Google Invites University Researchers to Collaborate on IoT Projects

By teaming up with university researchers on short-term projects, Google aims to see how its technologies can be used in IoT applications and user interfaces.

Google, university researchers, Internet of things

Google wants to work with university researchers on short-term projects involving the use of its software and technologies in emerging Internet of things applications.

The company this week announced an Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Research Award Pilot program under which it is seeking applications from academic researchers looking to explore "interesting use cases and innovative user interfaces" with Google.

Google's chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf and Max Senges of Google Research this week described the pilot program as mostly involving small-scale projects of between four and eight weeks in duration. Participants will be required to use one or a combination of Google IoT technologies in proposing ideas on which to work.

In addition to intriguing use cases, those interested in participating in the program can also propose projects showing how IoT interoperability and technical issues as well as IT-related privacy and security issues can be addressed through Google's products.

Several Google technologies and applications are available to choose from for those interested in participating in the pilot program. Among them are Google beacon platform, Physical Web, Brillo & Weave and OnHub router. The technologies represent the somewhat eclectic collection of development and software tools in Google's IoT portfolio currently.

Google beacons, for example, are Bluetooth-based low-energy beacons for location and proximity-tracking purposes. The technology is based on an open beacon format known as Eddystone. The Physical Web, meanwhile, is a Google effort to enable all smart devices with a Web address so users can interact with the device in an easier fashion and without having to first download an app.

Similarly, Brillo is an Android-based embedded operating system for IoT devices that Google says will make it easier for device makers to integrate security features into the device or send out software updates to it while Weave represents an effort by Google to enable better interoperability between IoT devices and smartphones, mobile apps and cloud services.

In all, Google is offering researchers an opportunity to work with a total of nine of its IoT-related technologies under the pilot program. "To connect our physical world to the Internet is a broad and long-term challenge, one we hope to address by working with researchers across many disciplines and work practices," Cerf and Senges wrote. "We are looking forward to the collaborative opportunity provided by this pilot, and learning about innovative applications you create for these new technologies."

This is not the first time that Google has called for research proposals for IoT-related projects. In 2014, the company invited proposals for its Open Web of Things Expedition aimed at developing standards around IoT technologies. Under the effort, the company is collaborating with researchers in areas like user interfaces, communications protocols, privacy and security of IoT devices.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.