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The Home of SmartFrog and WebWindows

Background

Configured Things believes the way to approach the Internet of Things is through federated, decentralized control, secure configuration management and the controlled sharing of state. We specialize in the configuration management of highly dynamic systems and environments, with a specific emphasis on use cases such as physical and virtualized control rooms, multi-use digital spaces (e.g. stadia)shared meeeting spaces, situational awareness for disaster or event management, and more generally the control of complex collections of devices, services and other "things" of which the previous contexts are examples.

Each of the specified focus areas have something in common - they are a dynamic combination of services, spaces and devices within which humans exist and with which they need to interact or, in the case of advertising, can be interacted with. In each case, information will be gathered, analysed, shared and displayed. The display environment could be in a physical control room with individual and shared display areas, hundreds of thousands of fans at a sports venue to be sensed and engaged by individualized content on digital signage, or it could be virtualised and include disparate individuals seated in their own offices or in the field with portable devices such as tablets and phones. As situations change, games are played or as meetings progress, new services may need to be enabled, commercials to be recalculated and content updated and new people need to share and interact with the data. This requires a strong automation and configuration capability that includes data and its visualization as much as the services which produce them.

Sharing of raw and derived information is key and this has important security and privacy implications. Systems need to adapt to who is within the space and can access the data, in what context, they could be in a secure room or could be out in the field, and also the type of the device and whether it can be trusted (for example whether it is encrypted). These get far more complex in a virtualized cyber-space than in a single fixed secure room. 

Our technologies provide key capabilities required in verticals seeking to grow business through increased automation and real-time visibility. They are all centred around the notion of configuration management, of providing declarative models that are realized to achieve the ends required. The systems produced provide a high degree of security and thus confidence in the properties of the system created and its security.

Federation

Federation is the need to work across administrative boundaries within an overall framework. This work may involve control of the devices, including configuration and management, as well as access to data and information.In most large-scale deployments of things, even within a single enterprise, there will be aspects which involve federation. For example, control of network devices may be under the control of a different organization than that for building management, and although there may be times to link their management, they also need to operate in isolation and have independent failure modes.

In smart cities or event management, federation is inherent in the construction of a solution. System belong to vastly different organizations that need to collaborate - for example transport agencies, emergency services, local business and individual citizens. Each will have data that others may need to access, but with strict controls depending on the accessing organization. Limited control of the systems might be ceded to another organization, perhaps for a fixed period during an emergency situation.

These complex relationships make federation a complex issue and without the required underlying capabilities being included within the underlying platform it becomes an almost impossible task. Its importance ensures that federation is at the core of the conception of Configured Things.

Configuration Management

Model

define the desired configuration in a powerful standards-based description language

Configure

the desired configuration must be realized to make the system compliant with that configuration

React

events cause changes in the desired configuration, requiring orchestrated reconfiguration to ensure compliance 

Recover

system component failures may require reconfiguration to mitigate that failure

Additional Technologies

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SmartFrog allows you to define the desired configurations using a powerful standards-based description language, and develop components that will interpret these configurations to deliver a working and correctly configured IoT system. SmartFrog is an open source framework.

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Web Windows extends the notion of configuration all the way to the screens, tablets and phones that are in use, controlling the information to be shown on each devive and how that is mapped onto the screen real-estate. This provides unique capabilities that are essential in the creation of control rooms, IPTV, digital signage and similar environments.