Discussion forums have little negative commentary on MQTT, so we may very arguably see more of its usage discussed for IoT connectivity going forward. Image Source: Pentaho

Hitachi Group company Pentaho has noted news of its Labs division now creating an integration with MQTT, a popular machine-to-machine (M2M) IoT transport protocol, so are all of our IoT integration woes quelled and appeased now?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has problems. There are device security problems, data transport problems, Application Programming Interface (API) connectivity problems and data integration problems… to name just a handful.

At its widest level the information technology industry is working where it can to attempt to provide agreed standards, protocols and special interest groups (SIGs) to lock down the inconsistencies and provide some means of platform agreement upon which we can all build. Latest to tackle the IoT data integration challenge is data analytics company Pentaho.

Getting cute on MQTT

Pentaho Labs has created an integration with MQTT, a machine-to-machine (M2M) IoT transport protocol, to act as the connecting link between physical devices and the data integration process. But what is MQTT?

MQTT stands for Message Queuing Telemetry Transport and it was created in 1999 to aid in the monitoring of an oil pipeline through the desert. Technology researchers needed a ‘battery power & bandwidth-efficient’ protocol to govern the exchange of data down a communications pipe (initially that pipe was a satellite link).

Pentaho Labs says its  MQTT integration builds on complementary open source foundations and reminds us that MQTT has an extensive ecosystem of libraries and support. It is agreed to be useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.

Ingest, interact, blend & react

According to Pentaho Labs VP Ken Wood, the firm looked at the need to ingest, interact, blend and react with incoming streams of IoT data.

“The ability to combine IoT data with data from business systems, or other data sources, is a unique capability which makes data integration a critical competency for IoT initiatives, while reducing unforeseen challenges for these early adopters. MQTT  presents a unique opportunity for Pentaho to advance big data architectures, integrate with complex data and incorporate modern analytics to capitalize on the promise of IoT,” said Wood, in a press statement.

Details on the MQTT projects page clarify some popularized use cases for the protocol which include real-time avatar rendering of British Sign Language, Andy’s Twittering House the house that twitters and FloodNet, a system for monitoring river levels and environmental information to provide early warning of flooding.

An end to IoT protocol woes?

So is MQTT the answer? Will the IoT suffer no more connectivity data transport integration headaches? Is Pentaho’s move insightful and should it be taken as a point of steerage for all firms looking to bring harmony into IoT connectivity environments?

This FAQ at HiveMQ provides a more technical breakdown of how MQTT works and how it differs from HTTP (as you will know it from the web) as a data transport mechanism. Technologists (and indeed software developers) will typically argue about the relative scalability and wider functionality of each protocol to attempt to validate its relative worth… and that word scalability will come up time and time again as the IoT grows.

Discussion forums have little negative commentary on MQTT as of late 2016 at the time of writing, so we may very arguably see more of its usage discussed for IoT connectivity going forward.

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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.