Looking inside open source innovation

James Kirkland is one of the architects involved in the new open source Kapua project on Eclipse.org. In this blog post he discusses how innovation happens when industry leaders collaborate to make their customers successful.

Over the years, I’ve seen the beginning of a lot of open source projects, but the thing that excites me about the new Kapua project is that until now Eclipse IoT has been a set of individual projects that didn’t interrelate or even interoperate. (Read the Eclipse Foundation’s press release.)Kapua is the first attempt to create an ecosystem of projects that come together to provide functionality that is exponentially greater because of that integration. It’s an example of the sum being greater than the individual parts. The contributors came into this collaboration with the clear intention of solving broader IoT challenges in a unified way rather than each re-inventing the wheel on their own.

The higher goal of this project was to come up with a working IoT platform that would be able to meet the challenges of enterprise IoT. Previously you could take some of the Eclipse IoT projects and put them together with a lot of effort and additional coding to build out an IoT platform. This first release of Kapua code delivers a minimalistic IoT cloud-based management platform for managing IoT devices. This first step was to ensure that you could set it the device management platform, get it working and test it out. The Kura project used the same approach, of quickly getting to the first code release and to something that could be installed on a Raspberry Pi so that developers could easily get to a proof of concept stage for their own IoT gateway projects.

The functional goal was to use Kapua as the integration point for all the services under the Eclipse IoT banner. And to do it in such a way that the solution was not monolithic–that services could be plugged in and out according the needs of a given use case or the technology preferences of the developer.

To jumpstart the project, the companies involved contributed code they had developed within their own walls and proven out with their customers IoT deployments. Whenever you take a project and set it free you always run the risk of someone running with it and pushing it into the direction they prefer. We all had to build trust by doing small things together at first, like integrating just two projects, Camel and Kura. We became comfortable with each other’s work styles and that we were all going to live up to our commitment to collaborating. Then everyone does contribute within their individual areas of expertise. Even if the contribution is not code, but QA or test cases or documentation, it’s still expertise that an individual company might not have access to. Once you do that you’re able to build something bigger than any one company could build on their own–or even two companies.

Visit the Kapua project page and start participating.

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Webinar: Building data-driven solutions for the Internet of Things

Red_Hat_RGB_300pxRed Hat is hosting a virtual event,Building data-driven solutions for the Internet of Things,” at 11 a.m. EDT (New York City time) on Thursday, April 23, 2015. As people, devices, and machines increasingly connect to form broader and broader networks of “things,” all sending and receiving data to one another, being able to understand and leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) within the enterprise becomes an important task.

This Red Hat virtual event covers various aspects of building solutions for the IoT from security considerations and approaches to handling the massive volumes and variety of generated data sets to strategies for messaging and data transformation. For those that are just starting to think about what developing for the IoT looks like, there will be sessions on the Red Hat reference architecture for the IoT and real-world use cases.

Here’s the abstract for Burr Sutter’s session that I would particularly recommend for those standing at the threshold of the world of connected devices:

A developer’s journey in the IoT

The current hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to a substantial amount of innovation thanks to open source software, open hardware, open standards, and community inspiration. In this session, we will explore how you can use open source software to incorporate the physical world (the “Things”) into your traditional enterprise IT infrastructure. We will walk the path from a typical enterprise developer’s current focus on web desktop applications to mobile and devices, specifically developer prototyping platforms like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Spark Core, and several others. Learn how to connect the physical world to your enterprise backbone via sensors and actuators.

I’ll be holding two sessions myself—one on our IoT reference architecture and one with Mark Little (Red Hat engineering VP) on the Intelligent Gateway that we see as the lynchpin to handling scalability and data flow in an IoT solution.

In addition to featuring Red Hat experts who have been exploring IoT technology, the virtual event includes perspectives from our partners, Symantec and Splunk. The event also has a virtual exhibit hall where you can continue conversations with Symantec and Splunk and share the expertise of Eurotech and Avnet, two other members of the Red Hat ecosystem that are focused on the IoT.

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Internet of Things: insights from Red Hat

The Internet of Things represents outstanding opportunities for innovation and opens the door to new development projects. At its core is the need for next-generation intelligent systems to collect, analyze, and communicate data into actionable information. Red Hat is in a unique position to help developers architect those systems and bring about the promises of the IoT. In fact, Red Hat technology is already embedded in intelligent systems throughout the world to enable IoT use cases such as Smart Cities, Positive Train Control, smart energy metering, and telemetrics.

IoT Information Lifecycle

Visit our new Internet of Things Insights page to learn more about Red Hat’s role in the IoT. While you’re there, sign up for our IoT newsletter to help keep you updated and download our whitepaper with our recommended three-tier architecture for enterprise IoT implementations and the technologies needed for deployment.

Join Red Hat Developers, a developer program for you to learn, share, and code faster – and get access to Red Hat software for your development.  The developer program and software are both free!