A European company specializing in embedded systems announced today it would make available on the Internet of Things a resource that has become increasingly important to the actual Internet (The Internet With Some People, But Mostly 'Bots, Trolls and Marketing Remoras).
The Internet of Things, according to Amaro, Italy-based EuroTech, consists of any device with the ability to gather and process information, whether it's mounted in buildings, vehicles or carried by humans, and communicate that data across a network.
Not surprisingly, it's difficult for many of those devices to communicate their data with the servers interested in hearing from them.
EuroTech has created own cloud designed to make it easier for machines to find one another in this crazy, mixed-up world and help companies too small to build their own Internet-of-Things meeting places a place to let their devices go and do what comes naturally (or industrially, depending on your point of view).
The Everyware Cloud 2.0 is a software development and runtime platform designed to allow customers to connect automated sensors, embedded devises, mobile devices and other automated gear using relatively standard standards and protocols optimized for efficient machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
The cloud as middleware tier in multi-tier web apps
Everyware Cloud 2.0 isn't quite "open" and "standard." It depends on Eurotech's own Everyware Software Framework (ESF) – a proprietary, specialized layer of middleware that installs on top of the operating system of an embedded device, but below the application that runs it.
ESF allows companies with devices that are too smart to remain unconnected to get connected without having to write all the arcane, low-level systems-management code that differs with each device.
Instead they can write to the APIs in ESF, which handles all the picayune requirements of making software talk to non-standard, non-PC hardware that could be anything from a smartphone to the temperature-regulation monitor on a nuclear-fuel-storage facility.
Everyware Cloud, is "device-independent," meaning in this case that is supports any device with embedded intelligence, as long as the device itself runs ESF.
That's not quite what most people think of as "open," but things are different in the device world. Not everything has the same sense of ethics as the imprecise, fallible, wetware-occluded bags of random biochemistry for which they work. A little extra propriety in the middleware might be acceptable, even in an "open" cloud.
Eurotech's own devices, which range from smart gateways for other devices to embedded systems boards, run Wind River Linux, support development tools, full networking capability, full remote-access, control and remote on/off as well as support for the ESF middleware.
Both ESF and the Everyware Cloud support other vendors' hardware as well as long as they support Eurotech's ESF first.
The real benefit of the Kind-of-Proprietary Cloud of Things, according to Eurotech, is that customers can run analysis and reporting apps on the cloud to crunch the numbers all those lonely devices are sending out in their search for love.
Depending on how immediate the need, data from those devices can be run in real time, at intervals or analyzed in retrospect after all the excitement is over and the fire trucks have gone home.
It's a good option for new services like the one Euro-startup Sensuss is launching to prevent head injuries in sports using helmets with embedded sensors whose data can be transmitted and analyzed by apps running in the Everyware Cloud according to quotes from the company's chief engineer in the Eurotech announcement.
Sounds kosher to me. The first real clouds were also proprietary, as were the first real web-based apps.
The Everyware Cloud isn't designed as a universal solution, but it's certainly a start.
Now we just have to hope our devices are mature and responsible enough to handle all that direct Internet access without individual supervision.
Otherwise the Internet of Things would require the construction of another layer of the network: The Internet of Things That Monitor Networked Things That Can't be Trusted.
That would be too expensive.