IoTility: A Programming Model for the Internet of Things

Categories: Seminar Series

March 27 10:30-11:30 WWH 335. While we all share the excitements of great IoT visions and impressive IoT scenarios and possibilities, we do not yet have a clear pathway to realizing this vision systematically and on a broad and large scale. In fact, it can be argued that the focus on vision and abstracting away many details, including about “things” themselves were intentional to productively bolster our imagination; but this approach has now run its course. Ignoring the details and staying abstract will be counterproductive at this stage. We view the success of the IoT to largely depend on how its main ingredient, the thing, is architected, prepared, and tooled to deliver on the high expectations of blue-sky visions. In other words, we see no short cuts to having to walk before we run. Service-oriented device architecture (SODA) was a successful beginning in our research journey, where devices were made capable of generating and publishing their services to an edge node or as endpoints in the cloud. IoT programmability through traditional service composition was a tangible gain at the time, which was utilized in the Gator Tech Smart House – an assistive environment for graceful aging project.

However, much remains to be needed to achieve an explicit thing architecture capable of delivering on the highly anticipated visions. For example, we still do not understand how to expressly program an IoT as we have programmed previous generations and forms of the computer. This is obviously an essential requirement for any meaningful proliferation and adoption of the IoT technology. Except for a few ideas and tools that exist today, the programmability view of IoT lacks clarity and, in fact, there are no clear boundaries that separate IoT as a distributed computer from IoT as applications. In this talk, after a brief introduction to SODA, I will present requisite requirements that we must satisfy to bolster the programmability and utility of IoT as an emerging industry and as an applications ecosystem.

Sumi Helal is a Professor in the Computer & Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida, USA, and Director of its Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory. He co-founded and directed the Gator Tech Smart House, a real-world deployment project that aimed at identifying key barriers and opportunities to make the Smart Home concept a common place (creating the “Smart Home in a Box” concept). His active areas of research focus on architectural and programmability aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT), service-oriented IoT architectures, IoT edge intelligence, and pervasive/ubiquitous systems and their human-centric applications, especially in the Digital Health area. Helal is also a technologist at heart who founded several successful ventures in the areas of IoT and Digital Health. His patents that came out of his research were licensed by the top multinational tech industry including Google, Apple, Samsung, Bosch, Siemens, T-Mobile, Verizon, among others. Helal is a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, AAAS, AAIA, IET, and a member of Academia Europaea.