One To Watch

Eclipse bolsters M2M portfolio with proposed OSGi container Kura

Chris Mayer
m2m

Just what the Internet of Things needed – a new Eclipse project dedicated to bringing OSGi capabilitities to M2M.

The Internet of Things is kind of a big deal. At least that’s
what the signs are showing us.

The biggest indication yet that the fledgling
community had broken its way into the corporate stream of
consciousness was General Electric’s intention to start the age of
the Industrial Internet of Things, by working alongside Pivotal.
We’ve seen Oracle make their play for Java to be at the heart of
embedded technologies in recent weeks too.

According to research from
ABI
, there are 10 billion devices in the
Internet of Everything today and the figure will rise to 30 billion
devices by 2020. With business booming, is there a danger that
demand could outstrip supply, if the the machine-to-machine network
infrastructure isn’t up to scratch and primed to deal with a
surge?

Fortunately, at the centre of the M2M movement
has been the Eclipse Foundation, housing a number of projects
related to the technology, as well as hosting an M2M industry
working group for interested companies. Although not yet
mainstream, M2M toolbox Koneki, protocol project Paho and runtime
environment Mihini could end being the lifeblood of the ecosystem,
due to the open nature of the projects.

Eclipse Director Mike Milinkovich told JAXenter
that the Internet of Things “is going to be huge” last
month.

“I believe very strongly that if the Internet of
Things is going to be successful, it’s going to have to be open,”
he told

JAXenter.de editor Hartmut
Schlosser
.

“The more we make sure the protocols, the
frameworks and the developer tools that are being used to build the
Internet of Things, the more we make sure those are open – as in
open source – the better it will be for everybody.”

It seems the open source foundation isn’t
letting up their M2M efforts, with
Kura
the latest proposal to shore up at Eclipse. Due to the large
customisation needed for custom hardware and software, the earliest
embedded prototypes have often been proprietary protocols and
systems with little use to outsiders. Only recently has the
emergence of the cost-effective service gateway model opened things
up to all, because it operates as the aggregator and controller on
the edge of deployment.

Kura wants to take things even further by
providing an OSGi-based container for M2M applications running such
gateways. The project creates or aggregates the most essential
services for M2M applications, such as I/O access, data services,
network configuration and remote management. The proposal states
the project complements Java 6 and OSGi platforms well, as most of
the components are written in pure Java.

The scope of the Kura project seems pretty all encompassing,
with extra plans down the line to design a build environment to
isolate Kura components and an IDE to run M2M applications in an
emulated environment in the Eclipse IDE.

IWG member Eurotech are the initial contributors, bringing much
of the source code from the Eurotech Everywhere Software Framework,
with the UI of that project is already present in Eclipse Paho.

A pre-made build for platforms like Raspberry Pi
will be included in Kura, with the lightweight computer quickly
becoming the M2M platform of choice.

The initial donation is expected to be completed
by Q4 in 2013, but Kura has already been tested on open Java VM
implementations such as OpenJDK.

It’s another welcome addition to Eclipse’s growing M2M
portfolio and one that should instigate greater adoption, thanks to
its OSGi backbone.

Image courtesy of Andy Piper

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