Tag Archives: IoT

Meet WSO2 EMM 2.2.0!

We’re excited to announce yet another landmark of our EMM story:  the latest version WSO2 EMM 2.2.0! WSO2 EMM comes with a host of device management, app management and analytics features that benefit IT admins as well as device owners themselves.

Let’s explore some of the new key features of this release.

Device Management

The latest release comes with improved APIs for better extensibility, advanced WiFi profiles and supports device restrictions available in Android 5.0 – Lollipop upwards.

Advanced WiFi Profiles

Some organizations prefer to configure enrolled devices over-the-air (OTA). The previous WSO2 EMM version supported only WEP (simple profile with only SSID and password input) and with 2.2.0 organizations will be able to configure enrolled devices with advanced WiFi profile types, such as EAP, WPA2 and enabling TLS/TTLS.

Device Restrictions

WSO2 EMM 2.2.0 supports all device restrictions (e.g. network configuration, VPN configuration, volume control) available from Android 5.0 – Lollipop upwards. For the complete list of supported devices restrictions, refer to our official documentation (Note: camera setting was delivered in a previous release).

App Catalog at Your Service

In the previous WSO2 EMM distribution, when a mobile application needs to be installed on a device either the admin will have to push applications to the mobile device via the WSO2 EMM Management Console or the device owner will have to be granted access to the Management Console, which is not a practical scenario.

With 2.2.0, WSO2 EMM will have a standalone mobile app called ‘App Catalog’. The App Catalog lists all mobile apps the device owner is permitted to install. Device owners will be facilitated to install mobile apps with just a click of a button and to uninstall and remove them as well.

Whitelisting and Blacklisting Apps

With this feature admins will able to whitelist and blacklist mobile apps already installed in the App Store, so that a specific set of mobile applications are provisioned to device owners. This will also enable fencing unknown malicious mobile apps from accessing corporate data.

Room to Grow – Let’s OEM

With this release WSO2 EMM unlocks a host of features capable of underpinning OEM efforts for organizations using custom Android devices as part of their business strategy (e.g. medical devices, point-of-sale devices, kiosks). Managing custom devices is two-fold; you can either maintain custom firmware or use custom apps signed by the device vendor (or by the firmware key provided by the device vendor). The 2.2.0 distribution comes with a system service app that can be installed on the device and thereby used to perform root operations on the device.

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Automatic Device Enrollment

With this, admins will be able initiate the device auto-enrollment by entering serial numbers via the Management Console for the required devices. Once corresponding devices are handed over to device owners, device owners will be facilitated to select the relevant serial number from the device and generate a one-time-token (OOT), which expires within a predefined duration. To complete the enrollment, you can either type in the OOT or simply scan the QR code.

This will increase the speed of enrolling a large number of devices with a few steps with less device user intervention.

Over-The-Air Firmware Upgrade

This feature will allow admins to upgrade device firmware (apps written to device ROM) via the WSO2 EMM Management Console to one/more devices in one go (e.g. a firmware upgrade to all COPE devices). Device owners, on the other hand, need not worry about manually obtaining the latest firmware, as upgrades will be auto-installed.

Silent App Installation, Update, and Removal

In the previous WSO2 EMM version, app installations would only take place subsequent to a user confirmation. With 2.2.0, apps can be installed, updated, or even removed from the device without the device owner’s consent.

Device Hard Lock

This enables admins to completely block a device user that can only be revoked by an admin. This will help organizations to screen out device users who breach organizational policies.

Device Reboot

This facilitates admins to remotely reboot Android devices via the Management Console.

How are my Devices Doing?

WSO2 EMM 2.2.0 offers an array of features to keep you up-to-date around your device portfolio.

Analytics Dashboard

The WSO2 EMM Device Monitoring Dashboard provides admins with insights into unmanaged and non-compliant devices, device distribution by platform, and BYOD/COPE ownership and connectivity.

Device Details

Admins can view both dynamic and static device related information via the WSO2 EMM Management Console. Viewable static data include memory, CPU details, and OS version. Viewable dynamic data include CPU/memory utilization, battery level, installed apps, connectivity strength, power status (i.e. on battery or plugged into a power source), and GPS location.

Alerts on Alerts

The previous WSO2 EMM Management Console facilitated admins to send alerts to Android devices; from WSO2 EMM 2.2 onwards, admins will be notified on the alert delivery and the device owner’s response to alerts as well, i.e. be notified on whether the alert was delivered, displayed, or dismissed. In addition, admins will be able to send custom alert types as well.

WSO2 Enterprise Mobility Manager (WSO2 EMM) is a 100% open source comprehensive platform supporting iOS, Android and Windows devices, which help organizations to deal with both corporate-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) devices and employee-owned devices with the bring your own device (BYOD) program.

You can download the product here and try it out for yourself. If you come across any issues please feel free to report them via the public JIRA.

CREATE-NET Discusses WSO2 and the Future of IoT

Charalampos Doukas is a researcher at CREATE-NET – or rather, the Center for Research And Telecommunication Experimentation for NETworked communities, the non-profit research center headquartered in Italy. Charalampos spoke at WSO2Con EU 2015 about his research into the world of open source in IoT and where WSO2 stands in this context.

In his 28-minute presentation, Charalampos started off by pointing out that despite the strange lack of discussion about open source in IoT conferences, to him the whole thing started with the open source community “with people connecting their Arduinos to the Internet and sharing their sensor data.” In fact, Pebble and SmartThings (the smart home platform maker acquired by Samsung) both used Arduinos for their 2012 proofs of concept; open source has always been closely tied to IoT platforms as we know them.

From a developer’s perspective, an IoT platform must be able to connect devices to each other and to users and to allow services to consume the data and control these devices, delivering interesting use cases. The main features, thus, are to communicate with and actuate devices, to collect and manage data from them, and to allow user interaction. A “spaghetti” of standardization bodies push a wide variety of protocols and standards for doing all this.

As Charalampos explained, there are over 40 IoT platforms that fulfill these requirements. Some of them, like ThingSpeak and Nimbits, are open-source; Nimbits, one of the oldest, runs on Google App Engine and even integrates with Wolfram Alpha (leading to some interesting use cases). Then there are the likes of SiteWhere, which embeds WSO2 Siddhi for Complex Event Processing and connects to WSO2 Identity Server.

“So, WSO2,” he said in his talk. “This picture is quite clear and illustrates the different layers that you need to build an IoT application and where WSO2 starts. You have the devices, you have the enterprise service bus, and message broker that enable the messaging; you can do the processing and analytics, and on top of that you can have things like a dashboard or web portal for managing data and devices. The new things that are coming – and hopefully will be more and more improved and used – are the device manager and identity server.”

Charalampos quickly sketched out what he sees as the core components of the WSO2 IoT platform: the WSO2 Message Broker, Enterprise Service Bus, Identity Server, Enterprise Mobility Manager, User Engagement Server, API Manager, Business Activity Monitor and Complex Event Processor. Yes, it’s a handful to enunciate – but the way we’ve built our platform, each component is built on the Carbon framework and provides functionality that you can add and subtract as needed. This makes it easy to not just maintain the lightweight stack that an IoT solution typically needs, but also to integrate with other software that provides similar functionality.

One of our biggest changes since then is to create an all-new product, the upcoming WSO2 IoT Server, bringing together the best of the WSO2 platform’s many capabilities into a more out-of-the-box, enterprise-grade server-side IoT device management architecture. Once integrated with WSO2 Data Analytics Server (which contains the functionality of WSO2 CEP and WSO2 BAM), it offers advanced IoT device analytics, including policy-based edge analytics and predictive analytics using machine learning. And true to the roots of IoT, this remains open source.

To explore this future addition to our IoT platform for free, visit wso2.com/products/iot-server/. To watch the full video of Charalampos Doukas’ analysis of the IoT sphere, click here.

 

Managing Identity Across the Internet of Things

 

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It’s estimated that at least 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by end-2020. That’s more than six times the entire population of the world! With this rapid increase of the Internet of Things (IoT), the concept of identity management has extended to the Identity of Things (IDoT).

WSO2 Director of Security Architecture Prabath Siriwardena wrote a white paper that explores the benefits, risks and challenges of implementing an IDoT solution based on the concept of “connected identity”.

He explains that through IDoT, organizations can assign unique identifiers with associated metadata to devices, enabling them to connect and communicate securely and effectively with other entities over the Internet. Your ultimate goal is to reach out to as many customers, partners, distributors, and suppliers as possible that would result in more business interactions and revenue growth. This would greatly increase the number of external digital identities that interact with your enterprise. An external identity provider can be treated as an identity silo that shares its identity data or IDoT via APIs. You first need to trust the identity provider in order to accept the given user identity. Beyond this, you need to speak the same language to transport the identity data. If not, you need to either fix the identity provider’s end to speak the same language or do the same for your own enterprise.

This is not a scalable approach, and will eventually end up in a spaghetti identity anti-pattern. To avoid this, you should build a protocol-agnostic security model. With the identity bus or identity broker pattern, your enterprise isn’t coupled to a specific identity provider or a given federation protocol. The broker maintains the trust relationships between each entity as well as identity tokens between multiple heterogeneous security protocols. This creates a common, connected identity platform that enforces controlling, auditing and monitoring of identities.

Some benefits of this pattern include

  • Frictionless approach to introducing new service and identity providers and removing existing ones.
  • Easy enforcement of new authentication protocols.
  • Ability to perform claim transformations, role mapping, and just-in-time provisioning.
  • Centralized monitoring, auditing and access control.
  • Easy introduction of a new federation protocol.

When implementing an identity broker you need to follow certain fundamentals. It needs to be federation protocol, transport protocol, and authentication protocol agnostic. Additionally, it should provide the ability to perform claim transformations, home realm discovery, and multi-option and multi-step authentication, among others.

WSO2 helps you solve identity management needs across your enterprise applications, services, and APIs by utilizing the full breadth of the WSO2 platform. By combining WSO2 Identity Server’s comprehensive security model based on OAuth 2.0 with WSO2 API Manager, you can easily build an end-to-end API security ecosystem for your enterprise. Avoid vendor lock-in and enable integration across systems with WSO2’s open source model, which acts as a fully functional enterprise identity bus.

To learn more, download Prabath’s white paper here.

WSO2 named as Cool Vendor by Gartner!

Gartner has just named WSO2 as a Cool Vendor in The Internet of Things Analytics, 2016 report.

What does this mean?

Gartner’s IoT Analytics report examines what things vendors are doing in the IoT analytics space. ‘Cool Vendor’ is their designation for vendors that are particularly innovative. “WSO2 is one of the few open-source IoT analytics vendors with an end-to-end IoT platform, extensive application integration capabilities and state-of-the-art analytics features,” reads the report.

We’re grateful (and humbled) to be named here. We’ve been named Cool Vendor eight years ago for our Mashup Server product, but this one’s all for IoT analytics. Let’s drill down into what we’re being recognized for.

Our overarching analytics platform WSO2 Data Analytics Server (DAS), with WSO2 Machine Learner and WSO2 Complex Event Processor available for those who need only a specific subset of DAS’s full functionality. WSO2 DAS can handle all of the needs of IoT analytics – from batch to streaming to predictive analytics to visualization to alerts. These offerings are available as downloads to run on servers, can be run on the cloud on a PaaS and in virtual machines, and we can even host and manage the service for you.

Our strength comes in how well these three integrate with other products to form an IoT platform that can adapt to your needs. As Gartner notes, “the IoT platform uses traditional WSO2 application integration capabilities, including the WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, adapters to a wide range of platforms and applications, the WSO2 API Manager and other capabilities.” Iot server, which spans all IoT related capability, is also on the way. It handles device management and many others and folds into the rest of our platform – of course, everything’s open source.

Of course, you needn’t take our word for it. Gartner’s report is readily available at https://www.gartner.com/doc/3314217/cool-vendors-internet-things-analytics. Do pay them a visit and see exactly why they chose us as cool vendors. To learn more about analytics “on the edge”, as it were, visit http://wso2.com/analytics and http://wso2.com/iot to see what we can do for you.

Event-Driven Architecture and the Internet of Things

It’s common knowledge now that the Internet of Things is projected to be a multi-trillion dollar market with billions of devices expected to be sold in a few years. It’s happening already. What’s driving IoT is a combination of low-cost hardware and lower power communications, thus enabling virtually everything to become connected cheaply. Even Facebook talked about it in their recent F8 conference (photo by Maurizio Pesce). 

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And why wouldn’t they? A vast array of devices that make our lives easier and smarter are flooding the market ranging from fuel-efficient thermostats, security systems, drones, and robots, among others. The industrial market for connected control and monitoring has existed and will expand in automated factories, logistics automation, and building automation. However, efficiencies are being found with new areas. For instance, connected tools for the construction site enable construction companies to better manage construction processes. We are also seeing increased intelligence from what can be referred to as the network effect – the excess value created by the combination of devices all being on a network.

What’s remarkable is that all IoT protocols share one common characteristic, i.e. they are all designed around publish/subscribe. The benefit of publish/subscribe event driven computing is simplicity and efficiency.

Devices or endpoints can be dynamic, and added or lost with little impact to the system. New devices can be discovered and rules applied to add them to the network and establish their functionality. All IoT standards support some form of discovery mechanism so that new devices can be added as near seamlessly as possible. Over the air a message can be delivered once to many listeners simultaneously without any extra effort by the publisher.

Addressing The Challenges

All of this efficiency and flexibility sounds too good to be true? You guessed right. The greatest challenge with this is security and privacy. While most protocols support encryption of messages, there are serious issues with security and privacy with today’s protocols. There are many IoT protocols and the diversity indicates a lot of devices will not be secure and it is likely that different protocols will have different vulnerabilities. Authentication of devices is not generally performed, so various attacks based on impersonation are possible.

Most devices and protocols don’t automate software updating and complicated action is needed sometimes to update software on devices. This can lead to vulnerabilities persisting for long periods. However, eventually, these issues will be worked out and devices will automatically download authenticated updates. The packets will be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping and it will be harder to hack IoT device security, albeit this could take years. Enterprise versions of devices will undoubtedly flourish, thereby supporting better security as this will be a requirement for enterprise adoption.

Publish/subscribe generates a lot of excitement due to the agility it gives people to leverage information easily, thus enabling faster innovation and more network effect. Point-to-point technologies lead to brittle architectures that are burdensome to add or change functionality.

WSO2 has staked out a significant amount of mindshare and software to support IoT technologies. WSO2 helps companies with its lean, open-source componentized event driven messaging and mediation technology that can go into devices and sensors for communication between devices and services on hubs, in the cloud or elsewhere; big data components for streaming, storing and analyzing data from devices; process automation and device management for IoT and application management software for IoT applications and devices. WSO2 can help large and small firms deploying or building IoT devices to bring products to market sooner and make their devices or applications smarter, easier, and cheaper to manage.

To learn more about event-driven architecture refer to our white paper – Event-Driven Architecture: The Path to Increased Agility and High Expandability

Want to know more about using analytics to architect solutions? Read  IoT Analytics: Using Big Data to Architect IoT Solutions

 

One hack to make them all… One bot to rule them!

They moved, they shimmied, they even kept in tune with some Sri Lankan papare music, andhack-logo  we are not talking about the students of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, although they showed us some off-the-charts talent themselves. It was all about the bot stuff at the WSO2 Hackathon 2015!

Partnering with Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) and the Computer Science Club (CSC), the WSO2 Hackathon set the stage exclusively for SoIC students to unleash their brilliance in robotics technology. Held April 18 at Indiana University Bloomington, all 20 participants (6 teams and 2 individuals) successfully completed the challenge of building an autonomous robot in eight hours, connecting it to the WSO2 middleware platform.

Team Double Stuffed Corey-O’s emerged winners of the hackathon based on overall performance. Team members Jessica Pusateri, Corey Denault and Dakota Langdon walked away with a Bose QuietComfort® 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphone each.

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#WSO2Hackathon was trending on Twitter throughout the day, with Tyler Citrin from team Squad being awarded a Beats Pill Speaker & Holder for his entertaining tweets. Xiaoyue Hong from team Soysan won a Huawei TalkBand B2 for the best selfie during the hackathon.

Apart from these prizes, two deserving roboticists from SoIC who showed exceptional talent during the hackathon, Di Zhong and Corey Denault, were awarded fully sponsored one month long summer internships at the WSO2 Office in Sri Lanka, inclusive of a week-long tour across the island.

This eight hour hackathon was the second in a series of WSO2 Hackathons, focusing on specific areas of expertise in the industry. The objective for this hackathon was for the robots to capture motion and environmental changes via sensors, and perform specific tasks in their given environment. This challenge thereby focused heavily on the Internet of Things (IoT), and how more connected devices and applications are in today’s rapidly advancing connected world.

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The talent unearthed at Indiana University was nothing short of exceptional. “The hackathon went beyond our expectations. It was a success not only in terms of fostering greater use of open source technologies and IoT architecture, but also in terms of encouraging innovation among this new community of coders”, said Director of API Architecture at WSO2, Sumedha Rubasinghe. “We are definitely looking at hosting similar events in the future.”

The winning team, Double Stuffed Corey-O’s, said, “It was a lot of fun, first of all, we had a great time. We’ve never had this kind of experience with robotics. It was cool to see your code actually do something physical in the real world!”

Team member Jessica Pusateri also added about the WSO2 Hackathon “I can’t even imagine how much planning went into (organizing) this, because it all went really smoothly. It was really really fun!”

Visit http://wso2hackathon.com/ for more information about WSO2 Hackathons

WSO2 Summer School returns for the sixth year

It is officially summer in the northern hemisphere and as always we are happy to summer-school-2014-logobring you our popular Summer School program. Since 2009, our interactive web-based program has helped thousands of architects and developers learn about upcoming technologies and best practices for integrating and deploying enterprise applications.

This year for our sixth year of Summer School, we have exciting new classes on IoT to discuss the latest developments and get a deeper understanding of the challenges that lie ahead.

I will be kicking off the first session tomorrow, providing an introduction and reference architecture for IoT. This session will be followed by:

Don’t miss out on this once-a-year opportunity to boost your knowledge on the evolving needs of  today’s enterprise – register today!

– Afkham Azeez, Director of Architecture at WSO2