“Superconnector” Bridges Legacy Devices for IoTJune 30, 2015 by Jeff Shepard
The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration to advance the Internet of Everything through the AllJoyn open source software project, today announced the release of the AllJoyn Device System Bridge (DSB), which enables interoperability with legacy and purpose-built device networks. The DSB technology quickly and cost-effectively brings these devices to the AllJoyn open source software framework. AllSeen Alliance member Microsoft Corp. contributed the open source DSB code to AllJoyn.
The AllJoyn DSB allows companies to extend their existing Internet of Things (IoT) interfaces into AllJoyn as a common language for applications spanning consumer, healthcare, industrial and governmental sectors. For example, using the AllJoyn DSB, developers can connect BACnet-based devices for building automation or Z-Wave smart home products to AllJoyn-enabled devices locally or remotely, depending on the design configuration.
AllJoyn, the standard IoT protocol of the AllSeen Alliance, makes it easy for devices and apps to discover and communicate with one another securely regardless of brand, transport, platform or operating system. This greatly simplifies connectivity and communication between devices, services and apps; however, financial and technical limitations often force enterprises to leverage legacy infrastructure and forego new products, technology and services investments.
AllJoyn DSB complements the AllJoyn Gateway Agent, an extension of the AllJoyn software framework that connects AllJoyn devices in a local network to external networks, delivers remote access, device management and fine-grained security and privacy control. By comparison, the AllJoyn DSB acts as a "superconnector" for devices using their existing non-AllJoyn interfaces and creates a virtual version of these devices on the AllJoyn system. This enables other AllJoyn devices and applications to interact with these BACnet, Z-Wave or similar protocol devices as if they were simply additional AllJoyn devices in the AllJoyn system.
"Millions of connected devices exist. We see significant savings for companies that bridge existing automation systems and devices to leverage their existing infrastructure and put it to work in IoT," said Jason Farmer, AllSeen Alliance Gateway Working Group contributor and Lead Program Manager at Microsoft. "Microsoft is committed to making the IoT as accessible, secure, cost-effective and simple as possible. Our DSB contribution to the AllSeen Alliance will help bring real-world applications to market quickly with existing devices and infrastructure, accelerating the Internet of Your Things."
Key Components and Features of AllJoyn DSB: Communication Stack or Interface: provides interconnection to purpose-built device systems; Adapter: creates and manages a virtual device on behalf of each device from the alternative network that can be exposed to an AllJoyn system. This information is consumed by the Bridge; Bridge: creates an application attachment for each device with security settings configured through the bridge configuration interface; Configuration: flexible enough to allow AllJoyn devices and non-AllJoyn devices to interact seamlessly, locally or remotely; and Open standards: provides connectivity, interaction and integration over a variety of protocols including BACnet IP and Z-Wave.
This technology has already been proving to be helpful in solving some of their current connectivity challenges according to Quanta Computer, an AllSeen Alliance member and one of Microsoft's partners. "We build smart home solutions that help monitor living conditions in homes such as air quality, temperature and humidity as well as automate surveillance activities. Using the AllJoyn DSB technology, we were able to quickly prototype and demonstrate solutions to our customers helping us focus our time on their business requirements," said Terrisa Chung, General Manager and Vice President of Quanta Computer.
"Protocol conversion removes major IoT barriers by making existing technologies open and interoperable," said Philip DesAutels, senior director, IoT, AllSeen Alliance. "AllJoyn DSB is a structured framework for secure and thoughtful integration of non-AllJoyn devices into the AllJoyn ecosystem, preserving investment, stretching constrained budgets and expanding the universe of possibilities."