Use a Data-Centric Publish/Subscribe Framework for IoT Applications (.PDF Download)

March 30, 2018
Use a Data-Centric Publish/Subscribe Framework for IoT Applications (.PDF Download)

The Internet of Things (IoT). The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Perhaps you have heard these buzzwords once, or twice, or more likely a few hundred times. But hearing about them and developing them are two completely different situations.

Let’s say you’ve been assigned to (or volunteered for) a project to upgrade an existing device or system with new connectivity requirements. Or maybe, you’re on a project to design a distributed system from scratch. Chances are that this system is complex, with multiple data sources, destinations, communications mechanisms, operating systems, etc.

These distributed systems can be categorized into two types of applications: One type is where each deployed system has just one or a few devices that periodically push their data up to the cloud. This is prevalent in consumer-based IoT applications, such as smart thermostats or sprinkler systems. The second type of application is more industrial in nature, where several devices and sensors work in unison to complete a localized control application of some kind. In this case, there’s just too much data to push up to the cloud and have any kind of real-time response to changing conditions. These more complex systems are typical in IIoT applications.

These IIoT systems require more localized processing elements that can provide the real-time control that’s needed, and then push lower-volume processed data up to the cloud for long-term analytics. Traditional communication protocols do not suffice here. The need is really for a data-connectivity framework with the performance, scalability, reliability, and resilience required by this more complex industrial system. A connectivity framework will provide more complete data-communication capabilities and greatly reduce the corresponding need to implement these capabilities in the application software.

If you’ve inherited an existing system, chances are pretty good that the number of lines of code to implement the communication infrastructure is in the thousands or tens of thousands. Typical design details that need to be implemented in a complex distributed system include:

  • Data filtering (How can I limit data transfer to only the data of interest?)
  • Data encoding (How is data serialized and sent over the network? XML? JSON? Binary?)
  • Initialization (How do I get the system booted up correctly?)
  • Addressing (How do I know where to send or get data?)
  • Congestion (What happens when messages take too long?)
  • Failures (How do I know when a communication link or a device fails?)

What if there was an easy way of creating high-performance peer-to-peer communication in a distributed system in only 35 lines of code? There is if you use a connectivity framework. Check out this blog post for more information. We’ll explore some of the key capabilities of a connectivity framework for IIoT systems in the following sections.


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