The Internet is expected to ultimately interconnect billions of people and trillions of devices. Since several years, “Web-of-Objects” and “Internet-of-Things” initiatives have emerged primarily aimed at machine-to-machine or device-to-device interactions using standard communications protocols. As yet, their rate of adoption in commercial products and services is fairly low. The challenge undertaken by the SITAC project is to create a unifying architecture and “ecosystem” – comprising platforms, tools and methodologies – that enable seamless connection and cooperation of many types of network-connected entities, whether systems, machines, devices or humans equipped with handheld devices.
Thus sensors and actuators will be seamlessly connected amongst each other and with different types of smart spaces. Mobile devices will assist users in managing their everyday tasks. New breeds of smart services will emerge, e.g., context sharing between family members, adapting residential facilities to the needs of new tenants, interactions with and between home devices optimizing home energy consumption, etc. Intelligent buildings and smart grids will provide enabling technologies required for smart cities.
This ecosystem must make sense business-wise and therefore cover the needs of various types of industrial stakeholders: device manufacturers, telecom operators, service providers, and companies acting as users. SITAC will deliver an open platform enabling such actors to monetize their products and services – whether communication infrastructures, installed sensors, data flows or labour – as well as share revenue, much in the way that cloud computing platforms do.
The project will innovate through the usage of the “social networking” paradigm in order to facilitate and unify interactions both between people and devices and between devices. It will propose a distributed framework for enabling the Web-based service representation of smart spaces and the object they include. Usage of co-creative methodologies will also foster the development of services by and for “the crowd”, i.e., a large community of developers and users.
Usage scenarios and their iterative design in various application domains will provide an understanding of how SITAC will be able to act as a mediator between individuals and create the added value and innovation that emerges from crowds.
The project will develop a platform-neutral reference architecture with enabling technologies for creating a common platform for heterogeneous networks capable of addressing the challenges of scalability, adaptability and security. This architecture will support distributed and heterogeneous environments and address a spectrum of network-based configurations, ranging from client-server style used in clouds with powerful resources to command-and-control style of resource-constrained sensor-actuator networks. This architecture will also allow for heterogeneous networks (and infrastructure) to be exposed in order to make it tangible (i.e. perceptible and possible to manipulate) for a device owner so that he/she could consciously select (or build) a relevant network infrastructure according to his/her needs.
In order to enhance local decision making, enabled by ever more powerful network nodes, thus decreasing the amount of data flows, technologies and architectural models will be developed for improved reasoning and control in a system of sensor-actuator nodes. This includes content analysis and management in nodes, as well as enabling technologies for creating and managing sensor-actuator networks with appropriate QoS and security characteristics.
Since not all sensors-actuators can be smartened, especially those with stringent power consumption constraints, a new metaphor will be introduced based on collecting, filtering, aggregating and analysing of large amounts of data and proactively anticipating the upcoming needs of co-operating agents inside a social network.
Furthermore, usage of semantic interoperability and context-awareness techniques will facilitate delivery of information at the right place at the right time. In this respect, SITAC will focus on dynamic and behavioural interoperability and meeting quality requirements in dynamic situations, with design time support of configuration, scalability and optimization, whilst reliability, security and performance requirements are dealt with at run-time.
The business, social and technical models and solutions to be developed will be validated by a set of demonstrators in a variety of domains including home, transport, public safety, well-being, public administration.
SITAC contributes to the ITEA Roadmap “Infrastructures & basic services” and “Networks & computing”. The project will build on results from previous ITEA projects like SODA, ESNA and DiYSE.