The Internet of Things

OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY HAS JOINED THE WORLD’S technology leaders — including LG, Microsoft, and Qualcomm — to advance the collaborative development of the “Internet of Things.”

The “Internet of Things” (nicknamed IoT) is a network of devices that exchange information — anything from sensors in public and private buildings to full-scale “smart cities.”

“Simply put,” writes Jacob Morgan in Forbes magazine, “this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.”

In sum, Morgan says, “If it has an on and off switch, then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.”

The number of connected devices is predicted to increase by another 30 percent in 2016, according to Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company.

For all these devices to connect and communicate seamlessly, there needs to be a common underlying technology. Toward that end, OSU is part of the AllSeen Alliance, a coalition of more than 200 companies and technical supporters that develop standard interfaces for “Internet of Things” projects.

Officials at the OSU College of Engineering’s Center for Applied Systems and Software (CASS) became interested in the “Internet of Things” as a key technology for student employees to master. The center’s expertise in open-source technologies — source code that is open to the public to improve and change — was the basis for the collaboration with the AllSeen Alliance. That group’s primary software is an open-source framework called AllJoyn that allows devices and apps to communicate with one another.

CASS will run tests for AllJoyn, verify that all functions run correctly before each quarterly release cycle, and practice to adjust to new tools and requirements. This project will provide student employees an opportunity to work with cutting-edge software that will be deployed to millions of devices.

Rachel Robertson is strategic communications coordinator for the Oregon State University College of Engineering.