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Architectures for the Internet of Things

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We are witnessing a tremendous hype on the Internet of Things paradigm, with not only research projects, but also commercial products claiming to implement its fundamental mechanisms. Smart-connected-objects designers often have to face decisions on the global architecture of the service, since no single solution is valid for all the cases. In this paper, we explore the different criteria for designing architectures for Internet of Things solutions, along with illustrative examples of prototypes that implement these approaches.
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  • 1. Workshop on the Web of Things @ PerCom 2010 29th March 2010
  • 2. Are you an Internet of Things architect?
  • 3. Our experience <ul><li>Different IoT projects require different architectural solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a common decission strategy dependig on the IoT project features? </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s analyze the pro/cons of different architectures… </li></ul><ul><li>… based on key factors </li></ul>
  • 4. Key factors <ul><li>Computing requirements (intelligence) </li></ul><ul><li>Networking requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Energy (*) </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction mechanisms (*) </li></ul><ul><li>Configuration mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Business models </li></ul><ul><li>(*) Not influencing the communication architecture </li></ul>
  • 5. Direct communication architecture
  • 6. Examples <ul><li>Market examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chumby </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Botanicalls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aware-umbrella </li></ul></ul>
  • 7. Analysis <ul><li>Native Internet things </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure-free </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence at the object side </li></ul><ul><li>Restricted business models </li></ul>
  • 8. Computer mediated communication
  • 9. Examples <ul><li>Market examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Touch a tag / Mir:ror </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>myDesktFriend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real Widget </li></ul></ul>
  • 10. Analysis <ul><li>Lower computational requirements at the object </li></ul><ul><li>Lower networking requirements at the object </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptable business models provided through the computer </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of autonomy: depends on the computer </li></ul>
  • 11. Server-supported communication
  • 12. Examples <ul><li>Market examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nabaztag </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Withings / BodyTrace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iCompass </li></ul></ul>
  • 13. Analysis <ul><li>Balanced intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Additional services (e.g. billing, authorization) can be added in the support server </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptable business models provided through the server </li></ul><ul><li>Overload/bottleneck at the support-server </li></ul>
  • 14. Comparison of architectural cost (lower the better) Factors (to be weighted) Architecture Direct communication Computer-mediated Server-mediated Computing requirements High (3) Smart logic at the object-side Low (1) Distributed logic between the object and the computer Low (1) Distributed logic between the object and the support-server Networking requirements High (3) Direct Internet connection required, possible problems with proxies and validations Low (1) Indirect Internet connection enables several possibilities High (3) Direct Internet connection required, possible problems with proxies and validations Infrastructure requirements Low (1) Only access point or similar required High (3) Computer continuously required Low (1) Only access point or similar required Configuration Strict (3) Embedded server with limited configuration options Very flexible (1) Powerful configuration options through computer-based software, even firmware upgrades, diagnostics, … Flexible (2) Web-based configuration Adaptable business models Strict (3) Software in the object cannot be easily and safely upgraded without a computer Flexible (1) Computer software can be easily upgraded to adopt new models Flexible (1) Server-side software can be easily upgraded to adopt new models
  • 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Consider the key factors </li></ul><ul><li>Rank and weight them depending on your interests </li></ul><ul><li>Select the appropriate architecture </li></ul><ul><li>IoT business models need to be explored more in detail </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid architectures already exist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. devices being autonomous, but computer- or server-mediated for some activities </li></ul></ul>
  • 16. <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? & Discussion! </li></ul>Dr. Iñaki Vázquez [email_address] http://awareit.com University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) http://www.morelab.deusto.es
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