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Oracle reveals strategy for internet of things

Java on the edge, middleware shakes hands with Exadata … and the lights go on

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Oracle has clambered aboard the bandwagon for the internet of things, outlining a strategy for handling the torrents of data the company assumes will shortly flow from myriad smart-ish devices on the network's edge.

The strategy was outlined last week at the Mobile IT Summit, where Oracle's Peter Utzschneider, a product management veep with responsibility for embedded Java, delivered half an hour of turgid slideware a presentation (available on YouTube) that the company says constitutes a “reveal” for its strategy.

Oracle's not created anything new to handle the internet of things, unless you count the name “Oracle Device to Data Centre Platform” and acronym "D2D” to abbreviate that name.

What we do get is the assertion that Java is comfortably the best platform to embed on all those soon-to-be-installed devices out there on the edge. Once a Java app has measured something the rest of Oracle's stack gets in on the action, securing the data as it reaches the enterprise, easing its passage between systems and applications with middleware and curating it in a database.

Oracle's engineered systems (aka Exadata and Big O's other appliances), then crunch the data at speed rather than waiting for it to settle in a SAN.

Rapid processing of data sourced from the internet of things is central to Big O's plan. Utzschneider repeatedly said most value can be derived from machine-generated data if it is analysed in as close to real time as possible. Oracle Event Processing is apparently the tool for that job as an ideal for that job, as Utzschneider said the software can be tuned to understand that a single “event” is actually made up of several pieces of data from different devices. Once the software figures out that an event has occurred, in close to real time, it can issue instructions to the devices to make something desirable happen.

Utzschneider used home automation as his main example for this kind of thing in action, explaining how data sent by several devices around the home could translate into money-saving or comfort-enhancing actions by domestic machines. He also offered congestion-easing adjustments to traffic management as likely to flow from monitoring cars in real time, with road infrastructure savings on offer as a result.

Transport operators will also benefit, he said, thanks to cargo containers being able to tell their owners if they've been opened, are at the right temperature and are likely to be delivered on time.

Utzschneider's examples weren't revelations, as both traffic management and container tracking have been discussed for several years. His presentation also had more than a touch of “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” about it, given the neatness with which Oracle's products fit into the task of capturing, wrangling and producing results from data produced by connected devices. ®

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