The Eclipse Foundation is probably best known for its work on the Eclipse IDE, but the project is also home to more than 250 open-source projects that are hosted on the group’s servers. One major goal of the foundation has always been to bring together industry players to work on standards and their implementation together, and one of the latest areas Eclipse has become involved in is the Internet of Things.
As Ian Skerrett, the foundation’s Vice President of Marketing and Ecosystem told me, most of today’s Internet of Things products are still built on top of proprietary solutions. As an open-source community, the Eclipse Foundation hopes to change this by working on open standards for machine-to-machine (M2M) protocols and tools for making an open Internet of Things a reality. The Internet, Skerrett noted, was built on top of these kinds of open standards, and for the Internet of Things to really take off, it also needs to run based on the same principles.
Currently, IBM, Sierra Wireless, Eurotech and Axeda have come together under the umbrella of the Eclipse Foundation to work on specs and implementations, but Skerrett told me he hopes that more companies will join them over time. Already, he stressed, there are a number of individuals and academic projects that are contributing to the M2M open-source projects hosted by the foundation.
To push this idea forward, the Eclipse Foundation is adding four new open-source projects to its stable today. The Ponte project, for example, aims to create a REST API that makes it easier for developers to read and write data from sensors and actuators via M2M protocols and to exchange data between protocols. Also new are Eclipse SCADA, an open source project for monitoring and controlling large-scale industrial projects on the scale of solar farms, and Concierge, an implementation of the OSGi core specs for small embedded devices. The fourth new project is Kura, a framework for M2M gateways. Most of these gateways today tend to be proprietary, but the idea behind Kura is to abstract these complexities away to make it easier for Java developers to build M2M applications.
The focus right now, Skerrett said, is to build a community around these projects, as well as the existing ones the foundation already hosted. Thanks to the maker movement, Arduino and the Raspberry Pi, open-source developers are taking a stronger interest in hardware-centric projects. And while we’re still in the early days of the Internet of Things, Skerrett hopes that this interest will also translate into more interest in the foundation’s work in this space.