IBM Says New Sensor Software to Manage the ‘Internet of Things’
August 25, 2009 Alex Woodie
In the near future, billions of sensors, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, will populate the world, creating an interconnected web of data to measure everything from package deliveries and vehicular traffic to air quality and the flow of electricity across the power grid. This is the “Internet of things,” as IBM likes to calls it, and if Big Blue has its way, it will be coordinated and choreographed with a new release of WebSphere Sensor Events unveiled last week.
WebSphere Sensor Events is the new name IBM has given to a pair of products, including WebSphere Premises Server and WebSphere Premises RFID server, which were aimed at helping businesses coordinate the flow of data coming in from RFID tags and integrating it with business applications.
With the new version 6.2 release of WebSphere Sensor Events, IBM has outfitted the software with the business event processing technology it obtained from its acquisition of AptSoft in 2008. This new technology from AptSoft brings the sensor software new capabilities in the field of complex event processing, or CEP.
CEP, in effect, is the capability to read pieces of data arriving from many different venues, analyze them for their pertinent values, and then spit out the best, most efficient, or most correct decision. As Timothy Pricket Morgan noted following the AptSoft acquisition last year, CEP is a lot like the human-based mid-level manager that many companies are trying to do away with these days, only it lives as software in a computer. (Actually IBM would rather that we say that it lives in a service oriented architecture [SOA], but since we’re not exactly sure what that means, we’ll just say it’s a piece of software.)
Armed with this CEP capability, WebSphere Sensor Events will make it easy for businesses “to change the decision parameters they are using to act upon sensor data so that they are never locked into a single way of responding to a given situation,” IBM says in its announcement for the new product.
In other words, IBM’s RFID software just got a lot smarter, and will help to “give a voice to physical objects, allowing them to communicate important information in an increasingly interconnected world,” says Martin Wildberger, vice president of IBM’s sensor solutions.
WebSphere Sensor Events runs only on Windows and Linux servers. The software also includes code borrowed from WebSphere and Tivoli product lines, and will be commonly deployed alongside other IBM products, including Cognos, InfoSphere, NetCool, Maximo, ILOG, WebSphere, and Tivoli software, according to IBM.
Undoubtedly, WebSphere Sensor Events will also “give a voice” to i OS servers and applications. But it is unclear if IBM will listen to what they say.