Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) released a new iteration of its Internet of Things (IoT) platform that should improve connectivity and management of connected devices.

Version 1.2 comes with numerous upgrades to simplify connectivity and allow better management of heterogeneous devices and applications connected to the IoT. The most notable enhancement enables users to connect with a wider range of devices using a wider set of standards.

IoT Integration Problems

According to a statement from HPE, version 1.2 dramatically simplifies the integration of diverse devices that have different communications protocols. The platform itself is designed to scale to billions of transactions.

It addresses a persistent challenge with the IoT. Specifically, there needs to be a single communication standard that enables devices to speak to other connected devices if the IoT is to reach its full potential.

The sheer magnitude of the IoT’s current communications disconnect is enormous and likely to grow. Depending on the source, the IoT will be consist of anywhere from 20 billion to 50 billion sensors by 2020.

In an ideal world, those sensors will connect and communicate with the cloud and each other, creating a  “super web,” where all devices talk to each other and where data can be transferred easily between devices and clouds.

But right now, IoT devices do not speak a single language. Instead, groups of devices that speak the same language communicate with each other, but are unable to communicate with devices speaking a different language.

HPE’s IoT Platform

Nigel Upton, director and general manager of IoT at HPE, told CMSWire that the HPE Universal IoT Platform (UIoT) uses the Network Interworking Proxy (NIP) layer at the southbound layer of the stack to convert the inbound protocol into the one M2M data model complaint format.

“At the northbound layer, the data is exposed via one M2M compliant API’s via the Data Services Cloud (DSC) to the various Enterprise specific applications.  So in effect the UIoT platform harmonizes the various IoT languages from the devices into the common format and then exposes this at a granular level if required to the end applications, hence simplifying the integration of diverse devices," he said.

A northbound layer is an interface that allows a particular component of a network to communicate with a higher-level component. A  southbound interface allows a particular network component to communicate with a lower-level component.

Functions of northbound layers include management solutions for automation and orchestration, and the sharing of actionable data between systems. Southbound layers include network virtualization  or the integration of a distributed computing network.

Learning Opportunities

The UIoT Platform is also aligned with the M2M industry standard and is designed to be industry and vendor-agnostic. This should enable IoT operators to simultaneously manage heterogeneous sets of sensors, operate vertical applications on machine-to-machine (M2M) devices, as well as process, analyze and monetize data in a single cloud platform.

More About HPE's IoT Platform

Other version 1.2 improvements include:

  • Device Management: standardized device lifecycle management (M2M) across disparate IoT gateways, devices and underlying networks
  • Mashup: The ability to enrich data from the devices with external data sources and in doing so providing contextual data that provides greater insights
  • Developer Portal: sophisticated application development environment for developers and partners
  • Data analytics: Discovery meaningful patterns in data collected from sensors to derive business insights using HPE Vertica and HPE Haven OnDemand
  • Enhanced Data Security: Uses key exchanges and Codec libraries to interpret data flows in a secure manner

The IoT Challenge

Asked what is the biggest challenge facing enterprises looking to exploit the IoT for better business, Upton said, “Our clients tend to fall in two camps. The first have started with IoT and been driven by 'killer' applications. When they try and scale and integrate, they run into significant issues. We solve those problems by providing a horizontal platform that creates a common data model, common analytics and most critically, the ability to mash up data to create richer and more contextual information.

“The second thing is the pursuit of value from their IoT investments. Many recognize the need to invest but don’t fully understand where the value is going to come from. Hence they need a flexible system that allows them to ingest data for sources other than purely their connected devices/objects and easily integrate with their existing systems, and especially to develop micro services that enable the data to be contextualized and utilized by enterprise applications. “

He also said enterprises of all sizes need something that enables them to start small but grow along with with their use of the IoT. Over the coming months, HPE will be looking to accelerate onboarding and integration, and increasing the amount of use case micro services to get to revenue faster.