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The Web of Things for Automation Controllers (M)

Status: Abgeschlossen

Abstract—The Web of Things (WoT) is mainly gaining traction in consumer devices. However, in comparison to consumer devices, scalability and interoperability aspects are of high interest to industrial applications such as building automation. The WoT interest group (IG) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) also targets industrial ap-plications, but so far focused on devices with classic IP stacks running HTTP or CoAP. This thesis evaluates the WoT architecture on automation controllers to study general applicability, identify gaps, and design missing building blocks and mappings.


In 2014, the he W3C launched a new activity to work on a scalable and interoperable application layer for the Internet of Things (IoT) with the World Wide Web as role model. Since then, an interest group (IG) has been working on an initial concept and produced preliminary building blocks in four key areas: Thing Description (TD), API and Protocol Binding (AP), Discovery (DI), and Security & Privacy (SP). This outcome was also validated in two Plugfest events, where prototype implementers got together to share their experience. One of the key findings from the discussions and Plugfests was that the WoT architecture also needs case studies for more exotic hardware and stacks such as automation controllers running PLC, BLE, or industrial field busses.


The diversity of devices and protocols seen in building automation (BA) provides good grounds for a WoT case study. BA throws up the challenge to find architectural mechanisms that enable unified representation and access of information as well as actuation. For example, providing a mechanism to describe the location of a "thing" by using its native addressing information encoded into an URI would enable transparent translation between the concept of Things to its technology-specific implementation on the device. The goal of this thesis is to examine how automation controllers can be represented in the WoT world using Things Descriptions and a gateway where necessary. In this process, conceptual gaps and shortcomings shall be identified, which should result in guidelines and recommendations for both the W3C and the automation industry.
  • Familiarize with the current practices in the WoT IG and identify suitable building blocks from the building automation domain for the project.
  • Design a mapping or translation mechanism to convert the data models of legacy systems to the WoT Thing Description. For a transparent interaction model, legacy objects need to be addressable as Web resources and provide a CRUD-like interface.
  • Implement a gateway framework based on an industrial hardware platform, which will enable BACnet or KNX devices and objects to be made accessible to the WoT world. Examine the generic nature of the gateway framework by including integration of KNX and BLE GATT devices and evaluate the operation as application-agnostic proxy that only maps the different protocols on each other.
  • Construct a demonstrator that serves as proof of concept and can be used to share experience in events like the WoT Plugfest. To showcase the advantage of migrating legacy systems to WoT, it should include a Web application that serves as user interface (e.g., for operators). Furthermore, a Web-based runtime environment for automation logic shall demonstrate the interoperability among WoT and different legacy systems.
Student/Bearbeitet von: Ganesh Ramanathan
Contact/Ansprechpartner: Matthias Kovatsch

ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated September 29 2017 04:35:48 PM MET ko