Runtime Leverages the Open Connectivity Foundation’s IoT Standards
Saving code space (redundancies) and getting the additional benefit of a built-in (and well thought out) security framework
The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been in our lives for decades as part of our electrical grids, crop fields, traffic sensors, and more. However, widespread industrial adoption of IoT (outside of a few specific vertical domains) has to date been hindered by the security risks of connecting legacy equipment to the IT network, the large number of bus protocols that exist in legacy deployments (which creates data model issues for upstream applications and services) and, the lack of unified standards. If the IIoT stays on this trajectory it will not realize the immense economic potential. To change this course, security, common data models, and other interoperability aspects of the IIoT need to be addressed through open standards and open source, so that legacy and emerging technologies can easily integrate and keep up with this ever increasingly connected world.
Making New Tracks
In steps the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and, one of its member companies, Runtime.
Working toward a common goal of mapping IoT solutions to a single open specification, the OCF and its members are focused on unlocking the massive economic opportunity in the IoT market and accelerating industry innovation.
Runtime provides IoT device management and monitoring by leveraging open source embedded initiatives such as Apache Mynewt, an operating system for constrained, embedded devices. The rise of the IoT is proving that anything that can be connected will be connected. Many of these connected devices—whether prosaic, day-to-day consumer items such as wearables, light bulbs and locks; or industrial grade devices such as water meters and sensors—must be operated for long periods of time, but are constrained in terms of power, memory, and storage. Apache Mynewt, an incubator project in the Apache Software Foundation, is a project that flexibly addresses these constraints while remaining hardware agnostic. In order to manage these devices at all levels, Runtime has leveraged the OCF framework (OIC 1.1) to capture and process data quickly, efficiently and, at the point where it can have maximum impact in the IIoT market. This way, more processing power can be distributed to and targeted at smaller, low-powered devices in the IIoT.
Runtime co-founders, Sterling Hughes and James Pace are bringing decades of IIoT expertise to the OCF. Currently, Runtime is providing IoT solutions to Fortune 100 consumer product manufacturers, however its solution, which leverages the OCF specifications, is making them more valuable in the IIoT space.
Fortune 100 consumer device makers need in-field software management tools that can operate efficiently on devices constrained by power, memory, storage or processing.
These devices need a multi-transport solution that works across wide-area networks and can unify multiple data management and application protocols. Runtime has addressed the hardware aspect of this challenge in that the Apache Mynewt flexibly addresses these power, memory and storage constraints in a hardware-agnostic manner by providing an operating system that is easy to build, connect and manage. To address these challenges on a software level and bridge operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) networks, Runtime leveraged the OIC 1.1 protocol that can provide the flexibility as well as provide the application management and a standard security framework, increasing efficiencies.
Not only will this new protocol be able to address security and efficiencies, it will be easily implemented and interoperable between both legacy and emerging IoT technologies. The ability to easily integrate and apply this protocol and solution to existing IIoT technologies will allow for the IIoT to continue to grow along with the consumer, healthcare, and enterprise arenas of the IoT industry.
“We looked at a number of
application-layer frameworks, but none addressed constrained devices and networks in the IoT as thoughtfully as the OCF framework. The OCF’s selection of CoAP and CBOR from the beginning was truly foresightful: it’s important to be efficient and parsimonious in low bit-rate and battery-powered environments.”
- James Pace, CEO | Co-Founder of Runtime
How Has OCF Helped?
The value of OCF for Runtime is the open framework that addresses both the management and application layer in the same protocol, as well as a unified security framework and, eliminates the need to duplicate code on these small environments. Runtime’s customers can build a product around OCF and have a standardized application layer and security framework. Additionally, Runtime’s management protocol can leverage that same OCF security infrastructure and application layer framework to perform software upgrades and collect logs and device level statistics. By leveraging OCF, Runtime powered devices are more efficient on memory and processing requirements.
OCF provides a common, open connectivity framework for embedded developers that enables a common device discovery and interaction model, common data model and a robust security framework whilst abstracting away the physical connectivity hardware (and related protocols). This enables embedded developers utilizing the OCF framework to concentrate on creating the necessary differentiation for their product in the upper application layers. OCF also provides a robust certification process as well as a full reference implementation of the various specifications in open source under the IoTivity project.
By adopting and leveraging OCF’s single protocol that handles both management and application, Runtime and Apache Mynewt have been able to provide a standard security framework while increasing efficiencies. Customers have found Apache Mynewt easier to use and implement from the top down. These customers are spending less time coding redundancies by building around this pre-made architecture that can be used as a bridging technology between IoT industries and different IoT solutions. This will lead to secure connectivity at all levels and less time to market for businesses.
By accomplishing all of this, Runtime and the Apache Mynewt project can institute determinism in their customers’ systems by establishing contracts between data producers and data consumers. This places the control of the data collected by sensors in the IIoT into the OT and IT professionals and allows for the services needed for large scale implementation.
The OCF Industrial Task Group is continuously adding the necessary infrastructure (e.g. QoS, Real Time) to the core OCF specifications. Additionally, the IoTivity open source project provides a fully certifiable reference implementation that enables developers to bring their IIoT products to market more quickly, and at lower total cost of ownership.