A new open catalogue specification aimed at being the catalyst to spark the Internet of Things ecosystem into life has been published as the first stage of a publicly funded collaborative project.

More than 40 UK-based technology companies have combined to produce HyperCat, described as an “open IoT specification that allows machines to work together over the Internet and for applications to discover and make sense of data automatically without human intervention.”

Funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board, the project’s aim is “to accelerate the widespread move to the Internet of Things (IoT)”.

HyperCat is a thin interoperability layer which allows applications to look at the metadata of “things” and search for particular types of resource and information.

“HyperCat has been designed to move us from the Internet of Silos to the Internet of Things,” explains Pilgrim Beart, CEO of IoT start-up 1248. “Previously, applications were vertically-integrated, working only with specific services, which confines data to narrow vertical silos. HyperCat enables apps to discover data across all services, freeing machines from the human programmer bottleneck and allowing a many-to-many relationship to develop, which is the key to IoT.”

As more and more companies start to build for the IoT, HyperCat is intended to ensure they “speak a common language”.

One of the project’s participants ARM said it was already using HyperCat at its offices. “We are using HyperCat to share data such as office occupancy, energy use and even car park lighting between different applications,” said Amyas Phillips, IoT Research Entrepreneur at ARM. “By linking our infrastructure in real-time we are reducing our energy costs and generating other information including external temperature data that others can use.”

“We’ve been able to create whole new applications very quickly,” commented Andy Stanford-Clark, Master Inventor at IBM UK. “For example, we can take illumination data from streetlights belonging to another project cluster and display it on our own application. Being able to explore the HyperCat metadata in human and machine readable formats makes it easy to mash-up new applications.”

Other reading
TechRadarPro: What is HyperCat? Interview with Flexeye CEO Justin Anderson explains all

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