Flappy bird or beautiful plumage? TIBCO’s ultra-lightweight framework promises to simplify & extend Internet of Things (IoT) device integration

We do allow TIBCO to retain its capitals when we write about the firm (it’s a cheap trick in PR circles to capitalize everything), this is because it stands for The Information Bus COmpany.

BACKGROUND NOTE: An enterprise service bus (ESB) or information bus is part of software architecture design and is used for creating and implementing communication between mutually interacting software applications (and their smaller component elements) in what is known as a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

TIBCO’s latest foray into the IoT space sees it announce an ‘ultra-lightweight’ IoT integration solution called Project Flogo.

The software’s tiny (remember, we said ultra-lightweight) open source integration engine allows application and business logic to run on so-called ‘edge’ devices (i.e. out in the IoT world) and so promises to simplify IoT integration challenges.

Myriad compute systems

The firm reminds us that the IoT is full of myriad compute systems and networking devices, which must be able to communicate to drive forward. Thus, without integration, IoT is not possible… or so the argument here goes.

 Gartner published IoT survey findings earlier this year that 43% of respondents cited integration as one of their top three technical challenges. Also Gartner recently reported, that through 2020, 75% of IoT projects will use some form of stand-alone (third-party) integration platform.

Flow-based web UI

Project Flogo simplifies IoT integration with a ‘flow-based’ web User Interface (UI) for building and deploying integration applications directly onto devices. The solution boasts one of the lightest integration engines in existence — with an average runtime footprint that is up to 20 times lighter than Node.js and 50 times lighter than Java (themselves already quite lightweight software footprints) — capable of running locally on IoT edge devices and not just in the cloud.

With such a diminutive footprint, device manufacturers and application developers can offload critical application compute to even the smallest of devices, thereby (so says TIBCO) extending end-user connected experience possibilities and reducing the operational costs associated with architectures that require constant connectivity.

“When we started work on Project Flogo, we did it with the belief that there is a better way to perform integration tasks for IoT devices,” said Matt Quinn, executive vice president, products & technology, and chief technology officer, TIBCO. “We’re pleased to release Project Flogo, and open source this technology to the developer community. We invite developers to leverage TIBCO’s expertise and decades of experience in integration to address the current challenges of integrating IoT solutions. Project Flogo opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities.”

Flogo takes off

The benefits of moving integration applications onto IoT edge devices include the fact that real-time sense-and-respond functionality is better equipped, as resources and decision-making are local. There is also an air gap (a network security measure) to ensure that a secure computer network is physically isolated from unsecured networks. As we move now to ‘tinker’ with the mechanics of the IoT and build it better (we hope) we of course look to security as a major failing and integration can be a key part of this wider effort.

 


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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.