May 27th, 2013

The Nuts & Bolts of the Internet of Things

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Category IoT, M2M, Tech Talks

The Nuts and Bolts of IoTA few days ago, I talked with Brian Proffitt of ReadWrite about the Internet of Things (IoT) and I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of his questions.

One of Brian’s first questions was about the difference between M2M and IoT. The best answer I could give him was actually one I had found through an M2M group on LinkedIn: “I see M2M platforms as mainly enabling vertical integration, as they have historically, of a single capability; where I see IoT as more about horizontal integration of multiple capabilities and resources into a larger system. M2M is about communication, IoT is about integration and interoperability.”

So, whereas M2M feeds data into existing vertical silos, IoT is layered on top horizontally, correlating and integrating data from different silos. A good illustration of this vertical–versus-horizontal distinction was provided in a recent More with Mobile article. The realization that the commercial potential of IoT first and foremost requires a new model of data sharing inspired us to create the Layer 7 Data Lens Solution.

Another question that Brian posed was about the protocols and standards underpinning the M2M/IoT ecosystem. Here is my short list of key protocols (in no particular order):

I’d certainly be interested to hear if you had any additions to the list. You’ll find background information about IoT protocols on Telit’s M2M blog and Michael Holdman’s blog. Also, Michael Koster published a very interesting blog post about adding event-driven processing to REST APIs, trying to bridge the necessity of supporting event-driven patterns in IoT within a RESTful API approach.

I’ll be discussing IoT in more detail myself when I take part in Layer 7’s latest API Tech Talk, on Wednesday May 29 at 12pm EDT/9am PDT. If I answer your IoT-related question live during the Tech Talk, Layer 7 will send you a free T-shirt. See you on Wednesday!


  1. The M2M API Analysis from the European Union IOT-Architecture project is also worthwhile:

    Comment by Holger Reinhardt — May 29, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  2. i’m wondering if it would also be a good idea to evolve a standard, hierarchical set of complex verbs for operations on Things? Evolution of a standard dictionary of complex verbs, with platform-specific & Thing-category specific standard libraries of their implementation (all the way down to CRUD), may add a new dimension to the user-experience of humans operating on Things and Things inter-operating with other Things. It may also lend things naturally to get operated upon using voice-commands and other such means of natural interaction with other entities.

    Comment by Niranjan Shukla — June 2, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  3. Also, does MQTT support the Hypermedia constraint?

    Comment by Niranjan Shukla — June 3, 2013 @ 8:14 am

  4. A late entrant for suitable protocols – check out DDP from An overview can be found here

    Comment by Holger Reinhardt — June 15, 2013 @ 1:03 am

  5. You can find Brian’s article here:

    Comment by Holger Reinhardt — June 15, 2013 @ 1:06 am

  6. [...] Layer7 blog: The Nuts & Bolts of the Internet of Things [...]

    Pingback by Layer7 blog: The Nuts & Bolts of the Internet of Things | Holger Reinhardt — June 19, 2013 @ 3:15 am

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