We are seeing today an increased focus on technologies for handling Big Data, Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) as information becomes more dispersed, more complex and more ubiquitous with more and more connected smart products appearing in homes and offices. These convergent technologies offer the potential to revolutionise the way we use information and interact with our environment as more information is accessible at any time and smart devices provide greater abilities to deliver only the relevant information that is needed in a particular situation.
There is however a critical obstacle that is slowing the IoT revolution – it is the “verticalisation” of information that shapes IoT systems today where developers of new and innovative systems are tied to a particular platform and can only use the data a particular platform provider collects. As expectations for IoT systems increase these vertical silos of information are restricting the flow of information between connected devices and prevent more advanced systems from being composed that deliver greater value to users by combining multiple information sources and enabling new business models.
The recently launched bIoTope project with financial support from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme seeks to break down the information silos of today’s IoT systems. Over the next three years, the project will develop an open, interoperable, secure platform for IoT systems founded on the Systems-of-Systems (SoS) concept that enables developers to ‘publish’, ‘consume’ and ‘compose’ services across existing platforms and without any programming.
At the heart of the new bIoTope platform will be a suite of core services for security, billing, information exchange, user interactions and situational awareness. Standardisation will lower the costs and development time as these common services will no longer need to be developed for each new IoT system. The shared services approach of the bIoTope platform and use of open standards will create a new open ecosystem where applications and systems from multiple suppliers that span and exploit information from existing IoT information silos can be developed at much lower costs. A key feature of the bIoTope platform will be high awareness of the environment surrounding a particular user and how they use information so that new IoT applications can be self-adapting, easily extensible and able to learn user preferences depending on particular situations.
The bIoTope project is composed of 21 partners from 10 countries and includes leading universities and research institutes developing state-of-the-art IoT technologies, manufacturers and leading technology and services suppliers who will all collaborate to implement new pilot deployments of IoT technologies in Brussels, Lyon, and Helsinki who are at the cutting edge of creating smart cities that provide new eco-friendly services for citizens. These pilot deployments will validate the new bIoTope platform for addressing smart mobility, smart buildings, smart air quality and other services and to measure the improvements the new technologies provide to citizens, businesses, and government. First pilot deployments of bIoTope technologies will begin in 2017.