Paho set for late November release

IBM and Eurotech propose Paho – an Eclipse open source device connectivity project

Chris Mayer

Landmark partnership could usher in new era of interconnectivity

With Eclipse’s 10th anniversary at EclipseCon in Germany, it seemed the perfect time announce something revolutionary as IBM and Eurotech revealed their contribution to the Eclipse foundation – hoping to utilise the open source community in driving forth the push for advanced machine to machine technology (M2M).

According to a recent Ericsson survey, by 2020, there will be over 50 billion connected devices in the world. Combined with a projected 1000% increase in wireless broadband traffic by then, it is of paramount performance that technology continues to grow to meet that demand and the advances in embedded programmes.

The Paho project aims to eliminate the middle man between the connection of physical systems and smart devices, providing a more cohesive system of interconnectivity and also the possibility of ‘an internet of things’. M2M is already key to much of the world’s functions, but over constrained wireless connections and this step could theoretically create new messaging opportunities, integrating Web and Enterprise middleware much more seamlessly with physical objects

IBM bring the MQTT technology for the project – a lightweight publish/subscribe protocol designed for mobile and remote devices, wireless connectivity, and dealing with lossy, constrained and/or intermittent network characteristics. Eurotech will provide the framework and sample applications for testing, meaning that Eclipse will set up a functioning test sandbox server. IBM’s Scot de Deugd will lead the project.

The documents submitted to Eclipse outline a scenario of a burst water main. Sensors already present in the system notify operators of the issue who in turn report the status of flooding in streets and subways. But this is a fairly strict and linear way of doing things. Through well designed open messaging technology, further opportunities could allow public and private transit systems to monitor the alerts, to change their routes if needs be, or social networks could subscribe to notify residents in the area and allow them to give feedback.

The proposal outlines the needs for progression.

Open source messaging components are needed that can cater to the serendipitous nature of data and events from the physical world around us, accelerating and opening new markets. These components will of course have to support the open messaging models prevalent on the Web. They will have to meet high volume, low latency transaction requirements expected by Enterprise IT.  At the same time, they will have to work equally well across the constrained networks and embedded platforms that are inherent to physical world of machine-to-machine systems. 

This will enable a paradigm shift from legacy point-to-point protocols and the limitations of protocols like SOAP or HTTP into more loosely coupled yet determinable models. It will bridge the SOA, REST, Pub/Sub and other middleware architectures already well understood by Web 2.0 and Enterprise IT shops today, with the embedded and wireless device architectures inherent to M2M.

IBM and Eclipse have enjoyed a healthy relationship over the past decade, with the Eclipse community contributing hugely towards IBM products. And given that bond, you’d be foolish to bet against this venture flourishing too. The Paho proposal outlines why Eclipse were chosen for the open source project.

The Eclipse Foundation has initiated an M2M Industry Working Group, recognizing the importance of growing and scaling device connectivity solutions needed to realize new business opportunities and keep markets open. Eclipse has a large and diverse membership, an established industry presence, and a proven track record on technology projects.  The industry working group will provide a forum for discussing the broad topics of machine-to-machine communications while the Paho open source project will make implementations of advanced messaging technology readily available to M2M, Web and Enterprise customers, working to improve adoption. 

Paho will be intrinisically linked to Equinox and other Eclipse projects such as Konecki and other web, enterprise and embedded tooling projects within the community.

The initial release of the MQTT Java and C Client code is scheduled for the 28th November 2011 with the Stable 1 release expected by December 16.

Images credited to Eclipse

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