Tuesday Aug 18, 2015

Internet of Things Scavenger Hunt

I was recently talking with brilliant folks over in the AppsLab and learned about the scavenger hunt they ran in coordination with the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) at Kscope15, held recently in Florida.

The scavenger hunt, being IoT focused and incorporating mobile and wearable technologies, peaked my interest as it drew parallels from where this is happening right on the ground (literally at Kscope15) to where it is, and will be happening soon, with Oracle Cloud product and services.

The work flow of the hunt was straight forward:

  1. Register on site at the event or online (perhaps from your personal IoT enabled device/mobile phone)
  2. Get your smart badge, complete with a NFC (Near Field Communication) sticker attached
  3. Install the Kscope15 Scavenger Hunt app, including smartwatch apps, from the appropriate app store
  4. Find a task in the list in the mobile app you just installed
  5. Complete a task, many by having your NFC sticker (once provisioned) scanned by NFC readers hosted on Raspberry Pis using Java 8.
  6. Tweet with the appropriate hashtags from the account you used to register for bonus points
But behind the work flow of the hunt was a great deal of work leveraging a wide set of technologies: APEX, Java, React, Node.js, REST, PL/SQL, Android, Raspberry Pi, NFC, REST and Twilio servers and more (for full details on how the scavenger hunt was implemented, read Noel Portugal's write up here).

Several elements of the scavenger hunt stuck with me, that I've bubbled up as follow:

The Approachable Nature of the Internet of Things

IoT Enabled Device Cost and Availability - Most readers of this blog are well aware of the ever widening array of IoT enabled devices available, so these next statements surely won't come as earthshaking news, they will provide a very current example. Anyway, to bring the point across: While I didn't ask the price, knowing typical shoestring show budgets and given the fact that every attendee had one placed on their badge, the cost of the NFC (Near Field Communication) stickers used in the scavenger hunt appeals to even my frugal nature. They can quickly be found and ordered online from any number of shopping sites and be delivered right to your door within two days or so. And that's just one of a growing myriad of affordable types of end devices and sensors that are readily available. Temperature, humidity, light, sound, and so on. Plus the ridiculously affordable Raspberry Pi can be used as a gateway device and/or to host various sensors and more (check out Mark Heckler's blog series involving these topics as he moves the management of his own renewable energy embedded systems into the Cloud).

Low Barriers to Entry into the IoT and Cloud

Virtually every step in the creation of the scavenger hunt that was done on premises, barring the physical requirements such as attaching the NFC smart sensor to the Raspberry Pi, is or soon will be something that can be accomplished in the Oracle Cloud. And, from above, Mark Heckler is creating another prime example of what just one man can do with Oracle Cloud and IoT technologies and IoT enabled devices that could eventually be leveraged into real world solutions providing value even at low scale.

The Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service is coming soon. Node.js Cloud Service is coming soon. Developer Cloud Service, Java Cloud Service, Oracle Database Cloud Service (complete with Oracle Application Express (APEX) as used in the scavenger hunt) and Integration Cloud Service are among the many that are generally available and thriving.

In a very short period of time the convergence of Oracle Cloud Products and Services along with the Internet of Things as a whole will be, to harken back to a previous tag line, 'complete'. Full ALM in the Cloud; deployment in the Cloud; integration to Cloud services and On Premises solutions; gateways and end devices easily and securely connected. Simple. Integrated. Intelligent. (That's our new tag line, btw).

The Internet of Things is here. And there. And soon to be anywhere an end device or sensor can be placed, verging on ubiquity over time. It's likely most of us are already garnering something of use from the Internet of Things, be that from a wearable or IoT enabled security system and/or climate control system.  And while many of the creative-yet-'fluff'-appeal inventions in the IoT will quickly disappear as being as useful as the Pet Rock™, we will soon be finding ourselves benefiting in ways that will be superlative in nature as we are entertained, as we have more data to make wiser business decisions, and as we ultimately find our lives improved, extended or perhaps even saved.

Shameless Plug: Register for the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service webcast on October 14th to learn from Bhagat Nainani and Peter Utzschneider, with key partners Accenture Digital, GEMÜ and V2COM, how the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service can simplify how your business can drive shorter time to business value from IoT.

About the Author

Eric Renaud is a Senior Outbound Product Manager at Oracle working on Cloud Developer Outreach for Oracle Cloud Product and Services, including the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service. Just previously at Oracle he worked in the Java Product Group as Senior Outbound Product Manager focused on Embedded and M2M. Prior to Oracle, Eric worked at CollabNet as a Community Manager and Open Source Software Methodology Consultant for large enterprises leveraging Agile ALM SaaS and IaaS solutions in the Cloud.
Eric can be reached via LinkedIn. Follow Eric on Twitter @ejrenaud

Engage with us on Twitter @oracleiot and follow us here in the Oracle Internet of Things blog.

Tuesday Sep 10, 2013

Internet of Things: Thinking services

Internet of Things brings tremendous promise to integrate every smart “thing” in this world. Having been an integration practitioner for more than decade, I find it hard to resist drawing a parallel between these 2 worlds: the world of integration & the world of Internet of Things.

- IoT market is Wild Wild West - fragmented, full of competing standards & proprietary solutions - exactly where integration was in 90s before SOA, webServices & XML redefined the landscape. ETSI is doing significant work to unify different standardization efforts and Oracle is actively contributing to this effort. But, there is lot of ground to be covered.

- Smart things i.e. sensing devices, medium powered gateways represent the IoT endpoints. This is akin to B2B integration scenario where cloud apps, B2B apps etc are communicating with the integration platform. Of course, we are now talking about hundreds to even millions of devices sending data to an enterprise versus a handful of apps in a traditional integration project

- There are wide range of devices supporting different interfaces, communication protocols and lack interoperability. It’s virtually impossible for any vendor to provide connectivity solution to entire breed of current and emerging devices. Before enterprise applications started becoming service enabled, we all grappled with the challenge of dealing with myriad of applications exposing their functionality through proprietary interfaces.

List could go on and on. But, it makes one think whether a service oriented approach could be considered when building an IoT application. Before we apply service oriented principles to IoT architecture, we should acknowledge the fact that IoT does bring its unique set of challenges

-   Security: How do I ensure that data in motion (traveling between devices, gateways, network to enterprise apps/cloud) or data at rest is secured?

  - Identity – Device is the new data source. But, there is no human associated with a M2M device unlike an enterprise app or a mobile. This makes it challenging for enterprises to manage the device lifecycle - onboard/off board new devices and manage their identity

  - Device Management: How do I remotely manage and monitor a device throughout its lifecycle (diagnostics, troubleshooting, configuration)?

  - Analytics: IoT will lead to data deluge. Enterprises would need to think beyond traditional business intelligence tools. How do I analyze IoT data at real-time (i.e. is there a medical emergency based on data received from blood pressure monitor?) to how data is analyzed for historical & predictive analytics (How do I improve patient care based on medical trends from patients over past 6 months)?

      In a typical SOA Composite application, we have collection of business processes, business services, data services with each layer building on top of the other to enable loosely coupled integration. Data services expose application interfaces as services which could in turn be orchestrated together to create a business service. E.g. “Create Employee Record” Data Service is responsible for creating a new record in Fusion HCM application, while “Onboard Employee” business service would orchestrate several steps (read data services) needed to on-board a new employee (create employee record, provision new email account etc).

">Figure 1: Layered SOA Architecture

IoT architecture could essentially be modeled in a similar layered format. Device layer, at the bottom, is the main source of data. It includes sensing/edge devices which sense the surrounding environment and transmit data in regular intervals. These sensors, in turn, may interact with an intelligent gateway. Gateway provides data aggregator and in few cases device level data processing capabilities. Data is funneled through a communication service provider network. CSP could either play the role of the network provider or it could move up the value chain to offer IoT infrastructure services. This layer would enable seamless connectivity with different M2M devices (akin to data services in SOA) and offer the ability to remotely monitor and manage them for device connectivity.

IOT services layer is completed agnostic of underlying devices, communication protocols and connectivity semantics. This layer would include core set of services to build IoT applications (i.e. composite applications)
- Analyze data at real-time (event processing)
- Act on M2M data & events (integration service)
- Enable historical, real-time and predictive analytics (Analytics Services)
- Visualize operational and analytical data through mobile/desktop (UI Services)

- Manage data security & identity of devices/apps (Security & Identity Management Service)


- Figure 2: Layered IoT Architecture


Oracle IoT platform enables this service oriented approach to building IoT applications. Listen to this webcast replay how Oracle customers have leveraged Oracle IoT stack to build applications for smart city, home automation, industrial automation and e-health.


Internet Of Things (IoT)


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