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April 6, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:31am

Microsoft bets on IoT interoperability with launch of Open Translators to Things

News: Company also wants to close the gap between operation systems by building iOS and Android support in the future.

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Microsoft has launched a new IoT project dubbed Open Translators to Things (OpenT2T), which is aimed at easing application developers’ interaction with the ‘things’.

In a blog post, the company’s president for open technologies, Jean Paoli, said that the goal of OpenT2T is to enable application developers to write once, in an open and interoperable way, the exact same code to access functionalities that are shared across similar IoT applications.

The project is available on GitHub, an open protocol independent cross-platform based on open standards.

The software, based in the Node.js server-side JavaScript framework, is open to the wider community "from industry organisations to start-ups, from manufacturers to students, from enterprise to hobbyists".

Paoli said: "Translators can and will be forked, cloned, patched and discussed publicly: the proven dynamics of open source development will make the best translators associated to the best schemas emerge and provide long-term sustainability."

He said that the job of the translator is to hide the implementation details about particular data models and protocols, exposing functionalities directly as programmable APIs.

Microsoft denoted that one of the biggest problems in the IoT is the existence of many protocols, and wants OpenT2T, which will run from a public cloud or an IoT gateway, to become a confluence point for development.

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Paoli said: "We have pushed some alpha code on GitHub to start the conversation around translating Things to common schemas. In time, we hope OpenT2T becomes a vast repository of crowd-sourced cross-platform translators supporting a broad set of hardware Things and constantly curated by a thriving community where similar translators can compete, collaborate, combine, or diverge.

"We believe end users prefer a very consistent user experience when they use similar devices (e.g. lightbulbs or thermostats), even when they come from different manufacturers or support different protocols. Similarly, we believe application developers need a consistent way to control similar devices as they create apps that can support, at scale, many manufacturers."

In the future, the company said it hopes the developers’ community helps it fully support Windows, OS X, finalise Android support and build iOS support for IoT applications.

Microsoft also wants to explore additional ways to host the runtime and to identify and build robust cross-platform libraries for the different protocol buses used to communicate with ‘things’.

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