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AstriCon Keynoter Matthiue Discusses 'The Asterisk of Things'

By Paula Bernier
September 29, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is large and growing. In fact, the IoT is expected to be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. But to meet its promise, different IoT devices need to be able to talk to one another and to people, and people need to be able to talk to them. That’s where Asterisk might come in, suggested Chris Matthiue, director of IoT engineering at Citrix, who was today’s keynote speaker at AstriCon.

“Where Asterisk has an opportunity is these machines need to speak to humans and vice versa,” said Matthiue, who was co-founder and CTO of real-time IoT platform provider Octoblu, which Citrix acquired late in 2014. “Asterisk is really good at the human side of protocols.”

Leveraging Asterisk, a robot could call and ask a question of a person, or an individual could call a robot and tell it to do something, he suggested.

However, IoT robots, sensors, and devices speak a wide variety of languages, including but not limited to AMQP, CoAP, DDS, HTTP, MQTT, WebSockets, and XMPP. That’s why Matthiue said he started Skynet/Octoblu, which is building a mostly open source (80 to 90 percent) platform that links devices across platforms and protocols to enable them to communicate.

That will allow IoT solutions providers to deliver more broad-based and seamless communications experiences for consumers and businesses. Matthiue referred to this as “the integration of everything” in which various devices will be “chirping” to one another to communicate and, potentially, to automate repetitive processes to allow for more efficiency.

For example, a smart thermostat like Nest could sense a connected car driving up and adjust the temperature accordingly, while the car or Nest could communicate to the smart lighting system to turn on the lights, etc.

Similarly, a smart conference room in a business setting could include a beacon that recognizes an individual as he or she approaches and adjust the lights and temperature in the room, and set up the conference bridge so everything is ready to go on time for the meeting on that person’s calendar.

Edited by Alicia Young

Executive Editor, TMC

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