IoT-A Explanation

IoT-A, the EU lighthouse project on Internet of Things

IoT-A, the EU lighthouse project on Internet of Things, ended in 2013 after morethan 3 years work. Its legacy is still very alive: it developed a number of concepts andtechnologies which were since taken up by different environments in differentregions of the world. In particular, the foundations of a sustainable IoT development,which are the underlying concepts often indicated as “Reference Architecture”, were afundamental achievement of the work. The set of models and procedures developedby the project allow any innovative idea that falls within the IoT domain to become areality.Furthermore, IoT-A developed different technological bricks at different levelsto bridge and extend current capabilities.

IoT-A’s overall technical objective is to create the architectural foundations of theFuture Internet of Things, allowing seamless integration of heterogeneous IoTtechnologies into a coherent architecture and their federation with other systems ofthe Future Internet. In order to achieve this ambitious overall goal, IoT-A hasidentified a series of detailed scientific and technological objectives that will beaddressed within the context of the project.



- To provide an architectural reference model for the interoperability of IoT systems, outlining principles and guidelines for the technical design of its protocols, interfaces and algorithms. Today there exists no widely agreed upon understanding of an architecture of the Internet of Things, making an interoperability of different IoT system very difficult. IoT-A will establish an architectural reference model, providing foundations to build upon, such as unified protocols and protocol stacks and machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces. Access of current and future designers on IoT protocols and system functions will be provided through particular guidance that IoT-A will offer, in form of system calls and architecture interfaces description, so that they are able to develop their solutions in an interoperable manner.

- To assess existing IoT protocol suits and derive mechanisms to achieve end-to-end inter-operability for seamless communication between IoT devices. The IoT will consist of devices with diverse communication stacks. IoT-A will enable seamless communication flows between heterogeneous devices, hiding the complexity of the end-to-end heterogeneity from the communication service. This goal will be pursued with the design, implementation and demonstration of unified translation mechanisms between technology-specific boundaries via M2M interfaces, whereby service accomodation will become transparent, using a single programming interface for communicating with the connected IoT.

- To develop modelling tools and a description language for goal-oriented IoT aware (business) process interactions allowing expression of their dependencies for a variety of deployment models. Current description languages are not suitable to describe interactions between services offered by IoT devices. IoT-A will develop such description language, and corresponding tools, considering the constraints and particularities of IoT environments, which is essential for seamless integration of the IoT into the service layer of the FI. Furthermore, this description language will have to represent abstractly the resources and the communication requirements of IoT so that they can be seamleassly integrated in the overall IoT-A architecture without resorting to internal component alterations.

- To derive adaptive mechanisms for distributed orchestration of IoT resource interactions exposing self-* properties in order to deal with the complex dynamics of real world environments. Current orchestration mechanisms are mainly centralised and have difficulties dealing with high real world dynamics. An IoT-A will derive mechanisms that ensure interactions will continue to persist and autonomously adapt in a distributed manner to a variety of system dynamics such as mobility and changing availability of IoT devices. Distributed orchestration will be realised in form of light-weight decentralized mechanisms, which in the light of the often severe resource constraints of devices, the scalability requirements and the changing user behaviour will act autonomously and in a self-organized but concerted manner to ensure service continuity.

- To holistically embed effective and efficient security and privacy mechanisms into IoT devices and the protocols and services they utilise. Privacy and security are major concerns, in particular to EU citizen. An IoT-A will ensure that appropriate mechanisms are deeply embedded in the IoT architecture, covering the hardware of its devices, communication and interaction protocols and the information level. To implement this goal IoT-A will extensively investigate and take into account service privacy and IoT access security aspects throughout the architecture design activities dealing with service accommodation, indentification and IoT-A platform realisations.



- To develop a novel resolution infrastructure for the IoT, allowing scalable look up and discovery of IoT resourcs, entities of the real world and their associations. Today there are different identification and addressing schemes for different IoT technologies and separate resolution infrastructures for each of them. IoT-A will develop a novel resolution infrastructure that can deal with the heterogeneity of existing schemes. Beyond simple lookup, the discovery of suitable IoT resources based on concepts of the physical world has to be supported. A suitable higher-level abstraction for interacting with the real world is that of a real world entity. The IoT-A resolution infrastructure will manage these associations dynamically and support the lookup and discovery of IoT resources based on real world entities. It will be able to resolve names and identities to addresses and locators used by communication services, thereby enabling cross-layer communication between IoT resources, services and applications.

- To develop IoT device platform components including device hardware and run- time environment. IoT-A will develop key components required for the IoT device platform on which a future Internet of Things will be based, providing a basis for the research community to build upon. Availability of the desired functionality to enable smooth realisation of the IoT-A architecure, will be investigated and design and development of hardware/software missing components will be taken over. Work will evolve along the issues of energy efficiency, security and authentication, privacy of user services and cryptography of low level interfaces and run-time environment for end-devices and hub components. - To validate the architectural reference model against the derived requirements with the implementation of real life use cases that demonstrate the benefits of the developed solutions. The principles of rough consensus and running code in the Internet research community have been key to Internet's current success. IoT-A is committed to experimentally evaluate its solutions and to demonstrate the feasibility of its concepts and the resulting benefits on real life use cases.This goal will be made possible through the organisation and realisation of a number of use-cases for health, home and logistics applications.

- To contribute to the dissemination and exploitation of the developed architectural foundations. The success of an architecture not only depends on its technical merits but on its adoption by the community at large. IoT-A has implemented a variety of different strategic means to ensure the acceptance and adequate impact of its results. These means are underpinned on the implementation of a detailed scientific dissemination plan, addressing the largest scientific conferences and journals that coincide with the project lifecycle and the exploitation plans of the industrial partners, as detailed in chapter 3.