MachineShop Leverages RESTful APIs to Help Normalize the IoT

Michael Vizard
Mar. 21 2014, 08:08AM EDT

MachineShop plans to deliver a service that normalizes all the data being collected across the Internet of Things (IoT). The MachineShop service, formally launched this week with $3 million in funding, normalizes data formats across a wide range of APIs. It connects devices in a way that provides access to a common set of business logic, event management and communications services that MachineShop manages.

Those services are then exposed through public or private service exchanges to provide authenticated, metered and managed access to these discrete services regardless of who authored or hosts them.

Machine Shop CEO Michael Campbell says the MachineShop service essentially normalizes the Tower of Babel that currently confronts IoT developers. Running on Amazon Web Services (AWS), MachineShop makes use of RESTful APIs to provide access to the service, Campbell says.

Campbell stresses, however, that the MachineShop Services Exchange is not an application development environment. Developers have the flexibility to build applications or integrate systems in any programming language, with any tools and deployed on any infrastructure they choose. In that regard, MachineShop Services Exchange represents an instance of an “anti-platform” in that MachineShop is not trying to lock developers into a specific set of development tools, Campbell says.

Ever since the IoT notion was first promulgated, debate has raged over whether such a thing even exists. The IoT is made up of multiple classes of systems that, from a programming perspective, have very little in common beyond being connected to the Internet. Therefore, some people argue that there’s no such thing as an IoT platform. As IoT programming models evolve over time, that may change. But for the moment there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of real interoperability across the IoT.

What there should be, says Campbell, is a collection of common services that developers can invoke when necessary without having to make a commitment to a specific programming model.

When it comes to the IoT there are no shortage of application development issues, ranging from how to actually deliver continuous updates to actually monetizing the delivery of those updates across multiple embedded systems. None of that is necessarily a showstopper when it comes to IoT. But it’s clear that the longer it takes to resolve these and other issues the longer it will take for developers to turn IoT theory into actual practice.

Michael Vizard

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