The Internet of things (IoT), which extends Internet connectivity beyond traditional devices such as desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things that utilize embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, opens up a world of new opportunity for developers. And Eclipse, the community for developers and organizations that want to collaborate on open-source software, wants to help.
“Our goal at Eclipse is to be the open-source community that provides the basic technology building blocks for the Internet of things,” Ian Skerrett, vice president of marketing and ecosystem at the Eclipse Foundation, told eWEEK. “We believe for the Internet of things to be successful it needs to be based on open standards and open source. The current state of the IoT industry is a lot of proprietary vendors attempting to lock customers into their own solutions and protocols.”
Eclipse Foundation Executive Director Mike Milinkovich added: “We are certain that the Internet of things will only be successful if it is built on open technologies. Our goal at Eclipse is to ensure that there is a vendor-neutral, open-source community to provide those technologies.”
Skerrett said Eclipse entered the IoT space at EclipseCon Europe 2012 in November of that year when the organization announced the creation of the Eclipse M2M Working Group, with IBM, Sierra Wireless, Eurotech and Band XI teaming to launch a community for machine-to-machine (M2M) software development. The initial projects that made up the community were machine-to-machine connectivity efforts known as Paho, Mihini and Koneki. However, a lot has happened in 2013 and the vision of a vibrant, Eclipse-based IoT open-source community is becoming a reality, he said.
Last July, Skerrett spoke with eWEEK about the progress the foundation has made with its IoT efforts. "If there really is going to be an Internet of things where all these different devices and things are talking to each other, there really needs to be some open standards in place," he said. "We want to be the home for those standards."
Eclipse M2M now has 13 projects focused on various aspects of M2M and IoT applications. Eclipse has open-source implementations of all the major IoT standards being discussed, including Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), a proposed OASIS standard, and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). The Eclipse Paho project hosts the reference implementation of MQTT. Other implementations include those for Lightweight M2M and ETSI M2M.
MQTT is taking off as one of the most important protocols for building IoT and M2M applications, Skerrett noted. The MQTT specification is in the final drafts of becoming an OASIS standard.