Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Alternative Approaches to the Object Network IoT

I recently mentioned a number of initiatives playing in the same space as my Object Network approach to unifying and animating the Internet of Things.

I've been reading up a bit on The Thing System, and have formed some early thoughts about the commonalities and differences between their approach and my own.

My general goals and philosophy are pretty much aligned with theirs. Adapting to many different Thing technologies, absolute minimum of configuration, open data and protocols, preferring automation over remote control, allowing people to write simple rules, etc.

The main difference is that my approach uses REST, with URLs to the state of Things, encoded in stable formats, and links between them, plus a programming model (and programming language) based on observation of linked state and state transition based on those observations.

These elements of the Object Net give a simplicity and mashability that the more imperative event- and agent-driven approaches lack. The documentation of the Thing System does reveal its complexity pretty quickly.

Looking around, here is another good list of IoT projects like the one I linked to before. Neither mentions the OpenHAB project, which seems at least as active as the Thing System. It is, however, based on an Event Bus and OSGi, both of which weigh against its chances of success in the real world. Maybe it'll attract Enterprise support, though.

In summary, I've yet to see another approach like the Object Network to unifying the IoT that is based on the original Web - with links between state. Most (all?) other approaches seem to be event-based.

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