The Internet of Things (IoT) is a novel paradigm that is rapidly gaining ground in the scenario of modern wireless telecommunications. The basic idea of this concept is the pervasive presence around us of a variety of things or objects (such as RFID, sensors, actuators, mobile phones, etc.) which, through unique addressing schemes, are able to interact with each other and cooperate with their neighbors to reach common goals.
Unquestionably, the main strength of the IoT idea is the high impact it will have on several aspects of everyday-life and behavior of potential users. From the point of view of a private user, the most obvious effects of the IoT introduction will be visible in both working and domestic fields. In this context, domotic, assisted living, e-health, enhanced learning are only a few examples of possible application scenarios in which the new paradigm will play a leading role in the next future. Similarly, from the perspective of business users, the most apparent consequences will be equally visible in fields such as, for example, automation and industrial manufacturing, logistics, business/process management, intelligent transportation of people and goods.
Within the IoT paradigm, the Net4U Lab investigates key issues in the following areas:
Definition of a new IoT architecture based on the concept of Social Internet of Things (SIoT)
In analogy with Social Networks Services (SNS) for human beings, the SIoT paradigm introduces the concept of social relationships among objects. Advantages are the possibility to: give the IoT a structure that can be shaped as required to guarantee network navigability, so as that object and service discovery is effectively performed and scalability is guaranteed like in human social networks; extend the use of models designed to study social networks to address IoT related issues (intrinsically related to extensive networks of interconnected objects); create a level of trustworthiness to be used for leveraging the level of interaction among things that are “friends”. This study is aimed at defining a distributed approach, which is expected to guarantee a higher scalability and a better reaction to frequent state changes characterizing objects involved in the IoT. More details can be found at the Social IoT portal.
Deployment of applications in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN)
WSNs are expected to be one of the pillars of the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm, which foster the introduction of key applications, including but not limited to domotics, assisted living, e-health, enhanced learning automation and industrial manufacturing logistics, business/process management, and intelligent transportation of people and goods. Reduction in the cost of the devices has increased the nodes’ capacity, thus they can perform some processing before sending the data to a sink. They can aggregate data coming from different sensors, perform temporal and spatial averaging as well as data filtering so as to reduce the burden of transmitting large amounts of data to the Coordinator and increase the network lifetime. Based on these considerations, we consider the scenario of a sensing, computing and communicating infrastructure in WSNs with a programmable middleware that allows for quickly deploying different applications running on top of it so as to follow the changing ambient needs. We then face the problem of setting up the desired application in case of hundreds of nodes, which consists in identifying which actions should be performed by each of the nodes so as to satisfy the ambient needs while minimizing the application impact on the infrastructure battery lifetime. We address this problem with either a centralized and a distributed approach, making use of the gossip-based algorithms and algorithms based on the game theory.
Cloud-based IoT platform
In the last five years many IoT architectural proposals and implementations appeared in the literature and in the market. A great effort has been devoted in defining architectures and relevant layers functionalities around the concept of virtualizing the physical objects. This is exploited to improve resilience, service discovery and composition as well as to enhance ubiquity. Some of the implementations have been also designed to exploit the cloud computing features, often for the realization of vertical solutions addressing specific application domain requirements. However, we still believe that to fully exploit the potentialities of the IoT paradigm, there is a need for further advancements in the design platforms that: make even easier the communications among objects; help the work of the developers in creating new applications on top of the available objects services; allow the users to have complete control of their own data and objects; are reliable and efficient to support the interaction of trillions of objects. These considerations motivate the development of our platform Lysis.
Deployment of Smart Grid applications in a Internet of Things-based infrastructure
Among the key elements of the Smart Grid vision are the need to ensure openness and a interoperable interfacing of grid equipment. Moreover, in the future it is likely that architectures with a greater flexibility for information flows and scalability will need to be introduced to satisfy the wide range of Smart Grid applications that go from high priority data for real-time control to lower priority data required for market signals, asset management or planning activities. In such a fast-evolving and complex scenario in which implemented solutions must be evolution-proof, a new field of study based on the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining interest. The use of IoT solutions in the Smart Grid domain aims at creating a dynamic and integrated network infrastructure which is able to satisfy the stringent requirements of Smart Grid applications in order to pave the way towards its entire deployment.