I have been talking, eating and breathing iotp2p for so long now that I even forgot someone might not know what it is all about. I think this short presentation, taken from the iotp2p introduction document, should be also in this blog for the benefits of newcomers wondering what this is all about.
iotp2p aims at becoming an open and interoperable standard that allows devices of any size, complexity and purpose to communicate. iotp2p wants to remove the fragmentation of the market that will be inevitably brought by closed non interoperable systems as more and more vendors bring their own solutions to the market. The tell-tales are all there already now, you can purchase lamps that are controlled by their companion mobile phone application but you need a different application to control another vendor’s lamp. Applications might be or might be not available for your specific phone operating system and you wonder what will happen when the company that sold you that lamp will shutdown their servers.
The paradigm iotp2p is closest to, not technically but from a user perspective, is email. email is open and truly interoperable. If I know a person’s email address I can communicate with that person, no matter what my email provider his, no matter what software on what platform I want to use. If that person changes email provider I only need to be notified of his new email address, I don’t need to change my software or provider as well.
The IoT is, currently, going more in the direction chats went. Chat platforms have always been fragmented since their inception. If you know a person on a certain chat service you need to create an account on that chat service in order to talk, if the person changes chat service you need to follow as well to keep in touch. XMPP came, later to the rescue, and iotp2p is, paradigm wise not technically, also similar to that. In the first stages in fact iotp2p was going to use in fact an extension of XMPP, some requirements that were later identified could not be properly fulfilled though, so iotp2p in its current shape arose.
iotp2p brings benefits to the consumer that can control all his appliances and sensors from a single application, or few dedicated applications. Consumer can also switch freely between available applications and hardware vendors without rendering useless the already purchased hardware.
But also vendors have their share of benefits since they get ready libraries, a ready infrastructure and ecosystem of control applications so they don’t need to create everything by themselves. A vendor that makes remotely controlled lamps will only have to do what it does best: the lamps. There will be already applications on the market, for all platforms, that are able to control that lamp. So while the competitors will be struggling getting the application for this or that phone model to at least behave decently another vendor will be ready to ship his product. In future, when new platforms will be available, he will not need to maintain his old software in order to keep existing customers able to use the product.
This is nothing new, mobile phone vendors include email clients in their software, they don’t create a new messaging platform, it just didn’t happen yet for the IoT.