At the Java DEMOgrounds - Oracle Java ME Embedded Enables the “Internet of Things”

I caught up with Oracle’s Robert Barnes, Senior Director, Java Product Management, who was demonstrating a new product from Oracle’s Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) product portfolio, Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2, a complete client Java runtime optimized for microcontrollers and other resource-constrained devices. Oracle’s Java ME Embedded 3.2 is a Java ME runtime based on CLDC 1.1 (JSR-139) and IMP-NG (JSR-228).

“What we are showing here is the Java ME Embedded 3.2 that we announced last week,” explained Barnes. “It’s the start of the 'Internet of Things,’ in which you have very very small devices that are on the edge of the network where the sensors sit. You often have a middle area called a gateway or a concentrator which is fairly middle to higher performance. On the back end you have a very high performance server. What this is showing is Java spanning all the way from the server side right down towards the type of chip that you will get at the sensor side as the network.”

Barnes explained that he had two different demos running.

The first, called the Solar Panel System Demo, measures the brightness of the light.  “This,” said Barnes, “is a light source demo with a Cortex M3 controlling the motor, on the end of which is a sensor which is measuring the brightness of the lamp. This is recording the data of the brightness of the lamp and as we move the lamp out of the way, we should be able using the server to turn the sensor towards the lamp so the brightness reading will go higher. This sends the message back to the server and we can look at the web server sitting on the PC underneath the desk. We can actually see the data being passed back effectively through a back office type of function within a utility environment.”

The second demo, the Smart Grid Response Demo, Barnes explained, “has the same board and processor and is still using Java ME embedded with a different app on top. This is a demand response demo. What we are seeing within the managing environment is that people want to track the pricing signals of the electricity. If it’s particularly expensive at any point in time, they may turn something off. This demo sets the price of the electricity as though this is coming from the back of the server sending pricing signals to my home.”

The demo had a lamp and a fan and it was tracking the price of electricity. “If I set the price of the electricity to go over 5 cents, then the device will turn off,” explained Barnes. “I can go into my settings and, in this case, change the price to 50 cents and we can wait a minus and the lamp will go off. When I change the pricing signal so that it is lower, the lamp will come back on. The key point is that the Java software we have running is the same across all the different devices; it’s a way to build applications across multiple devices using the same software. This is important because it fixes peak loading on the network and can stops blackouts.”

This demo brought me back to a prior decade when Sun Microsystems first promoted  Jini technology, a version of Java that would put everything on the network and give us the smart home. Your home would be automated to tell you when you were out of milk, when to change your light bulbs, etc. You would have access to the web and the network throughout your home.

It’s interesting to see how technology moves over time – from the smart home to the Internet of Things.

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