FiWare

APInf contributes top class API management technologies to FIWARE platform

 APIs, Blog, Developers  Comments Off on APInf contributes top class API management technologies to FIWARE platform
Jul 282017
 
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The FIWARE API Management Framework will incorporate significant contributions from the APInf platform in the next release of FIWARE. In turn, APInf will integrate core FIWARE technologies into their platform.  Building on API Umbrella, the APInf platform offers a comprehensive toolset for API management including enhanced user interface features for API managers and consumers alike.

As the initial step, the FIWARE API Management Framework will integrate API Umbrella as base proxy technology for accessing FIWARE APIs and will enhance it integrating existing FIWARE authorization and access control enablers that support OAuth2 and XACML standards.  FIWARE will integrate APInf set of tools for monitoring API usage and capture feedback from API users.

“Members of the APInf team have joined the FIWARE team and are working now as a single unit, to exploit the benefits coming out of APInf technologies” said Chandra Challagonda, CEO of APInf. “Integration of APInf technologies already has helped us to accelerate our roadmap integrating key API management features” explained Juanjo Hierro, CTO of the FIWARE Foundation.

The FIWARE API Management Framework, combined with FIWARE extensions developed for the CKAN data publication platform, bring full support to right-time open data and Economy of Data concepts.  Actually, CKAN portals featuring these extensions enable the publication of right-time datasets linked to FIWARE NGSI API requests served by FIWARE Context Broker instances. Acquisition of access rights and even payment of some price for granting those access rights and/or the effective usage may be required for some of these datasets.  The integration of APInf technologies will allow, in addition, to publish documentation accompanying datasets, monitor access to datasets and bring useful feedback from users and developers regarding access to those datasets.

APInf will bring integration of CKAN with FIWARE extended features, as well as monetization modules from the FIWARE Business Framework into the roadmap of the APInf platform.

“The APInf team is extremely delighted to see the speed at which the FIWARE team has been able to integrate APInf and FIWARE. Results of the collaboration has revealed to us the huge potential of FIWARE regarding right-time open data or Data/API Economy concepts, bringing a full package of benefits for smart cities”, declared Chandra Challagonda, CEO of APInf.  “APInf is a good example of a technology provider which can bring rather interesting contributions to FIWARE while at the same time benefit from FIWARE to enrich their own products/services offering portfolio” explained Ulrich Ahle, CEO of the FIWARE Foundation.

APInf and FICodes, major contributor of API monetization and data publication components in FIWARE, together with the FIWARE Foundation will bring support to cities willing to engage in the “Front-runner Smart Cities” initiative launched jointly by the FIWARE Foundation and TM Forum, looking for Smart Cities willing to adopt API standards and ready to take the necessary steps to transform themselves into enablers for Sustainable Economic Growth by means of supporting Right-time Open Data and Data Economy concepts involving third parties.

References

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GSMA launches IoT Big Data Directory and Framework, including FIWARE components

 APIs, events, IoT  Comments Off on GSMA launches IoT Big Data Directory and Framework, including FIWARE components
Feb 152017
 
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The GSM Association represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide –nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the mobile ecosystem–, including device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as public and private organisations linked to the sector.
Also producing industry-leading events, such as the Mobile World Congress, the GSMA announced today the launch of the ‘IoT Big Data API Directory’.

The new GSMA directory, which is the first of its kind, will make harmonised data sets from multiple sources worldwide available to developers and third parties, enabling them to create innovative IoT services.
Designed to encourage a common approach to harmonised data sharing, driving the Internet of Things to its full potential, the Directory is focused on easing the development of new projects across sectors like transport, the environment and smart cities.
Global mobile operators China Mobile, China Unicom, KT Corporation, Orange and Telefónica have already implemented solutions enabling them to share harmonised IoT data.

As the press release by the GSMA points out, the IoT Big Data API Directory provides details of IoT and context data sets covering machines, devices, automotive, roads, environment, smart home and agriculture. All of the data sets are harmonised and are available on github. The adoption of a common approach to data sharing will be lowering costs and creating opportunities for IoT developers, data brokers and data providers.

This new initiative shares the same open vision that FIWARE has been spreading, regarding multi-sided markets: “The IoT generates a huge amount of data that is currently retained in vertical silos. However, in order for the IoT to reach its full potential, this data needs to be released and made available to developers and third parties,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “A common, collaborative and interoperable approach to big data will remove the commercial and technical barriers to capitalising on the IoT opportunity and usher in a new era of IoT solutions that will help the market to scale. We encourage mobile operators to collaborate with the wider industry to benefit from the big data opportunity.”

Mobile Operators and the application of FIWARE components to IoT Big Data architecture

In its recently released document, the ‘IoT Big Data Framework’, the GSMA define and propose how mobile operators may approach the delivery of IoT Big Data services. Designed to enable a collaborative framework within the mobile industry, delivering Big Data services and third-party application developers, FIWARE has an important role in it.
The annexes A and B provide information about the application of FIWARE components to IoT Big Data architecture, as well as background information about FIWARE NGSI. FIWARE NGSIv2 interface is specified as the recommended standard for certain interfaces and proposed for others along the whole document.

Although much of the IoT data will be collected by a range of data provider partners, Mobile operators are key participants in the delivery of an IoT Big Data ecosystem. Addressing this situation, the document provides a comprehensive framework for the delivery of IoT Big Data services, recognising the many different approaches towards the services that are offered and the technology choices that are made, and proposing a valid architecture that offers a great level of flexibility, allowing IoT Big Data services to be offered in multiple ways.

IoT Big Data Demonstrations at Mobile World Congress 2017, powered by FIWARE

Everimpact_logo_colorsFollowing the work that the GSMA is doing on Big Data, two showcases will be demonstrating its practical application within IoT applications and services.

At the Mobile World Congress 2017 Innovation City (Hall 4 Stand 4A30) in Barcelona, Telefónica and Everimpact (powered by FIWARE) will be demonstrating an environmental monitoring system, showing how CO2 emission data is collected from ground sensors and satellites in the cities of Santander, Málaga and Nantes, before being analysed. During 2015, Telefónica started working with the GSMA in the development of an IoT Big Data Ecosystem, deploying and using harmonised data models, exposed through FIWARE NGSIv2.

Also utilising FIWARE open source enablers and at the same event, Orange will be demonstrating how it can deliver harmonised public transport, weather station and air quality data streaming based on heterogenous and anonymised open data sources, coming from India and France.

Other demonstrations on the GSMA IoT Big Data utilization will include KT Corporation demonstration of a smart agriculture supply chain solution, providing detailed information on cultivation history, distribution status as well as a guarantee of provenance of farm products, underpinned by an international standard for electronic data interchange, the GS1 standard.

China Mobile will also demonstrate at Mobile World Congress Shanghai in June 2017 how its OneNET IoT big data platform is helping to monitor and analyse environmental factors such as wind speed, temperature and humidity in Chongqing City, China.

For further information on the IoT Big Data Directory and the IoT Big Data Framework, visit: http://www.gsma.com/connectedliving/iot-big-data/

ETSI launches new Group on Context Information Management: the role of FIWARE

 APIs, Blog, FIWARE Foundation, GEs, GSMA, IoT, NGSI, OASC, SmartCities  Comments Off on ETSI launches new Group on Context Information Management: the role of FIWARE
Jan 132017
 
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ETSIthe European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has announced the creation of a new Industry Specification Group on cross-sector Context Information Management (ISG CIM) for IoT-enabled Smart Cities and also other verticals including Smart Industry and Smart Agriculture.

The group will focus its activities on developing the specifications for a common Context Information Management (CIM) API, Data Publication platforms and standard Data Models, in order to achieve and improve cross-sector interoperalibilty for smart applications, with FIWARE NGSI as starting point. This blogpost offers further information on the role of FIWARE within the works of this new group.

As CIM API, the abstract NGSI 9 and 10 interface specifications from OMA will be the starting point, with a RESTful binding for the protocol based on the FIWARE NGSIv2 API developed under the FIWARE initiative. Specifications of this binding are expected to evolve in order to bring support to Linked Data using JSON-LD for representing the semantics of context information and their interrelationships.

As the press release by ETSI states, “Data without context are meaningless. Every sensor measurement, every entry in a database, every tweet sent and every webcam video watched has its own context.” Information will not be really useful without its own context; a context that should be published and made available with the data. The ISG CIM will specify open standards for the context information management layer that accesses and updates information coming from different sources (IoT networks and information systems) thus enabling to implement a context-aware behaviour for smart applications and extending its interoperability.

“With the rapid development of technologies such as Big Data, semantic web, complex workflow or autonomous decision making, the need for interoperable context information is becoming huge”, says Lindsay Frost, convenor of ETSI ISG CIM.

Lindsay Frost explains how the newly launched group will aid to overcome this problem: “The ISG CIM will specify protocols running ‘on top’ of IoT platforms and allowing exchange of data together with its context, this includes what is described by the data, what was measured, when, where, by what, the time of validity, ownership, and others. That will dramatically extend the interoperability of applications, helping smart cities to integrate their existing services and enable new third-party services.”



These will be the topics addressed by ISG CIM in order to ensure interoperability of independent SW implementations, including Open Source implementations,

  • Definition of a standard API for Context Information Management, enabling close to real-time update and access to information coming from many different sources (not only IoT). Such an API will enable applications to perform updates on context, register context providers which can be queried to get updates on context, query information on current and historic context information and subscribe for receiving notifications on context changes.
     
  • Specifications to be fulfilled by Data Publication Platforms supporting open data publication, data privacy and/or authorization of access, including enablers for multi-party access contracts will be considered.
     
  • Cross-domain Context Information Models that will deal with the definition of the models that are common to several of the domains being targeted, together with the meta models, definition languages and processes needed for the specification, curation, publication and evolution of Context Information Models will be defined and applied.
     
  • Smart Cities Information Models, where the specific models for the Smart Cities domain will be defined.
     
  • Information Models targeting other specific domains besides Smart Cities (for example but not limited to Smart Agrifood, Smart Industry) will also be considered.


The starting members of the new Industry Specification Group (ISG) are Easy Global Market, IMEC, NEC, Orange and Telefonica. ETSI has initiated this new group together with the organisation Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC). Soon, the FIWARE Foundation will also join the ISG as new ETSI member.  Beyond the initial focus of Smart Cities, the cross-sector approach will be transferable to applications developed for other vertical domains, such as Smart Agriculture and Smart Industry. With the goal of interoperate and to re-use as much existing work and knowledge as possible, the group will work closely with the ETSI SmartM2M technical committee and with oneM2M, the global standards initiative for M2M and the IoT (Internet of Things) of which ETSI is a founding member.

The ISG CIM work responds to the EU’s rolling plan on ICT standardisation which is part of its Digital Single Market strategy.
The creation of this group leverages promising results of the collaboration between FIWARE and other relevant actors such as TM Forum or GSMA.


The first meeting of the ISG CIM is planned to take place at the ETSI premises in Sophia Antipolis, France, on 9-10 February 2017. Regarding FIWARE, by July 2017, a preliminary version of the CIM API is expected. The final version of its specifications will be developed by November 2017. And, by September 2017, the first version of the standard Data Models would be available, thanks to the previous work in projects like CitySDK, or the joining effort of FIWARE and a group of OASC cities in collaboration with GSMA, regarding the definition of harmonized Data Models. This partnership has produced a first batch of Data Models that are fully compatible with NGSI.

Participation in the cross-sector group is open to all ETSI members as well as organizations who are not members, subject to signing ISG Agreements. For information on how to participate please contact ISGsupport@etsi.org
The full list of members and participants in ISG CIM is available at: https://portal.etsi.org/TBSiteMap/CIM/CIMmembershiplist.aspx

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Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality

 APIs, Developers, Experimentation, GEs, NGSI  Comments Off on Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality
Sep 202016
 
Blue technology background with a bright piece.

FIWARE is rapidly moving from experimental to production environments in which the platform must scale in reliable and real workload conditions. This fact implies that all FIWARE GEris must work at an adequate quality, reliability and at performance level appropriate for these conditions. A dedicated activity has been launched in the framework of the initiative to analyze and assess the level of quality of each GE, providing diverse kind of reports and an assessment dashboard.

The quality is evaluated from different points of view:

  • Curation of GEs documentation (documentation testing), both inspecting the code and the accompanying documentation (installation manuals, user guidelines, and similar). The goal of this assessment is to support FIWARE users with high-quality support for installation, configuration and operation of FIWARE technology, thereby improving the FIWARE user experience in general.
  • Verification of the GE specification (functional testing), developing the appropriate test cases to assess if the GEs implementation corresponds to what is defined in the specification.
  • Assessment of performance, stability and scalability of GEs in operational environments, like under excessive workload (stress testing). Test scenarios are defined and executed such that limits of a GE under test are identified, and can be compared with reference levels. The goal of this assessment is to favor the applicability of FIWARE in purely commercial scenarios.

overallfunctionalThe testing of the documentation and verification has been done for all GE not deprecated in FIWARE Catalogue (28 in total). Three phases are required to complete the QA functional test process. The first phase verifies for each GE the completeness of documentation, the consistency of artefacts and the soundness of information.  The usability of documentation, by example, in case of installation manual is checked installing step by step the GE. In the second phase specific method calls verify the single APIs and the response correctness of each GEs. The last phase consists of functional verifications based on reference architectures integrating some GEs. As result a live dashboard collects and maintains the assessment information and GE owners are punctually requested to correct the encountered deficiencies. The 90% of the high priority GEs has passed successfully the documentation and verification tests. The medium and low priority GEs are above 70% of success but they are working on solving the issues

post-ges-2On the other hand, the stress testing has been performed only for those GEs most critical in terms of performance in the overall architecture. An iterative process and operative methodology have been put in place, obtaining after each iteration, a complete report with the measures obtained after stress test and analysis of the data. The reports are sent to the GE owners for considering improvements about performance and stability for next release. Three iterations will be achieved before end of September this year: one took place in February testing 9 GEs (Orion, Proton, Aeron, IDAS, Kurento, Wilma, KeyRock, Cepheus, Bosun); the second one in May testing new versions of these GEs; and final one due by September testing again a new updated version of these GEs plus two more identified (AuthZForce and Cygnus) and more frequent combination of GEs.

Once the first iteration of stress testing was conducted, a quality assurance expert was consulted for carrying out an independent assessment of the followed process and executed tests to produce an assessment of the achieved work. The main conclusions of his assessment were:

  • Important performance borders were identified
  • Robustness of use within bounds was shown
  • Documentation needs to be improved

According to this assessment, FIWARE GEs are fit for being released in a commercial operational environment with some adjustments. A new external independent assessment is currently being requested after second iteration.

http://i2.wp.com/sigspl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/spl_cert.pngpost-ges-3As part of the overall testing process and based on the obtained results in the three aspects (documentation, verification and stress) above mentioned, an overall label of quality is granted to each GE. This global label represents the degree of quality of the GE by adopting the energy labelling system[1] used by EU for devices. Specific labels for each analyzed category (usability, reliability, efficiency, scalability, performance and stability) are also granted. Thus, in the Catalogue each GE will be labelled with a global label expanded by clicking of detailed labels map.

Now, after two phases in the process some overall conclusions can be stated. There exists a significant heterogeneity in the GEs quality, having more mature GEs and ready for market than others. There is still room for improvement in documentation and support for most of the GEs, which is currently in progress thanks to this activity. It can be also stated significant improvements in performance from first iteration to the second one, due to the following of recommendations in first iteration testing report by the GE responsible, which is also a demonstration of the value this activity can bring to FIWARE.

In near future, the main focus will be to enlarge number and type of tests and to automate the tests as much as possible, but in the meantime a set of guidelines have been created in order to be able to replicate all the conducted tests by anyone. All the tests and code are already public in FIWARE software repository and all the reports available through the FIWARE wiki.

For further information:

  • GitHub repository containing all docs (guidelines) and scripts (to run the tests) about non functional testing task (stress tests)
     
  • All the reports, up to date, in Docman, under Quality Assurance folder.
     
  • The FIWARE Quality Assurance chapter in our wiki.

[1] Figure under Common Creatives Share-Alike license by sigspl.org

Towards schema.fiware.org

 APIs, Big Data, Blog, Developers, IoT, NGSI  Comments Off on Towards schema.fiware.org
Sep 022016
 
Cyber space with hexadecimal code as digital background

In previous blog posts the benefits of NGSI version 2 have been described, as a harmonized API for IoT Big Data ecosystems and particularly for exposing real time context information. Harmonized APIs are a necessary but not sufficient condition to foster developer-friendly IoT Big Data Ecosystems, which enable building smart applications.
If data models are not harmonized, developers, in practice, get forced to change their application when porting it to another context (E.g. a different city).

Harmonizing data models means creating a shared vocabulary of terms and relationships that provide uniformity on the representation of different concepts: parking, public transport, weather… Harmonized APIs and data models, together, will enable the creation of smart applications that are portable at data level.

The FIWARE community has started an agile, implementation-driven process, to devise harmonized data models. Focusing initially on the smart city domain, the work is evolving on a daily basis and it is being registered on the documentation hosted in the related Github repository. Such documentation is currently written in markdown format and published to a readthedocs site.
There is also a landing page /data-models (to be redirected from http://schema.fiware.org, as per schema.org recommendations) which provides fast and convenient access to the different data models.
Such data models are published under the Creative Commons by Attribution License.

The design principles behind the FIWARE data models promote reuse, thus existing vocabularies, especially schema.org, have been adopted and leveraged. Other design principles are flexibility and simplicity, enabling a phased adoption by data providers and applications.

A first, draft version of the following models has already been provided:

  • Parking. They allow to model on street and off street parking areas. The data models reuse parts of the vocabulary defined by DATEX II

  • Waste Management. It is intended to model all the assets intervening on (municipal) waste management (containers, isles, etc.)

  • Streetlighting. They model urban streetlights and certain aspects of their controlling equipment

  • Civic Issue Tracking, leveraging the popular Open311 de facto standard to meet NGSIv2

  • Key Performance Indicators, to model performance measurements appropriately

  • Water Quality. Captures different observed measurements (ph, conductivity, etc.) about the quality of water in rivers and lakes, or water intended to human consumption

Other data models to be developed and documented are Weather, Environment, Alarms, Devices or Parks & Gardens. Contributions, in the form of Github pull requests, are encouraged.

It is noteworthy that, at the time of writing, different FIWARE community members and telco operators worldwide (with GSMA support) are starting to experiment in real applications with the referred data models. As a result, valuable feedback can be obtained in order to refine them. The final aim is to contribute these data models to standards organizations, industry associations (particularly GSMA) or global community-driven efforts (schema.org).

José Manuel Cantera – Technological Expert. FIWARE Team

#MyFIWAREstory – TM Forum partnership: creating the data economy infrastructure

 APIs, Blog, Conference, events, myFIWAREstory, Open Data, SmartCities, TM Forum  Comments Off on #MyFIWAREstory – TM Forum partnership: creating the data economy infrastructure
Aug 312016
 
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FIWARE and TM Forum have been working together since November last year. Following the announced collaboration agreement, we have been partnering in order to create the infrastructure that will serve the emerging Economy of Data.

The FIWARE Business Framework is being developed and has been shared as part of this ongoing partnership. Powered by the TM Forum APIs, the Business Framework is enabling the management and monetization of diverse kinds of digital assets and involving multiple partners.

This aims to be used in the creation of a Smart City digital single market, materializing as a marketplace that will include open datasets and data from paid sources, where data services from different partners can be exposed, priced, monetized and consumed within a single platform.
A more in-depth approach to this process can be found in our recent post, following the interview in which Juanjo Hierro –Chief Architect of FIWARE at Telefonica– reviews the successive maturity levels that the cities would be reaching when they enable a data economy.

Captura de pantalla 2016-06-06 a las 17.12.49The idea behind that –the top level of maturity starting when cities offer a way for third parties to enrich city-supplied data and to enable monetization– was already explored at the TM Forum Live event that took place in Nice this year, among other aspects around the aforementioned partnership and how it is enabling an Economy of Data in the smart cities.

In Nice we had the chance to assist the Open Hack, where FIWARE was providing the platform to be used by the participant teams. We were also at the Live event, spreading awareness about data interoperability, supporting the Smart City Workshop and presenting three smart solutions powered by FIWARE.

It was the perfect occasion to talk with innovation enthusiasts from around the world, Smart City experts that illustrated how communities are making use of smart technologies nowadays, applying the latest ICT advancements and focusing on the creation of innovative and sustainable urban platforms that can not only ease a much better management of the city services, but that can also boost the collaboration between the citizens, the local business and the city authorities, in order to provide the digital tools that can turn each city in an engine of growth and well-being.

We would like to invite anyone interested in FIWARE to check out the outcomes of our partnership with TM Forum and the experience at the Live event in Nize, that we are presenting as our latest My FIWARE Story, now ready to be discovered and shared.


 

Also, we would like to remind the next event organized by TM Forum and within the same intelligent urban development vision: TM Forum’s Smart City InFocus, an exclusive three-day conference in Yinchuan, the premier Smart City capital of China, starting on Wednesday, September 7th.

Last year’s inaugural event attracted over 200 senior government and business officials from across the digital smart city ecosystem to network, learn and exchange ideas. In partnership with the City of Yinchuan and ZTESoft, TM Forum Smart City InFocus 2016, will bring together over 800 C-level executives and government officials from across the global Smart City ecosystem to network, learn and exchange ideas across an interactive conference program. This year’s event will be looking primarily at building sustainable smart cities and offering end-to-end smart services for citizens.
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Architecting the City Platform To Create the Data Economy

 APIs, Big Data, Blog, Open Data, SmartCities, TM Forum  Comments Off on Architecting the City Platform To Create the Data Economy
Aug 122016
 
blurred aerial image of New york city. concept about traveling and urban life

Anticipating the publication of the next My FIWARE Story, around the collaborative framework between TM Forum and FIWARE, it is time to recall the Live! event that took place in Nice, France, a few months ago.
TM Forum Live! showcased activities from cities around the world, all making use of smart technologies to enable new collaborations between citizens, local businesses, enterprise, and the city authority.

Berlin is creating the new housing development Future Living, which has been made possible in part due to the availability of detailed data on housing needs, buildings and plots of land and aims to create a living lab environment that leverages data to improve residential quality of life. The UK’s city of Bristol is modelling traffic flows and installing air quality sensors to reduce pollution risks. China’s Yinchuan city uses sensors in garbage collection units to better optimize waste disposal services. The U.S. City of Atlanta is addressing crime risks at a key intersection in the city, and as initiatives prove successful, are expanding the reach to streets and whole districts.

FIWARE Chief Architect, Juanjo Hierro says these sorts of activities show that “the vision of the smart cities is evolving.” Hierro says that as smart city projects move beyond pilot stage, the notion of smart cities has matured. “So far, the idea of smart cities has been focused on more efficient management of city-provided services. But smart cities have to be something more. They have to be the main enabler for economic development.”

Hierro says the way to do this is “to exploit the value of data that describes what is going on in the city”.

What is needed is an economy of data that facilitates industry growth by fostering new partnerships and creating value sharing models so that actors in this new economy are viable and sustainable.

“This is the fuel of innovation, and the gold mine that the cities need to offer to application developers. But to do that, we need to provide data in a standardized way, all the cities have to use the same mechanisms, the same APIs, the same information models,” encourages Hierro. “This will enable a digital single market, where an entrepreneur can develop one application and replicate that in multiple cities.”

Maturity Levels in the Data Economy

Hierro describes three levels of maturity when cities begin to enable a data economy.

  1. First, cities publish an open data platform
  2. Second, cities start to use those platforms to expose realtime data
  3. Finally, cities offer a way for third parties to enrich city-supplied data and to enable monetization.

1. Cities Publish Open Data

“Most of the cities today are in the process of publishing their open data, but this is static, historic data and there are not too many things you can do with it,” says Hierro.

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2. Cities Expose Realtime Data

“Thanks to initiatives like OASC and using FIWARE, cities are evolving to the next level of maturity and starting to expose real-time open data.”

Hierro points to the use of FIWARE’s NGSI API that makes this possible. He says that FIWARE has contributed an extension to the open source, open data platform CKAN to enable the data platform (used in over 150 locations around the world and a core open data publishing tool for use amongst OASC member cities). “Our CKAN extension lets cities register data resources that are dynamic,” he says. Realtime data that is drawn from sensors and other sources are accessible as datasets on a city’s CKAN open data platform through the NGSI API.

3. Cities Encourage Third-Party Participation and Monetization

“After that, there will be a third maturity level in which the city not just exploits real-time data but also offers an infrastructure for third parties to enrich the data that the cities are providing and that enables the monetization of data by third parties,” says Hierro.

A second extension contributed by FIWARE to CKAN enables “access rights acquisition” within the data publishing platform.

“Data sources that are published to a city’s CKAN platform can have an access right process connected with it. So some data published on the city’s platform will be free (that is, the traditional usage of CKAN).” Hierro says the possibility of adding access rights means that where open data is provided via API, better access permissions will reduce risks of pulling data from a city in insecure ways that can cause Denial of Service risks. Sometimes, malicious bots target open data APIs and keep asking for data over and over until the sheer volume of requests causes infrastructure problems to the whole city platform. In other cases, developers can make mistakes in how they are trying to request the data to cause similar problems. By having access rights processes in place, a city can open up data via API while also monitoring usage to prevent these risks.

Hierro says access rights processes would also enable city’s to embark on a data economy journey. On the same platform as the city realtime, data, cities could host data from third parties and enable access rights processes to enable those third parties to monetize on the platform. “This would also allow for users to pay or subscribe for a fee to some data sources that would be accessible through the API. That is the way to monetize. Third parties would be able then to access the city’s data catalog to offer some of their data resources so they become published in the same CKAN platform that the city provides.”

FIWARE is working with its partners including CKAN, OASC, and TM Forum to create this infrastructure that will serve the emerging economy of data. “The NGSI API is the way the city will be able to exchange data in real-time, provided by the city and by third parties. The data publication platform will have all the necessary extensions to offer NGSI-based data and also to allow billing with access rights management. And the TM Forum APIs allow for those cases where you are paying or subscribing to get access to a particular data source, and to be able to monetize and run revenue-sharing mechanisms.”

The City as Platform in the Data Economy

To grow through each of these stages of maturity will require a city to think through a platform model. A platform model leverages the infrastructure described above to enable producers and consumers to come together, find what they need, and transact with each other.

It is a new mindset that cities will need to grapple with. For many city departments in the past, they have usually seen their role as providing services for their citizens, visitors, and for local industry. A platform model is changing that worldview.

Cities still have a role to play in providing services, but are doing so in partnership with a wider range of stakeholders. Cities are also needing to enable citizens, visitors and local industry to create their own value by being able to combine the city services and assets they need themselves. For example, citizens are increasingly demanding information about the local transport services as well as realtime parking data, safe walking route information, and ride-hire services. Whereas before a city might see its responsibility as running the local bus service, now its responsibility is to make sure citizens are able to plan and map a multimodal transport journey in the way that they want: to get somewhere by a specific time, to reduce their reliance on a car, or to help them increase their physical activity. Citizens are demanding that cities make the data available so that they can compose their own solutions.

As a city grows in its data economy maturity, its platform model would also grow more sophisticated to enable a greater range of actors to participate.

Captura de pantalla 2016-06-06 a las 11.44.52

“The vision is of enabling multisite markets where different actors can play a role,” says Hierro.

The most basic platform model matches the first stage of maturity: the city publishes open data and third party application providers might be able to create an app using some of this data and sell the application in an app store. For example, an application for local citizens might use city data to map points of interest or community services. Local businesses might use this open data to improve the experience they offer to their customers. A local real estate agent might add a city’s open data about access to services, parkland, or civic complaints data to listings to show the amenity surrounding their sales properties.

As cities advance along the data economy maturity model, the data marketplace platform they provide grows more sophisticated as well. A city could even have an external platform provider manage the data marketplace. Revenue could be split amongst the platform provider, the city, citizens contributing their own crowd-sourcing data, businesses with their own sensors or unique datasets who make their data available for a fee on the platform. App providers might pay for use of datasets in their apps, or be a funnel so that end users pay a subscription fee whenever they access a data source via the app.

“The whole idea is to build the infrastructure that is needed to create multiple business models. You have to find out how to reach sustainability in each business model, but there will be many configurations,” says Hierro. “We can envision business models where there is a benefit for actors that are developing solutions that are aiming to scale across a wide range of cities, but also actors that are just operating locally in the city but are getting some benefit from using local data in their application to improve the local business they are carrying out. This is what would enable the transformation of the city into a platform for the development of services.”

Role of the City as a Data Economy Platform

In Platform Revolution, authors Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne and Sangeet Paul Choudary describe the way businesses around the globe are transforming into platform models. This transformation is also affecting cities, and the same principles apply. Parker, Van Alstyne and Choudary explain that a platform model enables the exchange of information, the exchange of goods or services, and the exchange of currency between consumers and producers.

A CKAN listing of what data is available in a city becomes the information that is exchanged. This data is the basic unit of value in the city platform model. Application builders are the consumers who are seeking to use the data in their applications, products and services. The city’s sensor network and open datasets, and the third party providers who make their own data available on the platform are the producers. The role of the city platform then is to connect consumers and producers by hosting the data, allowing app builders to find and use data from city and third party sources. User rights acquisition processes and revenue-sharing APIs enable these “consumers and producers” to buy and sell data, creating a whole new local economy of data.

As cities mature to this stage, they will need to enable application builders to quickly find the datasets that will be useful when they are building solutions. Cities that can help these app makers and businesses to consume the data hosted on their platform will be the ones that are successful in enabling new economic growth.

The infrastructure problem is being solved. FIWARE, OASC and TM Forum have built the components to make an economy of data possible. Now, cities must create the platform models that will encourage interaction, match application builders with data providers, and facilitate new economic opportunity.

“The whole vision is that of providing the tools, and then cities and solution providers will need to come with innovative services,” says Hierro. “We are essentially providing the tools that will enable all of this. Now, cities can encourage entrepreneurs to create innovative services and make use of data sources to enable this economy of data to emerge.”
 

Written by Mark Boyd, Writer and Analyst on smart cities, open data,
APIs and programmable business models at Platformable.

 Posted by at 12:44 pm

FIWARE NGSI version 2 Release Candidate

 APIs, Blog, Developers, Experimentation, NGSI  Comments Off on FIWARE NGSI version 2 Release Candidate
Jun 082016
 
Earth globe night view with connect lines on deep blue space background.

The FIWARE NGSI version 2 API has reached the release candidate status. That means that we consider the current specification quite stable and mature, although there are still open issues. However, we expect that the resolution of those issues will not affect the main design principles and backbone of the API. Meanwhile, Orion Context Broker 1.2.0, released at the beginning of June, fully implements such version of the API.

If you are a developer probably you are wondering whether you should start using this brand new API. The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes’. Why? Because it makes your life easier, but at the same time opens up a new world of possibilities. The advantages of NGSI version 2 can be outlined in three bullet points:

  • Simplified payloads. NGSI version 2 has defined simpler JSON payloads. That means less lines of code to parse the NGSI messages. We have removed unneeded envelops and now data can be consumed straightforwardly. Furthermore, different payload flavours (normalized, keyValues, values) allow to build different kinds of clients. Notifications and subscriptions are now easier than ever.

  • RESTful approach. NGSI version 1 was based on HTTP POST for all operations, whereas NGSI version 2 fully adopts REST, and all the semantics of the HTTP protocol: GET for querying data, POST for adding data, PATCH for updating data and DELETE for removing data.

  • Powerful queries. A query language has been added to the API allowing to filter and sort data by different criteria, including geographical relationships such as intersection or coverage. Furthermore entity’s location can be now represented by different geometries (point, polygon, line), encoded as GeoJSON or as an encoding similar to GeoRSS.

Probably you are eager to know more about the API and start doing hands-on work with it. The good news is there is now plenty of documentation and tutorials. A good starting point is the FIWARE Tour Guide. Then you can continue reading the NGSI version 2 cookbook and playing with the data offered by the Tour Guide Application. Last but not least this presentation can enable you to master the API. Documentation is, as usual, at readthedocs. Support is provided through the Stackoverflow (tag fiware-orion) and askbot channels.

But what happens with NGSI version 1? NGSI version 1 is here to stay. Interoperability between different FIWARE enablers still depends on it, thus we plan to maintain and fix version 1 bugs. However no new features will be added to such version.

And what are the plans for fully releasing NGSI version 2? That should happen by the end of the year. One major feature that will be added to the final specification is support for context registrations and linked data. The latter will introduce another encoding called JSON-LD, already used by browser vendors and the schema.org initiative.

The last thing to say is that it has been a long journey since we started the NGSI version 2 effort one year ago. Congratulations to all the team (specially the development engineers) for the effort and enthusiasm demonstrated during these months. Now it is time to enjoy and to create amazing applications for the smart world!

José Manuel Cantera – Technological Expert. FIWARE Team

 
 Posted by at 12:09 pm