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Discussing M2M at Eclipse with Ian Skerrett and Benjamin Cabé

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With a flurry of new developments, we talk to those at the heart of the Eclipse M2M movement to discuss what’s new.

With a flurry of new machine-to-machine project arriving to the Eclipse Foundation in recent weeks, Claudia from jaxenter.de caught up with Eclipse VP of Marketing Ian Skerrett and Eclipse M2M Industry Working Group chair Benjamin Cabé to talk about the latest developments.

JAXenter: Last year at EclipseCon Europe we talked about the new M2M working group, a collaboration of companies and organizations focused on developing open source M2M technologies. Before we get to the latest news – how has the IWG evolved in the past year? It looks like you accomplished everything you planned to when we talked last year!

Ian Skerrett: It has been a great year for M2M. The three projects: Paho, Mihini and Koneki all have source code in their repositories and are building successful communities. It is great to see people contributing to the projects and experimenting with what is possible. We are also seeing companies like IBM, Sierra Wireless, Eurotech and Axeda providing commercial products and support using Eclipse M2M technology. 
 

The Foundation just announced another major step for the IWG, proposing new M2M projects and updating existing projects. Can you please introduce the four new M2M projects?

Yes, we have 4 new project proposals: 

  1. Ponte is a framework that will allow reading and writing of data from sensors and actuators via M2M protocols, accessible via a REST API. It is really a bridge between the M2M and Web world. The initial protocols that will be supported include MQTT (a proposed OASIS standard) and CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol). Eclipse Paho hosts the reference implementation of MQTT.
  2. Eclipse SCADA is an open source implementation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system typically used to monitor and control large scale industrial processes, e.g. solar farms. Eclipse SCADA will provide connectivity to a variety of industrial devices, a monitoring system to create alarms and events, recording of historical data and a framework to build custom user interfaces and visualizations on top of those functions. 
  3. Concierge is an implementation of the OSGi core specifications that is well suited for embedded and mobile devices. Concierge will target a footprint with a jar file size of less than 400KB, allowing it to run on devices that have limited resources. 
  4. Kura is a Java and OSGi based application framework for M2M service gateways. Kura will provide a set of common services for Java developers building M2M applications, including I/O access, data services, network configuration and remote management.

The existing projects Mihini, Paho and Koneki saw some significant project updates – was the Kepler release the major milestone for those updates?

Koneki participated in the Kepler release train with the 1.0 release. Mihini just completed the initial code contribution from Sierra Wireless so the project is making great progress toward their first release. Paho has seen a number of contributions from the community for different language implementations of MQTT clients, including JavaScript, Python and Objective C. 

So the M2M stack has doubled its modules, which is a major achievement. Are all essential modules in place now or is there still a gap to fill?

I think we are just seeing the beginning of what is needed to make it easy for developers to create M2M applications. There are still some protocols, like CoAP and LightweightM2M, that need to have good open source implementations. I’d like to see an MQTT server being maintained at Eclipse (but we do already host an instance of Mosquitto on m2m.eclipse.org). Eclipse SCADA is our first project that is focused on a vertical solution but I would expect to see more M2M solution frameworks being implemented in open source.

Finally, I also think M2M is a huge opportunity for data visualization and big data. I am sure we will see a lot of technology development here. M2M is going to be an exciting area in the next couple of years. 

The commercial adoption is the next step and it looks like every member of the IWG (Sierra Wireless, IBM, Eurotech and Axeda) has announced commercial support. Benjamin, you work for Sierra Wireless, can you please tell us a bit more about the commercial prospect?

Benjamin Cabé: Our AirVantage M2M Cloud allows to manage large fleet of devices very simply. We provide intelligent gateways (Airlink GX and LS series) that are programmable using the Aleos Application Framework, which is basically a commercial bundle of the Mihini framework and Koneki tools. We provide a clear path for developers who can start evaluating the Eclipse M2M technologies using the open source projects, and later transition to a commercial offer.

We also recently launched our new portal dedicated to our open source initiatives, and we already provide several examples and tutorials for using AirVantage with Mihini and other cool open source technologies. I am also very excited by the developer kit we recently designed. It allows developers to experiment with open hardware and AirVantage, in the form of a an actual connected greenhouse! How cool is that?

People can already register their interest, and the kits should be available in the upcoming weeks.We highly encourage developers to create a free trial account on AirVantage, and connect their device of choice (Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, …) using Mihini!

JAXenter – Thanks for speaking to us!

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