctive ensembles of connected things will provide rich functionality as natural-to-use applications and services, that space and proximity matter, as they dictate context and delineate boundaries of applicability, trust, and authority, and that all of this will leverage the deep storage and processing resources of the cloud, as well as its potentially global visibility. This is a fundamentally heterogeneous world, and yet we imagine seamless, nearly spontaneous interactions among diverse collections of things working together — in a word, synergy. And yet, the prelude to the IoT we see all around us today stands in stark contrast to this conception. While the smartphone is ubiquitous and wearable devices are everywhere, almost invariably for one to work with the other an application for the particular thing must be preloaded onto the phone and the two devices must be explicitly paired using a particular, common link and protocol. The situation is no better with Zigbee or z-wave ‘things’, essentially each requiring a product-specific gateway and unable to interact with the phones and wearables of the BLE universe — despite immense effort to develop detailed application profiles. WiFi scarcely improves the situation, despite inheriting the ability for a device from any vendor to communicate with any other; we still need, for example, a dedicated application for the phone to interact with the thermostat — or resort to interacting with its web-accessible avatar. Certainly the phone serves as an intermediary in many ways, possessing PAN, LAN, and WAN links, but strangely this largely means isolated vendor-specific stacks pass through it.

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