Q&A from Oracle IoT Forum
By tangelucci on May 23, 2014
Hi please find the Q&A from the April 24 Oracle IoT Forum here. Please stay tuned for more events over the coming weeks.
(The following is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.)
Oracle Keynote: Navigating the Internet of Things
Q: Can I come to Oracle and buy a pre-integrated Internet of Things solution or I need to cobble different Oracle pieces together?
A: Pre-integration and testing is core to the value of our IoT strategy. Oracle offers many parts of the IoT puzzle and can offer integrated solutions, please check with your sales teams for more details.
Q: Who are your key partners in this end-to-end solution? Or is Oracle supplying everything?
A: Oracle supports a broad ecosystem of partners that contribute value to IoT. Our partnerships span from system-on-a-chip vendors, device and component manufacturers, carriers, solution providers, SIs and vertical ISVs.
Q: How is transmission media handled in the IOT solution provided by Oracle? Do you have partnerships with telecom service providers?
A: Oracle supports open standards for communications media and is therefore agnostic to the underlying network. Oracle is working with all leading telecom service providers.
Q: Some edge devices aren't capable of running a VM today, how do you bridge that gap?
A: Our IoT strategy embraces both Java-based and native devices. That being said, with the recent release of Java8 (ME and SE) we have extended the availability of Java down to very small devices. While we are evaluating opportunities to go smaller, we believe that devices will increase sufficiently in capability that coverage will increase organically as well.
Q: I would like to know how and where you use the OSGi standards to bridge the gap between the devices and provide 24/7 access. Thanks.
A: We see OSGI as a key enabling technology to enable that bridge and we have strong partnerships with companies that provide device management based on OSGi, like ProSyst and Hitachi.
Oracle and Freescale: Maximizing Business Value – Leveraging Java on Connected Devices
Q: What are the some of the new service opportunities and why?
A: The Internet of Things enables new opportunities throughout the supply chain. ISVs have a richer application platform to build and deploy to; service providers can enable services where security and reliability are core requirements; and enterprises can more easily integrate the new world of devices with their existing infrastructure and applications.
Q: How will all this change business models for everyone in the value chain?
A: IoT will surely open new doors for all the value chain players. The solution providers and service providers will be in a strong position to think outside the box and offer new value-added services based on IoT to meet market needs. That will help increase opportunities for all the players. For the CPU designer and system-on-chip players, it means a broader use of IoT chip sets across a wider range of devices and vertical markets. Java has already helped make that a reality based on code reuse. For ISVs, trends indicate an increased focus on the value of software over hardware, we suspect this will drive new revenue opportunities. For the device makers who are heavily focused on BOM (bill of material) costs they will likely see greater margins over time on the new multi-function, smart devices demanded by an ever expanding IoT market.
Q: Regarding smarter devices - What do you think will be the impact of these intelligence changes for device manufacturers? What should they be considering when designing their new connected products?
A: One example of the change will be to enable in-market remote updates for devices, thereby delivering opportunities to lengthen their life in the market. Additionally, common software elements can be reused across markets and devices, creating opportunities for the device manufacturer to invest more time into differentiation and new value up-stack.
Simon mentioned standards and interoperability. Could you talk about that? Do we need new standards? Which ones? Or can we use existing ones?
It's a combination; we can reuse many existing standards, horizontal and vertical, and in parallel the new opportunities and challenges are opening up the need for new standards, many of which are already at advanced stages of development and delivery. The good news here is that for IoT to grow and prosper it does need to be driven by standards, therefore ensuring a level playing field for all.
Q: In the space of data sharing between devices what are contribution to open source platform and standards?
A: According to Freescale, t is important that the efforts leverage the community for open source and be based on existing industry standards. This is certainly key to allowing for system expansion and interoperability among devices. Examples of this in the gateway are usage of open source Linux as a base BSP, M2M and M2C wireless/wired standards such as Zigbee, SubGhz, BLE and low power 802.11. Data handling between the device and cloud is handled via upcoming IETF standards around the Sensinode nano-server IP, to name a few.
Q: What standards are Oracle and Freescale directly involved in at the moment?
A: We are working on a number of vertical (such as healthcare) and horizontal standards with others in the industry. See the question above for more details around standards.
Q: How is end device security achieved? Through crypto-mechanism?
A: We have multiple touch points across the supply chain. We view IoT security as falling into three areas (and the interplay between them across trust boundaries): Devices, Network and Services. Within the Device Domain we need to protect against challenges such as installation of malware, theft of sensitive data and services, or misrepresentation. There are multiple ways to handle device security. A popular approach that we have seen is to utilize a PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) mechanism leveraging x.509 certificates on the device in order to authenticate the device into a system. Once data leaves the device, it can be handled either via protocols based on M2M wireless (i.e. SubGhz or Zigbee) or encapsulated over standard wireless such as BLE or WiFi.
Q: Does Oracle or Freescale have an out-of-the-box gateway that can purchased and easily deployed?
A: Oracle is collaborating with Freescale on its IoT gateway solution based on i.MX, Oracle Java, ARM Sensinode Nanoserver and Oracle Cloud Services. Freescale anticipates it being available later this year as a preliminary reference design. This was shown publicly as a demo at the recent Freescale Technology Forum in Dallas (www.freescale.com).
Putting Together the Puzzle: Role of Oracle Fusion Middleware
Q: Can IoT be considered as sub-set of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud)? Or they just two different words for same concept?
A: SMAC are IoT enablers. Mobility has helped drive proliferation of connected devices and defined the art of the possible. Keep in mind that the Internet of Things is not just about mobile devices. We are talking about a spectrum of devices beyond mobile which are now sending/receiving data.
Q: How does the top half of your platform compare to using spark, spark streaming on top of a Hadoop cluster managed using Spring XD?
A: Event processing is just one aspect of our IoT platform. Event processing, integration, analytics, identity management, security and UI are the core set of services on top of which IoT solutions are built. Irrespective of big data infrastructure, an event-driven strategy should be in place. It should be able to scale, perform in-memory data processing and integrate with existing SOA/integration infrastructure. Not sure if this answers our question.
Q: How is M2M different from IoT?
A: These two terms have been used interchangeably. From our point of view, M2M deals with the plumbing of devices with apps. IoT sits on top of the M2M plumbing layer where it leverages infrastructure services (analytics, process orchestration, security) to provide business value.
Q: We have been talking to devices for a long time across various protocols. What is new in IoT? Is it just the mobility part (i.e. apps) or is it the contribution to big data?
A: Good question. I think there are some key innovations which make IoT relevant this time around:
a) Devices have become more powerful (and cheaper). It has become cost effective to embed hardware into smaller edge components
b) The cost of data transmission has reduced dramatically. So, sending data from devices to data center is not an impediment anymore.
Q: Is Oracle Event Processing Embedded on ME 8 or Embedded 8?
A: Oracle Event Processing for Oracle Java Embedded is available for Java SE Embedded 8.
Q: There seem to be a lot of Oracle Fusion Middleware products. How do we join them together for IoT solutions?
A: Please have a look at our paper for an understanding of how Oracle Fusion Middleware fits into the overall architecture.
Q: What upgrade in skills and competency are we expecting people to have in their teams?
A: It really depends. Different layers in the value chain would require a distinct set of skill requirements. While an embedded developer would focus on building apps for edge devices/gateways and their interactions with the data center, an enterprise developer would need to start architecting solutions with newer sources of data.
Q: The regulation and auditing demanded by business or governments will need to be designed into the solution or software. Are we aiming to provide an out-of-the-box module to simplify and provide a generic solution?
A: Good question. Governance and compliance are key areas of focus. Our IoT platform is designed to interoperate with Oracle identity and governance solutions. Going forward, we are also working on centralizing the management of identities of different IoT resources through our identity management platform.
Q: Oracle API Gateway deals with incoming data streams – what is used to manage northbound API streams and protecting those calls ?
A: Oracle API Gateway secures and manages both inbound and outbound data streams.
Q: How do business models change with IoT? I’ve heard that a lot of companies charge for assets under management per month.
A: The business models are still evolving as a function of the customer's needs. We offer hosted and on-premise solutions depending on the requirements. We also partner with ISVs, OEMs and SIs. We don’t offer gateway devices, though. We focus on the underlying infrastructure platform.
Oracle and Cisco: Securing the Identity of Everything
Q: You mentioned using Oracle Access Management - how many applications and what type of scale are you reaching with OAM?
A: We have nearly 2,500 web apps enabled with OAM. In terms of scalability, we are handling about 75 million transactions per day.
Q: With regard to managing access across multiple device types, what types of devices are you planning for?
A: From an IT perspective, yes, we manage physical assets like servers, routers, gateways, laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc. There is an identity component attached to all of them and we have our focus on these devices right now.
Q: Your data model is very interesting – noticed you generalized assets. Are you managing any physical assets with this model?
A: Yes, we are managing the physical assets like mobile devices, personal devices, servers and so on.
Q: Can you discuss how many people resources it takes to manage your operational deployment on a day-to-day basis and what ratios of people to technology you use to factor your deployment?
A: We have a team of 15 or so FTEs and mix of contractors. Our team is managing multiple technologies with expertise in one or more areas.
Q: I notice you are modeling service providers as resources. Can you provide an example of a policy that would control access to or from a service provider?
A: A service provider is providing a resource with a specific capability. But this service provider is in the cloud. So, a policy could be that the user should be accessing this SaaS provider using a trusted device from the corporate network or you could access it from a public network, but the data view would be limited.
Q: Do federated solutions like OpenID play a role in this data model/identity typology?
A: Absolutely. Federation is going to be the center of this. New standards like SCIM, OAuth, OpenID Connect are going to play a critical role. Some of these standards are still in their early stages and as industry evolves, hopefully, they will become more stronger and prominent.
Big Data Analytics in the Internet of Things
Q: How much IoT data will be at IoT gateways for real-time processing vs. how much IoT data will need to be actually stored on the cloud and/or the data center?
A: We see the market embracing gateways as the means to enable IoT decision-making closer to the edge device for better time to value. The gateway has become an intelligent extension of the data center and is growing in importance. We have close partnership with companies like Freescale to make that happen and we feel Java is the proven platform for a wide array of IoT devices and gateways. Now in terms of where Data resides, that has a lot of dependencies.
Q: What sort of dependencies?
A: Realistically, data at the gateway will be stored for a limited period of time. Gateways generally are not going to have large storage capacity. At the data center there are several options depending on the type of data and use for it. For example, as events stream in you will often have event processing software like Oracle Event Processing similar to the gateway. In the data center you would want to cache recent events in a low latency store like Oracle NoSQL Database or Oracle Coherence. For longer-term storage of most events you would likely use a data reservoir based on Hadoop. Just store it there and figure out later what kind of analysis might make sense to pull out trends or other information.
If we take smart meters as a typical example, then you would use Hadoop rather than the data warehouse to store all the readings from the meters, which might come every 15 minutes or less. But you would definitely use the data warehouse to store the final monthly reading which was used to calculate the bill for the customer. So: at least three different places where you might store data in the data center. There could be others depending upon your use case, existing skills and infrastructure.
Q: The examples you've quoted involve an incredible granularity of data and relationships. How does the analysis even get done by a team that isn't skilled to handle the data?
A: There is no getting around the need for skills. If the organization does not have the needed analytic skills then they will need to invest in training, hiring new people, or finding a suitable partner who has the skills. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition, look for big data solutions that enable you to reuse existing skills as much as possible. For example, can you use SQL to query and analyze that new data? Or do you have in-house skills in something like the R language which is widely used and available on platforms like Hadoop as well as Oracle Database?
Oracle and Hitachi: Implementing the Internet of Things to Become an Enterprise of Things
Q: As a traditional manufacturer, does IoT play in my industry?
A: Manufacturers will see major benefits in areas like prognostics/diagnostics, supply chain automation, distribution management, asset management, and even innovation. I think this is an especially interesting arena.
Q: In your experience, are IoT initiatives typically sponsored/managed by the IT organization and run through the CIO’s office?
A: It's a mix. What makes IoT unique (and interesting) is that the concepts cannot be implemented by IT on its own... or business on its own. It's a partnership, more often than not, initiated by the lines of business.
Q: Our organization does not really have a clear IoT strategy in place. How would you recommend that we get started with establishing an IoT strategy and then delivering on it?
A: Let's talk about one of our Enterprise of Things workshops. We can help work through ideas, roadmaps, etc. Happy to help.
Q: Where will the budget for IoT technology come from – IT or line of business?
A: Yes. ;) LOB will likely initiate, but IT will own/manage.
Q: From a consumer point of view, IoT will introduce more products that vendors will want people to buy, while wages are stagnant. How will that play out?
A: Two thoughts: 1) Don't think of IoT as just applying to the consumer sector (e.g, Nest, Fitbit, etc.) but think of the applications in the enterprise setting; 2) In either setting, IoT can introduce efficiencies and savings that deliver ROI, eliminating the investment concern (assuming the hurdle isn't too large).
Q: Can you talk about how IoT and big data intersect and relate to one another?
A: In the next few years, it is estimated that more than 40% of ALL data will have been generated by "things", so big data and IoT are inextricably linked. Success in one doesn't exist without success in the other.
Q: How do commercial off-the-shelf business applications fit into the overall picture?
A: They matter. Big time. Take for example Oracle Enterprise Asset Management [part of Oracle E-Business Suite]: having automated linkages into the self-reporting assets is a big play. Similar value can be added by feeding data from shipping containers directly into logistics applications like Oracle Transportation Management, by connecting mobile device sensors to customer experience solutions, and more.
Oracle and Verizon Telematics: Fast-paced Innovation, Disruptive Business Models, Monetization Opportunities
Q: What do you think will be the evolution of telematics services?
A: Verizon Telematics started several years back as Hughes Telematics, providing classical telematic services such as automatic crash notification, emergency call, roadside assistance. Innovation was in the DNA of our company and we were the first one in the world to introduce a mobile app to control your car, and among the first to launch services such as geo-fencing and usage-based insurance. Although innovative, all these services are still based on traditional M2M with data collected from the device and transmitted to a central processing center, and on older network technologies such as 2G and 3G. Today with a 4G pipe into your car we can offer next-generation telematics service with a lower latency and more bandwidth for applications like infotainment, gaming, and social media so that users can take their digital lifestyle to the road. We will see the car be much more connected to our homes as well as our entire digital lifestyle.
Q: Are there other service providers besides Verizon Telematics that adopted the Oracle Connected World solution?
At the core of the Oracle Connected World solution are pre-integrated, productized, and standard-certified concept-to-cash solutions by Oracle Communications. These solutions have been implemented by almost 100 clients around the world from large global Telco operators to smaller specialized providers, from mobile operators to cable and satellite operators, from providers of cloud services to M2M service providers.
Q: Does Verizon Telematics deliver its services only on the Verizon network?
A: While we can certainly benefit from having in house the most comprehensive and reliable network in the US, our telematics and M2M services are network-agnostic and we deliver them in many countries not covered by the Verizon network, such as China or many European countries. Verizon Telematics’ vision is to connect to all things and all parties. Connecting to all things means to any device and any network, delivering any service and any content. Connecting to all parties means to connect to any OEM, any partner, any developer, and any end-user.
Q: Do you need all the applications listed in the Oracle solution to benefit from it?
Not at all. Oracle solutions are designed and built with modularity, extensibility, and openness in mind.
Take the example of Verizon Telematics. Initially they used Oracle Call Center Anywhere, Oracle Siebel as CRM and Oracle E-Business Suite as ERP; that is all they needed to handle their B2B model. When they expanded their operations to include the B2B2C model they needed to bill hundreds of thousands of subscribers and so needed a billing system that could scale their business to handle the new volumes and that could easily integrate with their existing applications, without disrupting their on-going operations. So they selected Oracle BRM and the productized integrations based on Oracle AIA and Oracle Fusion Middleware. Later on, Verizon Telematics added Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and leveraged it to sell analytics to its business clients. Finally Verizon Telematics added Oracle Communications OSM as central order management to improve order visibility and order fallout management.
The modularity of the Oracle solution architecture enables a service provider to start with the components needed by the supported business models and add more components only when the business requires it.
Oracle and V2COM: Delivering Smart Grid Solutions via the Internet of Things
Q: Is the V2COM solution applicable only to South American market?
A: No! The whole solution is highly customizable so that we can rapidly meet the client's needs in any utility market, not only electricity and not only South America. The meter protocols are embedded as needed and the data required by the client is sent to MDM, which is customized to meet each market’s needs and regulations.
Q: How was the communication between meters, gateways and back end secured?
A: We used industry standards for all data leaving the meter to the gateway and to the back end. The data leaving the meter is encrypted and hashed to prevent tampering using AES/CGM protocols. The network (ZigBee) has encryption by default, so that is covered. At the gateway, the data is transferred to the backend using a private APN (Access Point Name), so that only carrier-approved devices can join it. And this APN connects to the backend using IPSec VPN, so the whole link is secured. To prevent local tampering in the gateway, the data is further encrypted and stored securely with the gateway private key; even with local access, you can't get to the data. This security is already enabled in Java so you can use the same PKI (public key infrastructure) that you would use on the server-side.
Q: Is there a particular reason why Zigbee was chosen for the communication between meters and gateways?
A: ZigBee is a well established standard that has all desired features for IoT:
· It is security-enabled from the start, so we don't have to worry (much) about it.
· It forms a mesh network that allows multiple hops and self-healing when nodes are damaged or out for any reason. Also, it spans for a wide area and a good amount of nodes for our use case (200 ).
· It uses open frequencies like 2.4GHz, so we don't require any special license
· As it is a standard, we can choose from many vendors, preventing vendor lock-in.
Q: You mentioned Oracle positioning Java ME Embedded and Java Card for IoT devices and sensors. Does that mean that Oracle IoT platform only supports Java-enabled devices?
A: No. We certainly see different types of edge devices emerging in the IoT space. Some of it is going to be fairly basic single-purpose sensors and actuators with a minimal firmware stack.
Q: Does Oracle MDM support distributive generation business processes for consumers who utilize renewables, such as solar panels, to generate their own electricity?
A: Yes, the solution supports distributive generation business processes. It captures and validates the data at each service point and enables meter-to-bill business processes such as net metering, as well as providing the ability to conduct analysis on data.
Q: What are some examples of how the solution has generated business benefits?
The solution provides many benefits and costs savings. Some examples are: reducing truck rolls through automated meter reads as wells as other commands such as connects and disconnects, identification and prevention of theft to reduce loss revenue; proactive monitoring of devices to prevent issues and enable more reliability; improved customer satisfaction by providing customers information to make more informed decisions, as well as the ability to provide customers more dynamic rates and programs.