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What Did the Smart Thing Say? Semantic Interoperability for the IoT

May 2016 Presentation
Cory Henson (Robert Bosch LLC), João de Sousa (Robert Bosch LLC)

This talk presents motivating use cases and example technologies to help realize the promise of the Internet of Things, in particular, semantic models and protocols.


Software Engineering Institute




The ability of applications and services to operate across heterogeneous devices and domains is a major barrier to realizing the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT). A primary challenge is to develop standards and best practices that enable the seamless integration of multimodal data. This integrated data could support new types of applications and services that facilitate more comprehensive understanding, insights, and experiences with the things and people around us.

The goal is to achieve semantic interoperability, that is, to represent and exchange information in a form whose meaning is independent of the application generating or using it. Semantic interoperability accomplishes two important objectives:

  1. It enables service-level integration of IoT systems constructed using components from different vendors.
  2. It allows aggregation of data from different domains, such as systems in smart homes, smart cars, and smart cities, to allow for comprehensive data management and analytics.

Significant new business and innovation opportunities will emerge from multi-domain IoT systems. To realize that promise, IoT systems must be designed to support some level of commonality by defining interoperable data and metadata models, formats, and communication protocols. This talk presents various motivating use cases and introduces several example technologies to help get there. In particular, we will focus on the definition and use of semantic models and protocols for representing, exchanging, and integrating data useful for context awareness, personalization, and decentralized quality assurance for IoT systems, such as personalizing lights in your smart home.