Urban sensing, community (wireless) networks, intelligent edges & social tagging (Part I or X)


I have been wanting to write about this for some time. I did write a few blogs somewhere else which is no more on the face of the earth ;o( So let me restart …

Intelligent Edges …

I am not a fan of application-gateways in an architecture; while I think they are ok as a patch-work and a necessary evil in an operational setting ,conceptually they are terrible. I am more tolerant of protocol gateways, though they should also be replaced by native protocols in due course of time.

Prelude

Let me explain …. The story began an year ago, when I started working with sensor networks … The network substrate in sensor networks has slightly different characteristics (than normal networks) mainly due to power and resource constraints and usually the interface to the mother-ship is a gateway – just throw all the data over the wall to an IP network … and I think this is a bad design and what we need are intelligent edges at the sensor network borders …

An exciting summit and a few thoughts …

Few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Urban Sensing Summit at UCLA by Deborah Estrin and Jeff Burke. I was also on a panel with IBM’s Rod Smith, Spelling TV’s Ken Miller and Disney’s Bruce Vaughn. The panel was around user experience, intelligent inferences based on context and many of the edge functionalities. In the afternoon, I attended a break out organized with Jim Mutter, President, Premier’s Technology Council, British Columbia and Jason Brush, Senior Vice President, User Experience, Schematic. The talk was around Vancouver and the Olympics 2010 and what we could do around urban sensing – again intelligent edges, making inferences out of the myriad of data coming from a multitude of sensors …
Coming back to the first paragraph, while I am not sure what the complete solution architecture would look like, I know what it will not contain – data/application gateways !

Intelligent Edges for a Sensor Network …

Synthesizing lots of research in this domain, the functions required for a sensor network edge are –

  1. An intelligent edge (Sensor clustering and overlapping, context aggregation),
  2. A control and management plane (network scalability, redundancy, accuracy and resiliency),
  3. A policy mediator and distribution point,
  4. A policy evaluation point (PEP) and a policy execution point (PXP) and
  5. A security materials distribution intermediary.

We will dig deeper, into a few of these ideas, including the various functions that are required from a substrate/platform, in the next few blog entries …

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