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An Internet of Things Service Roadmap

By Athman Bouguettaya, Quan Z. Sheng, Boualem Benatallah, Azadeh Ghari Neiat, Sajib Mistry, Aditya Ghose, Surya Nepal, Lina Yao

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 64 No. 9, Pages 86-95

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The Internet of things (IoT) is taking the world by storm, thanks to the proliferation of sensors and actuators embedded in everyday things, coupled with the wide availability of high-speed Internet50 and evolution of the 5th-generation (5G) networks.34 IoT devices are increasingly supplying information about the physical environment (for example, infrastructure, assets, homes, and cars). The advent of IoT is enabling not only the connection and integration of devices that monitor physical world phenomena (for example, temperature, pollution, energy consumption, human activities, and movement), but also data-driven and AI-augmented intelligence. At all levels, synergies from advances in IoT, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are firmly recognized as strategic priorities for digital transformation.10,41,50

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Key Insights


IoT poses two key challenges:36 Communication with things and management of things.41 The service paradigm is a key mechanism to overcome these challenges by transforming IoT devices into IoT services, where they will be treated as first-class objects through the prism of services.9 In a nutshell, services are at a higher level of abstraction than data. Services descriptions consist of two parts: functional and non-functional, such as, Quality of Service (QoS) attributes.27 Services often transform data into an actionable knowledge or achieve physical state changes in the operating context.9 As a result, the service paradigm is the perfect basis for understanding the transformation of data into actionable knowledge, that is, making it useful. Despite the increasing uptake of IoT services, most organizations have not yet mastered the requisite knowledge, skills, or understanding to craft a successful IoT strategy. As a result, we do not have an adequate understanding of the ways by which we might leverage IoT opportunities.


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