Eclipse Foundation's M2M, Internet of Things Efforts Gain Momentum

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-07-30

Eclipse Foundation's M2M, Internet of Things Efforts Gain Momentum

The Eclipse Foundation announced that its machine-to-machine (M2M) initiative, the EclipseM2M Working Group, has gained significant momentum—adding new projects and members and gaining commercial adoption.

In an interview with eWEEK, Ian Skerrett, the director of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, said the foundation is set on establishing an open-source software ecosystem for M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) development. Eclipse M2M has added open-source projects, new releases of existing projects, additional members and product announcements from member companies.

"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," Skerrett said. "We want to be the home for those standards."

M2M, which involves connecting various types of machines and devices via a network, is one of the fastest-growing technology markets. Approaching $100 billion in revenue by some estimates, this new technology segment presents a number of software development challenges due to the complexity of the hardware and network architectures, lack of open standards, and issues of interoperability between vertical products, Skerrett said.

The Eclipse M2M Working Group is a collaboration of companies and organizations focused on developing open-source protocols, frameworks and tools for M2M software development. The goal of the Eclipse M2M Working Group is to make it easy for software developers to create M2M applications that are based on open standards and open-source technology. Eclipse M2M has three existing open-source projects—Koneki, Mihini and Paho—that provide open-source technology for M2M developers.

However, four new open-source M2M Projects are being proposed to join the Eclipse M2M community. One is called Ponte. Ponte is a framework that will allow reading and writing of data from sensors and actuators via M2M protocols, accessible via a Representational State Transfer (REST) API. Ponte will also provide the ability to convert and exchange data between protocols. The initial protocols that will be supported include Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), a proposed OASIS standard, and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). The Eclipse Paho project hosts the reference implementation of MQTT.

The second new project is Eclipse SCADA, an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA is an open-source implementation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system typically used to monitor and control large-scale industrial processes, such as 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.

The third new project, Concierge, is an implementation of the OSGi core specifications that is 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.

The fourth new project is Kura, an application framework for M2M service gateways based on Java and OSGi. 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.

Eclipse Foundation's M2M, Internet of Things Efforts Gain Momentum

Meanwhile, the existing Eclipse M2M projects continue to develop and release open-source software for M2M developers. These projects include the initial code contribution, which is provided by Sierra Wireless and now available for Mihini. Mihini, a Lua-based framework for M2M gateways, provides connectivity management to ensure reliable network connection, offers an abstraction layer for underlying hardware and protocols, and enables the smart transmission of data between devices and servers.

In the last six months, Paho, which provides open-source implementations of the proposed OASIS MQTT protocol, has received community contributions for MQTT client implementations in Python, JavaScript and Objective-C.

And Koneki 1.0 featured updated support for the new Lua 5.2 runtime and new remote development support for the Mihini framework. Koneki is a Lua-based IDE with its 1.0 production release included as part of Kepler, the annual Eclipse release train.

In addition, a number of new product announcements from leading M2M companies have included Eclipse M2M technology. Sierra Wireless AirVantage M2M Cloud platform recently announced support for the Mihini framework that allows users to build applications running on open hardware, such as Raspberry Pi, which connect with the Sierra Wireless AirVantage Cloud Platform. And the Sierra Wireless AirLink GX and LS series Intelligent Gateways use Mihini and Koneki as part of the ALEOS Application Framework that supports rapid development of embedded M2M applications.

The recently launched IBM MessageSight offering is a new messaging appliance designed for M2M and mobile environments. It is capable of supporting millions of concurrent sensors or smart devices and can scale up to 13 million messages per second. MessageSight supports the MQTT protocol and MQTT clients from Eclipse Paho. Sprint is the first mobile carrier to adopt IBM MessageSight and is using the technology to deliver advanced connected car services.

Eurotech's Everyware Cloud 3.0 platform allows for device-independent M2M applications to connect sensors and devices with back-end business processes and reports. Everyware Cloud 3.0 includes MQTT support from Eclipse Paho and is based on the technology proposed in the Eclipse Kura project.

And the Axeda Machine Cloud supports open-source protocol standards including Eclipse Paho. Axeda Ready Gateways can now support MQTT networks by listening to any MQTT broker. This allows for support of local MQTT sensor and device networks as well as connectivity between MQTT device networks and the Axeda Machine Cloud.

Skerrett also announced a new member of the Eclipse M2M Working Group. IBH Systems GmbH has joined the Eclipse M2M working group. IBH provides software solutions and consulting with a focus on the oil and gas and renewable energy industry. Their employees are also the founders of the Eclipse SCADA project. IBH will join the existing members of the working group: Axeda, Eurotech, IBM and Sierra Wireless.

Although IBM is the biggest member of the working group in terms of size, "Sierra Wireless is probably the biggest contributor in terms of lines of code" committed to the M2M projects. However, IBM has been very active in the group and has contributed its extensive MQTT expertise to the group.

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