Solving The Internet of Everything Interoperability Problem

 In CloudRail

The Internet of Everything (and the Internet of Things) has one massive problem. It is next to impossible for developers to integrate multiple devices into their application.

Each device has something known as an application program interface (or API) that allows developers to write code to interact with, or read data from, the product or service. But yet, it’s not possible to integrate every device in code in the same way. If you don’t know about coding, the best way to think about this is imagining as if the Nest API speaks German, whereas Dropbox’s API speaks English and Philips Hue’s API speaks Spanish.

This constant translation, the Internet of Everything Interoperability problem, causes many difficulties for developers, even within the same category of devices and services. When writing a program for smart thermostats, a developer has to integrate separate APIs for both Nest devices and Netatmo devices.

If you are a Mac user, you know the frustrations of needing a piece of software that is only available for Windows. Or, maybe, as an Android user, you know how annoying it is waiting for the Android version of an iPhone app. The Internet of Everything Interoperability problem is that, and more.

But, when every piece of data can be read and interacted with by every other device and service, the true power of The Internet of Everything comes into full view.

A truly connected smart home, for example, should have every device able to read the status of your electricity meter. This way, you can keep your electricity completely within budget. Your Hue Light bulbs put on a light show whenever you are playing music? Well, if the Interoperability problem is solved, every device connected to the system, the bulbs, the microphone, everything, would know to not do it so your bills don’t go into the red that month.

For the full Internet of Everything, data shouldn’t also be location dependent. Consider that one thing that can makes us ill is changing temperatures from one place to another. What should happen is your car’s thermostat and your home’s thermostat should be able to talk to your office’s thermostat. They should then adjust themselves based on the temperatures you have been experiencing throughout the day.

Why There is an Interoperability Problem in The First Place

With all the use cases for the Internet of Everything, you might wonder why there is an interoperability problem in the first place. There are actually two main, and simple, reasons for this.

The first is just one of greed. Many companies would rather that you just use their system and products. By having a lockin within the APIs, the manufactures believe that more people will only by devices of one brand. This is also known as the “Walled Garden” problem, and this is the reason why Apple’s Appstore doesn’t allow people to mention their Android Apps in descriptions. The idea is that once you are in the manufactures’ system, you can only use devices and products they have made and approved.

The second problem is just a matter of history. Some old APIs may have just not considered the possibility or their users to integrate the wide variety of devices in the Internet of Everything within their applications.

Possible Solutions to Interoperability problems for the Internet of Everything

Of course, one solution would be for everything to start using the same kind of API. This is unlikely to happen, and not just for the reasons above. Developing an API for devices takes time on the device or service providers part, and it is possible that many APIs that developers want to use are no longer being worked on. These so-called Legacy APIs would then still have to be integrated into the developer’s project manually, meaning that the problems of an increased development time would still exist.

Another solution would be to provide one resource for developers to access the information they need on each API, the hypercat.io solution. Hypercat attempts to standardise the data types that developers need to connect to an API, and catalog each one. This still causes the problem of developers not being able to react that fast to new developments within the Internet of Everything due to needing to read the manual for each new service or device they wish to integrate.

It might just be possible to ignore the problem of Internet of Everything interoperability and have developers integrate each service they want to use. Although applications can be developed underneath these conditions, the Internet of Everything demands constant, fast, updates. The Internet of Everything is moving forward at an unprecedented pace, with new services and devices coming out constantly. Developers simply can’t keep up with every development.

The CloudRail Solution to Internet of Everything Interoperability

The other solution is the one that we, CloudRail provide; creating one universal API that allows developers to learn and integrate just one item in their applications, while still being able to access every device.

This is adaptable to every single API that comes out. With the CloudRail solution, although we have made many different connections ourselves (including to untypical applications for an Internet of Everything project, such as Twilio), we also have given the power back to the community. Any developer can add any integration that they need, and then allow other developers to use this new integration.

Once a developer has signed up for CloudRail, they never have to worry about learning a new API ever again, and every device and service they could want to access is available to them.

If you are a developer, we would love for you to build the future of the Internet with us. Let’s unlock the full power of the Internet of Everything, together. It starts with you joining the CloudRail community.

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