Towards the Web of Things: Web Mashups for Embedded Devices @ MEM 2009

Dominique Guinard and Vlad Trifa, Towards the Web of Things: Web Mashups for Embedded Devices

Dominique Guinard presents this paper. (You might wonder how I manage to both present it and blog about it, well this is thanks to Ghislain Fourny who wrote a summary of my talk).
After introducing a couple of smart objects and noticing that the audience is uncool as nobody has a Poken, Dominique asks how we are going to deal with the 1000+ smart objects each person is going to have within the next 5 to 10 years. Communicating with these objects could be made easier with Mash-ups.

The agenda will consist of a discussion of the Web of Things, the introduction of a Web-oriented architecture of the real world, the demonstration of two prototypes one of which is going to crash, and finally real-world Mash-ups.

1. Resource design: each resource is accessed through a URL, e.g.,
2. Representation design: XHTML would be the default, JSON would be better for parsing and XML would be ideal for integration
3. Uniform interface: the HTTP protocol does the job with GET, PUT, DELETE, POST. HTTP headers tell what data is being sent, and HTTP bodies contain the data.

The integration could be done through a smart gateway which discovers the devices, understands their API and exposes them as a RESTful API. Dominique mentions that Nokia is going to introduce a home control center, which will, so he says, fortunately for his work be proprietary. As opposed to the integration with the smart gateway, a direct integration would consist of smart objects having all a RESTful API.

Dominique attempts a demonstration. He turns on a sensor which gets an IP address. Two LEDs indicate that it is on the web. With an AJAX website developed with the Google Web Toolkit, Dominique selects the sensor URL and explores its services, described using JSON.

The goal of the next example is to integrate smart plugs (Ploggs) thanks to the smart gateway. Dominique plugs one of them to his smart phone, the other one to his computer and starts the gateway. Using three rounds of bluetooth, the gateway identifies all phones, well, plugs (as of course everybody in the room kindly turned off their phones upon Dominique’s request). Then Dominique navigates to the gateway URL and notices with surprise that his computer consumes 80W.

In order to compose real-world Mash-ups using these devices and this architecture, it is possible to use Yahoo pipes, Microsoft Popfly, etc. For the example, he uses his own program showing diagrams of the consumption of his devices. After 20 seconds, the data are plotted and Dominique notices that his smart phone only consumes a cool 4W.

Eventually, he introduces a physical Mash-up with an ambient energy meter, which is a Mash-up made of Ploggs, Sun Spots and gateways.

Dominique concludes by considering REST as a suitable approach for small embedded applications, although it would be nice to have asynchronous mechanisms so that they are investigating protocols like XMPP. Mash-up editors would also be nice to have.

The video of the prototype in this presentation is available on:
The presentation is available below:


author = {Dominique Guinard and Vlad Trifa},
title = {Towards the Web of Things: Web Mashups for Embedded Devices},
year = {2009},
month = apr,
booktitle = {Workshop on Mashups, Enterprise Mashups and Lightweight Composition on the Web (MEM 2009), in proceedings of WWW (International World Wide Web Conferences)},
address = {Madrid, Spain}

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