IBM and Eurotech (ETH.MI) today announced that they are contributing software to accelerate and support the development of a new generation of smarter wireless and mobile devices. The technology, which could become the basis for a new standard of mobile connectivity and interoperability, will be contributed to the Eclipse Foundation open source community.
The Eclipse Foundation, founded by IBM in 2001, is celebrating its 10th anniversary at EclipseCon in Germany.
Originally developed by IBM and Eurotech, the contributed Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol is in use today among some industrial, mobile, and consumer applications, providing reliable device connectivity in industries such as transportation, energy, military, financial, social media and medical. Uses of MQTT range across projects as diverse as real-time monitoring for a ConocoPhillips pipeline, to a new lightweight mobile messaging application for Facebook.
Billions of embedded devices – from RFID tag readers, smartphones and cardiac monitors to GPS-aware systems, thermostats and smart appliances – can be interconnected to one another. Fueled by rapid growth in wireless broadband connectivity, this number is rapidly expanding. There are more than nine billion connected devices in the world today and according to a recent study conducted by Ericsson AB, that number is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020. (1)
Many of these devices tend to be industry focused and tied to proprietary technologies and platforms, making true connectivity a complex task. Further, there is an influx of instrumented products, such as power meters and washing machines some of which do not yet have access to the power of the internet. By connecting all of these devices with an open-source, cross-industry messaging technology, there is potential to create new systems of systems that can operate with one another like never before. This would help organizations more easily embrace growth opportunities across a wide range of industries, including retail, healthcare and automotive where the use of mobile and wireless devices are transforming the way they work.
For instance, today’s smarter cities allow existing systems to alert operators of a broken water main and report the extent of flooding in streets and subways. However they are often closed systems. An open messaging protocol can be used to openly publish these events, enabling public and private transit systems to share and monitor these critical alerts. As a result, agencies would be able to adjust traffic signals, change routes, and notify commuters of alternative routes, transportation, lodging and meals on their mobile devices.
The architecture that the contributed technology enables can adapt easily to existing systems and provide a new level of connectivity across a wide range of systems – without requiring significant programming or reconfiguration of legacy monitoring systems.
“Just as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) enabled open communication over the internet, we believe the creation of an open protocol for messaging can do the same for smarter systems,” explains Mike Milinkovich, executive director, Eclipse Foundation. “History has proven that driving open standards, such as IBM and Eurotech’s contribution to Eclipse, is a proven strategy for rapid and widespread industry adoption.”
Based on an industry proven open protocol, the MQTT technology will provide the missing piece needed to usher in this new level of accessibility and connectivity among systems, and enable the creation of next generation Machine-to-Machine (M2M) solutions.
Open Communities Are Essential to Advance Connectivity and Open Markets
To further accelerate the development of these next generation products, Eurotech and IBM are also announcing that they will join as founding members with Sierra Wireless in a new Machine-to-Machine Industry Working Group at the Eclipse Foundation. The goal of the M2M Industry Working Group is to create an open development environment that will make it easier to integrate and connect systems of systems.
A scalable protocol like MQTT will bridge a wide range of platforms and devices including embedded, mobile, Web 2.0 and Enterprise IT. When backed by the open source community, it will allow system developers and integrators to usher in the next generation of applications with higher levels of innovation and functionality in order to create smarter buildings, industries and cities.
“As a founding member of the M2M Industry Working Group, Sierra Wireless is working together with IBM and Eurotech to advance the creation of software that simplifies and accelerates the creation of M2M applications,” said Emmanuel Walckenaer, senior vice president and general manager, Solutions and Services for Sierra Wireless. “Open source contributions to the Eclipse community give developers confidence in the long term viability, continuous innovation, and ongoing community support of their M2M software platform.”
The Eclipse Foundation became an independent not-for-profit corporation in 2004. Since then, it has transformed the software industry. The Eclipse community has played a critical role in IBM’s product development. Over the last ten years, IBM has shipped more than 800 products based on Eclipse technology.