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Data Streamlined

FUSE software simplifies the collection and integration of Internet of Things information

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GTRI researchers Heyward Adams, Andrew Hardin, and Greg Bishop examine Internet of Things devices whose output can be integrated using GTRI’s new FUSE software. Photo: Rob Felt

The Internet of Things (IoT) includes millions of sensing devices in buildings, vehicles, and elsewhere that produce reams of data. Yet it involves so many different kinds of data, sources, and communication modes that its myriad information streams can be onerous to acquire and process.

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a flexible, generic data fusion software that simplifies interaction with sensor networks. Known as FUSE, it provides a framework to standardize the diverse IoT world. Its application programming interface (API) lets users capture, store, annotate, and transform any data coming from internet-connected sources.

“The Internet of Things has always been something of a Tower of Babel, because it gathers data from everywhere — from the latest smart building microcontrollers and driver-assist vehicles to legacy sensors installed for years,” said Heyward Adams, the GTRI research scientist who is leading the FUSE project. “Traditionally, people wanting to utilize IoT information have had to examine the attributes of each individual sensor and then write custom software on an ad-hoc basis to handle it.”

Before FUSE, Adams said, a typical IoT task could require several manual steps. For example, users would acquire data from the internet by manually finding and setting up the proper communication protocols. Then each data value would have to be assigned to a supporting database. Finally, the user would need to process the data, via approaches such as arithmetic manipulation or statistical evaluation, before it could be fed into a decision algorithm.

FUSE uses a generic RESTful communications platform that readily integrates data streams from real-world sensors into cohesive, human-readable information. Using a graphical environment, the FUSE framework facilitates real-time data acquisition by letting users subscribe readily to webpages, APIs, and other streaming-data sources that employ a multitude of protocols and modalities. The unified data stream is then processed, integrated, and formatted according to user specifications.

“FUSE lets us take a task that used to involve a week or two and complete it in 10 or 15 minutes,” Adams said. “It provides a standard way of communicating in the unstandardized world of IoT.” — Rick Robinson

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