App Developers in Highly Connected IoT World Must Take New Tack

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-01-19 Print this article Print
IoT apps

The Open-Source Alternatives

Similarly,, a data service exchange for connected device platforms, offers a lot of what IBM offers with Bluemix, albeit with best-in-class and open-source components.

"Probably the closest thing to us is IBM Bluemix, but the difference in philosophy shows up," said Allen Proithis, CEO and co-founder of "IBM offers all these services, but at least three-quarters of the services are IBM services. So as long as you like the color blue, it's great. Philosophically, it's a big difference because we're all about best-in-class with many options in every category. We have an open philosophy."

That openness includes a focus on standards such as AMQP, the Node.js server-side JavaScript framework, Docker containers and more.

"Open source is very important to us," said Tom Gilley, CTO and co-founder of "We contribute back to many open-source projects like Node.js and Docker. We find the open-source community is important in this primordial evolving ecosystem, and we want to support it." connects to the platforms that are collecting data from the devices. is an operating environment that routes the messages to the data intelligently between the connected platforms to the apps that would be most suitable to subscribe to that data.

For casual developers who want to gain access to data, offers a Web automation framework as a service. For more immersed developers, offers adapters to data services.

Under a partnership with Kinoma, users of Kinoma Create, a JavaScript-powered IoT construction kit, can access the list of cloud data services through's exchange.'s open operating platform allows players in the IoT ecosystem to connect and share data regardless of device, standards or connectivity, creating a marketplace to bring together application creators, system integrators, analytics providers and hardware companies. With this partnership, Kinoma Create developers can tap into the array of partners in the exchange to add fully realized, connected devices to the growing IoT market.

Many early IoT adopters are jumping on the open-source bandwagon. Tapping the open-source capabilities of Pentaho, the city of Chicago has created an ETL utility kit that multiple city departments can access to harness massive, open data sets from sources like sensor nodes, city crime data, water-quality statistics and even car-permit data.

The complexity and quantity of these data sets encouraged the city of Chicago to embed Pentaho Data Integration, to transform the city's data into a single, common format, Tom Schenk, chief data officer for the city of Chicago, told eWEEK. Data is gathered from sensors around the city and disseminated, he said.

"Regarding the Internet of things, we publish traffic density estimates based off GPS units located on our city buses," Schenk said. "The reason those GPS units are there is so people can be notified that we're approaching a stop or people can use apps to see where buses are.

"We also can see how dense traffic is. We update crime data every day. Every hour we publish water beach quality data from sensors embedded two meters deep in the beaches around the city of Chicago. We're able to update every 10 minutes," he continued.

Jon Levy, open data program manager in the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology, said one of his favorite IoT apps is the app, which leverages data sets from the ETL Utility Kit to notify residents when to move their cars and avoid tickets. "I live in the city, I have a car and I've gotten tickets for not moving my car," he said. "As a private citizen, I subscribe to this service."


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