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Published: 06 February 2014

Web of Things a key trend for 2014

Surrey’s research into the Web of Things has been highlighted as one of the top 10 technology trends for 2014 by the IEEE Computing Society.

Going beyond the Internet of Things, where identifiable objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, the Web of Things takes advantage of the ability of mobile sensors and devices to observe and monitor their environments, increasing coordination between things in the real world and their counterparts on the web.

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Computing Society – the world’s leading computing community – has named the Web of Things, and in particular Surrey’s research in this area, as one of the top 10 technology trends for 2014. The research is due to be published in a special edition of ‘IEEE Intelligent Systems’ on the Web of Things, which is guest edited by Dr Payam Barnaghi of Surrey’s Centre for Communication Systems Research, with colleagues from Wright State University.

In their editorial, Dr Barnaghi and his colleagues outline the implications of Big Data for the Web of Things, exploring the challenges of transforming massive amounts of raw data – in a huge range of different formats – into actionable knowledge that can be used to monitor and interact with resources in the physical environment.

Dr Barnaghi explains, “This is a crucial issue in the development of the Web of Things. The heterogeneity, ubiquity and dynamic nature of the resources and devices, and the wide range of data, make discovering, accessing, processing, integrating and interpreting the physical world data on the web a challenging task.”

The challenges are well worth solving, Dr Barnaghi believes. “There are applications in many important areas including smart cities, e-health, elderly care and environmental monitoring.”

“For example, a Borough Council could deploy sensors alongside areas in danger of flooding and provide live information on the web on river water level increase and rain levels, and more processed information on the chances of having a flood in a specific area. While current Met Office reports are often generic and refer to a large area, this could provide very localised information.”

He adds, “Despite the challenges, the Web of Things is set to revolutionise many aspects of our lives as intelligent solutions bring connectivity between the physical and digital worlds. I’m delighted that IEEE have highlighted it, and our research in this area, as one of the top technology trends.”

Dr Barnaghi was invited to guest edit the special Web of Things issue having submitted a proposal with Professor Amit Sheth and Cory Henson while spending six weeks as a visiting scholar at Wright State University’s Kno.e.sis Centre, funded by an EPSRC Developing Leaders Recess award.