IoT is progressing faster than many could have imagined so we shouldn’t be surprised when it throws up a new term. I came across the “first receiver” when reviewing a book titled “The Future of IoT” that outlined and then explained the concept in detail, but it took a while before the penny finally dropped.
BTW: Googling the term brought up references to rugby and healthcare: nothing about IoT. However, while I’m not wild about the term, it’s an IoT development that has almost unlimited potential and you have to call it something.
The concept is a logical extension of two earlier developments. The first is an event-driven, publish and subscribe deployment architecture that leverages the value of the data generated by a publishing entity, e.g. an enterprise, by enabling the re-use of the same data by subscribing entities, e.g. authorised parties. This process also increases the value of that data for all parties. The enabling role of the first receiver is to ensure that the right data gets to the right subscribers at the right time, says Bob Emmerson, freelance writer and telecoms industry observer.
The other development is edge computing, an established development that captures and processes data at the edge of the network, near the source of the data. This process facilitates data sharing by the subscribing entities since the transmission path is much shorter than that to the Cloud.
Applications that communicate through a publish and subscribe paradigm require the sending applications (publishers) to publish messages without explicitly specifying recipients or having knowledge of intended recipients. Similarly, receiving applications (subscribers) should only get those messages that they have registered an interest in.
OK. Let’s cut to the chase and consider how the concept might work in a restaurant that has a well-equipped kitchen having, for example, a HVAC system, lighting, music, cash registers, freezers, security cameras, etc. If these systems are smart there will be individual trigger alerts if issues occur, allowing them to be addressed immediately.
They can even be seen on smartphones, over the Internet. However, if these and other assets that were IoT enabled and deployed in a publish and subscribe architecture, then operation of the various entities could be seen and controlled in the context of all the other equipment.
Moreover, if the IoT data from all the smart products employed in the restaurant could be viewed collectively, they could also be merged with the point-of-sale data, the inventory system data and so on thereby leading to the ability to make better decisions on several levels.
In this example, the owner of the restaurant is the first receiver, the publisher that allows multiple subscribers to leverage the same underlying data. They might include the restaurant chain’s regional and corporate operations, as well as the potentially long list of IoT-enabled product providers.
These operations are “internal” remote constituents, who subscribe to this data. Their needs may differ, but the first receiver can manage the propagation of the same underlying data in the relevant formats and with the appropriate preprocessing.
In addition, third party constituents, like supply chain partners, might want information on supply levels or kitchen equipment status to better understand the impact on delivery schedules and store needs. Making this information available is enabled by the first receiver approach.
Conclusion: The first receiver concept is predicated on the ability to leverage, to the hilt, the value of the IoT data and it’s being enabled by a publish and subscribe deployment architecture that takes what’s technologically possible and makes it practical by making it accessible and affordable.
It’s doable. And when it is—when the exponentially increased volumes of IoT data can be harnessed the benefits will be enormous. The second part of this blog takes a look at that enabling architecture.
The author of this blog is Bob Emmerson, freelance writer and telecoms industry observer