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Oracle pushes Java as the answer to IoT front line

Posted: 25 Sep 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Oracle? embedded platform? internet of things? Java?

Oracle recently unveiled a set of initiatives that aim to drive Java as a key embedded platform for the Internet of Things. The database giant also released updates to Java Micro Edition Embedded and revealed that it will deliver a Java-based services delivery platform for a new family of gateways from Freescale. The company also revealed that it will support Java on microcontrollers from Freescale Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics and others.

The efforts establish Java as another major entrant in the race to unify diverse operating systems and protocols for the Internet of Things. Java played a similar role in the early days of the smartphone until it was largely displaced by Apple's iOS and Google's Android as popular native platforms.

Industry players agree fragmentation is a problem in the IoT, but they are taking different approaches to solving it. The US government is brokering an effort by GE and others under the working name of the Industrial Internet. Many see the emerging 6LoWPAN software as a rallying point, because it hews closely to other Internet standards. Qualcomm has been promoting its open-source AllJoyn messaging protocol as a high-level unifying element.

Oracle is accelerating its efforts in Java for microcontroller-based systems, which have trailed its work in Java for higher-end embedded systems and servers. It is moving a suite of features planned for its Java Standard Edition 8 into Java Micro Edition Embedded, and it plans to release both in March. An early version of the code is available now.

Nandini Ramani, vice president of development for Java at Oracle, said that the alignment will help create a more unified Java Embedded developer platform and ecosystem to better address the complexity of the Internet of Things.

An updated version of Java ME Embedded is now available as a binary runtime for the ARM11-based Raspberry Pi Model B and ST Microelectronics' STM32F4. Oracle also plans to support Java ME 8 on Qualcomm's MDM6x00, MDM9x15, and other chipsets.

Freescale, Oracle team up on Java platforms for IoT
Freescale and Oracle will co-develop a platform for service providers, bringing parts of Oracle's Java suite to Freescale Kinetis, i.MX, and QorIQ processors. In addition, Freescale rolled out the first of a family of One Box gateway reference designs that will use Java.

The first designs target home energy and telehealth apps running on i.MX 6 chips. Freescale expects to add partners to the effort this year. Within a month, it plans to roll out more reference designs using other processors.

Under its partnership with Oracle, Freescale joined the Java Community Process to help drive the direction of Java for low-end microcontrollers. It also joined OpenJDK where it will push for more support for legacy IoT protocols in Java APIs. In addition, Freescale will optimise its MQX embedded operating system to act as a hardware abstraction layer for Java across its chips.

"Java in a way is the unifying platform for the Internet of Thingsthe whole service delivery infrastructure from the core of the network through the gateway to edge nodes will use Java," said Kaivan Karimi, executive director of global strategy and business development for Freescale's microcontroller group.

"One Box is a new initiative and it's still early days," Henrik Stahl, vice president product management for the Java platform group at Oracle, told us in an email. "We have been working with Freescale on it for approximately 6-7 months, enhancing the existing Oracle Java SE Embedded stack with additional features and capabilities that are going to be released into the market in the near term."

In Freescale's reference design, "the data analytics engines in the cloud and on the box are from Oracle [and] most of the middleware of this end-to-end secure service delivery platform is based on Java and from Oracle," Karimi said.

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