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Why the Internet of Things (IoT) as a Special Theme for SATURN 2016?

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Why the Internet of Things (IoT) as a special theme for SATURN 2016?
by Amine Chigani and Jørn Ølmheim

Over the past decade, SATURN has built a community of software architecture practitioners and researchers that is passionate about advancing the state of practice and quality of software development through software architecture. So who is better than this community and this conference to cut through the hype and discuss real architecture challenges and solutions to building IoT reference architectures, products, and services?

Now, why IoT and not some other theme?

The short answer is that it feels like everyone is talking about it. But the more intriguing motivation is the 2015 World Economic Forum identifying IoT and related technologies in its top ten priorities.

OK, but who is creating the hype?

Well, Gartner projects that around 50 billion devices, machines, and objects will connect to the Internet in the next 5 years. This is compared to a few billion people who are currently connected to the consumer Internet (and they are still a challenge to handle). A variety of large organizations such as ABB, Cisco, General Electric, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, National Instruments, Siemens, and many others are focusing large resources in this emerging area. Venture capital is spurring a lot of IoT startups too. Unlike other waves of Internet technology transformations, IoT is touching both the consumer and the industrial sectors alike. One club where both of these worlds meet now is the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). After incubation on March 27, 2014 with only five founding members, the IIC now boosts more than 200 members from across the globe and is growing weekly.

What Industrial Internet are you speaking of?

Oh! This IoT thing goes by many names. The folks at the Industrial Internet talk about an internet of big things spitting out exabytes of sensor data. In China, there is a reference to Internet+. Of course, Germany has to have its own initiative with a cool name: Industry 4.0. To be even more inclusive, Cisco goes as far as the Internet of Everything. By the time we hold the conference, we will have few more perhaps.

I see. Why should architects care?

That's a good question! Have you heard about the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture that recently came out of IIC? The European Union folks spent a couple of years coming up with their IoT Architecture too. Let's stop at these two examples without going into the plethora of reference architectures and platforms for IoT that are out there. How many of these architectures can the SATURN community call architectures with capital A?

So this is real for architects. There are many software architects and engineers who are in in the midst of the IoT hype, and have to guide business leaders and technology executives to make sense of emerging IoT platforms, products, and services. Many are leading efforts to architect and build the technology infrastructure and solutions to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by moving into a more connected enterprise. This is why we thought we would highlight this theme and see what we can say about it.

How do we intend to run the IoT track?

We will bring together software architecture practitioners and researchers to share and learn from real-world experiences tackling architecture challenges in the IoT space. Don't worry! This will continue to feel like an architecture discussion. We will organize the track in a way that addresses the following questions:

  • What architecture challenges do IoT problems highlight?
  • What are the key quality attributes of IoT solutions, products, or platforms?
  • What architecture patterns and tactics are best suited to address these problems and to achieve these key quality attributes?

The IoT theme is intended to provide a relevant, large-enough problem space for attendees to engage in deep discussions and learning about real-world applications of architecture principles. Building on the software architecture technology and best practices of the past 25 years, speakers will share novel design and architecture advances in machine-to-machine connectivity, time-series data, big-data analytics, containerization, microservice design, cloud-native development, platforms, user experience, and cyber security as well as other architecture topics that provide the foundation for IoT solutions.

We will put together a track that blends both methodology and practice, but with a little bias toward submissions that demonstrate the value of software architecture in the successful delivery of quality software solutions in IoT space.

How can you contribute?

Submit a session proposal to this track and share this blog with your network. If you stumbled across this blog post by searching for what is happening in the IoT space, then check out the SATURN 2016 Call for Submissions.

Now that you found this blog, bookmark it and come back again as we plan to keep the discussion going. So stay tuned!

Amine Chigani, GE Digital
Jørn Ølmheim, Statoil

SATURN 2016 Technical Co-Chairs

About the Author

Bill Pollak

Contact Bill Pollak
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