The Cluster Between Internet of Things and Social Networks: Review and Research Challenges

CTN Issue: November 2014

Authors: Antonio Ortiz, Dina Hussein, Soochang Park, Son Han, and Noel Crespi (all from Telecom SudParis, France)
Title: “The Cluster Between Internet of Things and Social Networks: Review and Research Challenges”
Publication:  IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol. 1, no. 3, June 2014

Whereas the current “Intranet of Things” consists of a local network (like a wireless sensor network) capable of exchanging local information, the envisioned “Internet of Things” would extend the scope and scale by interconnecting these networks.  Beyond the IoT lies the Social Internet of Things (SIoT), where the environmental information from the IoT is merged with social networking principles, to enable useful “social driven” human to device interaction.  Whereas the IoT is a “"a world-wide network of interconnected objects uniquely addressable, based on standard communication protocols", the SIoT paradigm facilitates interaction.  Interaction is facilitated in a variety of ways, e.g., enabling devices to play a “social role” (smart objects),facilitating easier service discovery, and facilitating service interoperability (“mash-ups”).

The paper summarizes challenges and open issues in realizing the SIoT vision (Section V).  First, the architectural components of SIoT include the actors (humans and things) who each produce and consume both data requests and responses, the “intelligent system” to orchestrate all these interactions, the interface design for humans and things to interact with the SIoT, and the Internet as the underlying communication medium.  Second, the enabling technologies to be developed include the addressing scheme (including identity administration and authentication),  the device hardware (sensors, actuators), and communication protocols and algorithms. 

Finally, the paper lists (Section V-C) twelve challenges to be addressed to make SIoT a reality:

  1. Interoperability, data management, and signal processing.  How will heterogeneous devices interoperate? How will data be stored and managed?  How will information be analyzed?
  2. Discovery and search engines.  How will data, services, and applications be made easily discoverable?
  3. Energy management.  How will battery-powered hand-held mobile devices participate in the IoT?
  4. Security, privacy and trust.  How will data be secured?  How will user privacy be maintained?  How can users be made to trust in the SIoT?
  5. Self-operation, management, and organization.  How can the operation of the SIoT be made “automatic”? 
  6. Heterogeneity.  How can a common interface be designed for devices as varied as “sensors, actuators, ID-tags, smartphones, tablets, computers”?
  7. Interactions and interfaces.  How can the SIoT interface be made to be user-friendly?
  8. Service management (discovery and composition).  How can available SIoT services be discovered?  How can they be composed (mashed-up)?
  9. Application development.  What kind of application programming interface (API) will foster useful application development?
  10. New business models and stakeholders.  What business models will be profitable by appealing to a broad customer base?
  11. Fault tolerance.  How can the SIoT be made robust to the failure of individual components?
  12. Semantics and context management.  How should a given device manage the variety of contexts in which it may be simultaneously participating? 

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