Report on Problem Solving Experiment for Realization of Web-API-based IoT
draft-baba-iot-webapi-00

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Internet Research Task Force                                     H. Baba
Internet-Draft                                   The University of Tokyo
Intended status: Informational                                 Y. Ishida
Expires: May 4, 2017                   Japan Network Enabler Corporation
                                                               T. Amatsu
                                                               H. Masuda
                                      Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.
                                                             K. Kunitake
                                                   BroadBand Tower, Inc.
                                                        October 31, 2016

 Report on Problem Solving Experiment for Realization of Web-API-based
                                  IoT
                        draft-baba-iot-webapi-00

Abstract

   The University of Tokyo (UOT) is currently performing a demonstration
   experiment in COMMA House, the experimental smart-house owned by UOT
   and used as a connected house.  The things installed in the house
   (Things) are operated using applications on smartphones and other
   devices.  The various Things in the smart-house are operated online
   via a Web API that has been created as a prototype.  This report is
   an overview of the experimental demonstration, which is gradually
   clarifying that Web API should be effective for solving issues for
   IoT.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 4, 2017.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Structure of Web API  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Demonstration Tests with Prototype Web API  . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Advantages of Web API with the structure  . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.1.  Security for IoT appliances/devices and the consideration
           of privacy for obtained data  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Mapping of the physical world and the virtual world . . .   6
     4.3.  Mismatch between the digenesis of ICT technology and the
           duration of the use of the Things . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.4.  Speed of standardization of specifications and a large
           number of specifications  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.5.  Interconnectivity, responsibility demarcation points, and
           quality assurance in general  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.6.  Evolution of the product design policy  . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.7.  Change in the design paradigm from enclosure of users to
           design that is more open  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.8.  The problem with increased cost and monetization  . . . .   7
     4.9.  Security in society and consideration of privacy  . . . .   7
   5.  Survey on worldwide trends  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   6.  Future challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   8.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

1.  Introduction

   Outline of Web API and COMMA House

   COMMA House, the smart-house, was built at the Komaba Research Campus
   of UOT in 2011, with the intention of conducting research into
   energy, including HEMS and heat insulation performance.  The smart-

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   house is intended for demonstrations, equipped with solar power
   generation equipment and household lithium ion batteries.  The
   research team arranged the system under discussion with multiple
   businesses so that the concurrent development of value-added
   applications can be materialized for the acceleration of the
   dispersion of smart-houses because energy-related applications alone
   are not sufficient for their consistent dissemination.

   It is presupposed that the value-added apps will be developed by
   third parties that are not directly related to the Things in smart-
   houses and installed in smartphones/tablets.  As part of the joint
   research with private companies, UOT implemented Web API as a
   prototype, to enable flexible manipulation of the appliances within
   the smart-house from the devices.  Value-added apps allow you to
   manipulate the appliances within the smart-house.  In addition, such
   apps were implemented in other demonstrative smart-houses around
   Japan so that installed appliances could be operated based on the
   same mechanism.  The results confirmed that the Web API was capable
   of absorbing differences in communications media and protocols for
   operating Things installed in different smart-houses.

   Many issues with the realization of IoT have already been reported.
   Web API may be a solution to some of those issues.

2.  Structure of Web API

   Figure 1 shows the structure of a prototype Web API implemented by
   UOT.  The structure has two things of note, which are expected to
   greatly benefit the realization of IoT.

      (1) Application to Web API

      It is often said that a special communications protocol should be
      prepared for the operation of the Things.  However, the cost for
      learning or additional resources can be avoided if an existing
      standard protocol is available.  This will be a favorable
      situation for application developers.  Accordingly, the structure
      of prototype Web API permits access from applications with
      standard protocols, such as HTTP and JSON, which are usually used.

      (2) Web API to Things

      The Internet of Things, IoT, is a system that connects everything
      via the Internet.  Needless to say, the Things are limitlessly
      varied in their prices, with differences of up to five or six
      digits.  One might naturally think that the manufacturing cost
      would increase if the existing Things that are not networked were
      connected to the Internet.  It would be unreasonable to try to

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      unite the communications protocols for operating the Things.  In
      other words, the acceptable additional cost is naturally different
      between the Thing worth one dollar and one worth a thousand
      dollars.  Namely, a single communications protocol will not
      suffice to address the difference.

                   Virtual      Driver
                   Machines     Softwares
                   Block        Block                       Things alpha
                 +------------+----------+                  +----------+
                 |            |        +-+                  | +------+ |
                 |            |        |A+-------------------->Firm A| |
                 |            |        +-+                  | +------+ |
                 |            |        +-+                  | +------+ |
                 |   +-----+  |        |B+-------------------->Firm B| |
            +-------->alpha+------->   +-+                  | +------+ |
            |    |   +-----+  |        +-+  +-------------+ | +------+ |
            |    |            |        |C+-->Private Cloud+--->Firm C| |
            |    |            |        +-+  +-------------+ | +------+ |
            |    |            |          |                  |          |
            |    |            |        +-+  +--------+      | +------+ |
            |    |            |        |Z+-->InfraRed+-------->Firm Z| |
   +----+   |    |            |        +-+  +--------+      | +------+ |
   |apps+---+    +------------+----------|                  +----------+
   +----+   |    |            |        +-+
            |    |            |        |a+---------+        +----------+
            |    |            |        +-+         |        | +------+ |
            |    |   +-----+  |        +-+         +---------->Firm a| |
            +-------->beta +------>    |b+------+           | +------+ |
                 |   +-----+  |        +-+      |           | +------+ |
                 |            |        +-+      +------------->Frim b| |
                 |            |        |d+---+              | +------+ |
                 |            |        +-+   |              | +------+ |
                 +------------+----------+   +---------------->Firm d| |
                 |   +-----+  |          |                  | +------+ |
                 |   |gamma|  |          |                  +----------+
                 |   +-----+  |          |                  Things beta
                 +------------+----------+

          Figure 1: Structure of Web API at University of Tokyo.

   A prototype Web API is based on the idea that various communications
   protocols can be used.  It does not matter to users whether the
   communications protocols are united or not.  They are satisfied as
   long as the Things operate properly.  This is similar to the case
   where users do not find it to be an inconvenience if printer
   manufacturers have different types of driver software for operating a
   printer and for printing data from the computer.  For this reason,

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   the authors tentatively call the structure of Web API on the Things
   side the printer driver model.  It is assumed that manufacturers of
   the Things would provide the driver software when the time of IoT
   arrives.

3.  Demonstration Tests with Prototype Web API

   The following Things were used.  They have different communications
   protocols for their operations.  For some, signals of infrared ray
   remote controllers were emulated for operation.

      Electric windows

      Electric blinds

      Lighting (ECHONET Lite/Hue)

      Air conditioners (ECHONET Lite and infrared ray)

      Fans

   Applications developed for the appliances above by third parties are
   as follows:

      Control of windows/air conditioners according to the weather

      Control of the indoor environment according to the sleeping status
      of users

      Control of lighting to respond to early earthquake warnings, such
      as lights turning on

   These applications were easily applied to other smart-houses by
   making changes to the driver portion, after they were implemented at
   COMMA House, regardless of the different types of appliances.

4.  Advantages of Web API with the structure

   The previously mentioned basic advantages of Web API can help solve
   issues in [ID-baba-iot-problems] for the achievement of IoT as
   follows:

4.1.  Security for IoT appliances/devices and the consideration of
      privacy for obtained data

   IoT services are assumed to involve combined appliances and systems
   in many different industries.  Under such circumstances, it is
   important to set responsibility demarcation points to maintain

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   security.  Being called the printer driver model, Web API is expected
   to effectively clarify who should update and what should be updated
   to maintain security.  Web API would enable the control of privacy
   for the obtained data, because it is a mechanism to access all
   appliances.

4.2.  Mapping of the physical world and the virtual world

   Significant labor is required to link applications to the Things.
   The use of a considerable amount of labor can be avoided by making
   the Web API intermediary a series of tasks comprised of installation,
   linking, and calibration, and by performing the tasks like software
   operations.

4.3.  Mismatch between the digenesis of ICT technology and the duration
      of the use of the Things

   The ICT technology used for mobile phones is subject to alteration
   every few years, while the entrance doors are usually used for twenty
   to thirty years.  If Web API is the intermediary, it will absorb the
   mismatch between the ICT and the life of Things.

4.4.  Speed of standardization of specifications and a large number of
      specifications

   There are still a high number of specifications to be introduced into
   IoT appliances/devices.  Additional specifications are under
   consideration.  Such a wide variety of options should not be
   overlooked.  However, the companies that produce and provide services
   are not necessarily familiar with the specifications, just being
   users of the specifications.  The Web API that is compared to a
   printer driver model would support the activities of the companies
   that produce and provide services while they are not bothered by the
   specifications for operating the Things similar to the users of
   printers for computers.

4.5.  Interconnectivity, responsibility demarcation points, and quality
      assurance in general

   IoT services are expected to become multifarious through
   collaboration based on open innovation in the future.  In this case,
   interconnectivity will be secured, and open innovation will be
   accelerated if Web API is used as an intermediary and a point of
   responsibility demarcation.

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4.6.  Evolution of the product design policy

   In the time of IoT, it is anticipated that Things will change from
   those packed with many functions to those with simplified functions
   that are allowed to exhibit their versatility through applications.
   Again, in this case, if interconnectivity is accelerated and
   responsibility demarcation points are clarified as stated above, then
   the collaboration will be accelerated between the providers of the
   Things and the application producers because of the easy-to-
   understand structure of Web API.

4.7.  Change in the design paradigm from enclosure of users to design
      that is more open

   Same as 6 above.

4.8.  The problem with increased cost and monetization

   In some cases, companies hesitate to enter the IoT appliances market
   because of the increased cost for conversion into IoT, the
   effectiveness of which can be hard to see.  More providers will be
   able to develop services/applications based on IoT appliances,
   appliances will do away with more complicated incorporation/
   implementation than necessary and providers will be able to reduce
   costs while adding more advantages if connection via Web API is
   materialized.

4.9.  Security in society and consideration of privacy

   A socially acceptable system is required in order to transmit and
   store varied data collected from IoT appliances and appropriately
   provide consent.  However, it is difficult to solve the issues if
   data is gathered unsystematically.  Web API may help to manage such
   data and solve problems as a system for accessing all appliances.

5.  Survey on worldwide trends

   The world is moving towards the widespread use of Web API.  In todays
   world, having a strong API strategy is not just good software
   practice; it is a powerful business practice and the key to apps that
   connect the Internet of Things (IoT).  Some examples of business
   strategies based around an API:

      - Amazon has built a multibillion-dollar revenue business in
      Amazon Web Services (AWS), leveraging powerful API-based elements
      such as EC2.

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      - Google Maps would be a much smaller business if the only access
      were directly through its website.

      - Twitter has opened up an entire class of businesses and
      analytical modules by sharing its data API and platform.

      - Even Salesforce.com, with over 800,000 developers and more than
      2.5 million applications on the Force.com platform, proudly states
      that API calls drive more than 60 percent of total traffic to the
      site.

6.  Future challenges

   Those who are interested in Web API with the aforementioned structure
   are now collaborating in preparation for the creation of Web API with
   open specifications.  For this, UOT is working to provide the
   opportunity for a discussion that allows private companies to be
   involved.

7.  Security Considerations

   Security issues are described in Section 4.1 and Section 4.9.

8.  Normative References

   [ID-baba-iot-problems]
              Baba, H., Ishida, Y., Amatsu, T., Kunitake, K., and K.
              Maeda, "Problems in and among industries for the prompt
              realization of IoT and safety considerations", 2016,
              <draft-baba-iot-problems>.

Authors' Addresses

   Hiroyuki Baba
   The University of Tokyo
   Institute of Industrial Science
   4-6-1 Komaba
   Meguro-ku, Tokyo  153-8505
   Japan

   Email: hbaba@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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   Yoshiki Ishida
   Japan Network Enabler Corporation
   21F KDDI Otemachi Bldg.
   1-8-1 Otemachi
   Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo  100-0004
   Japan

   Email: ishida@jpne.co.jp

   Takayuki Amatsu
   Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.
   1-1-3 Uchisaiwai-cho
   Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo  100-8560
   Japan

   Email: amatsu.t@tepco.co.jp

   Hiroshi Masuda
   Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.
   1-1-3 Uchisaiwai-cho
   Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo  100-8560
   Japan

   Email: amatsu.t@tepco.co.jp

   Koichi Kunitake
   BroadBand Tower, Inc.
   Uchisaiwaicho Tokyu Bldg.
   1-3-2 Uchisaiwai-cho
   Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo  100-0011
   Japan

   Email: kokunitake@bbtower.co.jp

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