Boston University Students Showcased Novel Open Source "Internet of Things" (IoT) Solutions at Cisco Live! San Diego

Boston University Collaborates with Cisco, Estimote and the Industry-Academia Partnership for Novel Smart Cities Applications over OpenDaylight

San Diego, California – June 22, 2015
Boston University (BU) students displayed novel “Smart Cities” apps in the “DevNet Zone for IoT,” hosted by Cisco at its annual Cisco Live! event held in San Diego on June 10-11.  The BU apps provide visualizations of mobile device positions on interactive maps of both indoor facilities and aerial/satellite imagery by combining signals acquired from disparate “things” including Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, Internet routers, and GPS.

Mark Barrasso (center) at Cisco Live! in San Diego on June 10, 2015, is presented the Top Hacker
Award by Lionel Florit, Cisco Principal Engineer and Kristen Wright, Director, Cisco Research Center.

The acquired data is aggregated by the IoT Data Management (IoTDM) project1, an open source middleware solution recently started at the Linux Foundation and backed by Cisco. IoTDM organizes data in a resource tree that complies with the oneM2M standards2 for machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT communications to seamlessly connecting the myriad of IoT devices with diverse application servers worldwide.

Using the BU apps, mobile users can do the following:

  • Search for other registered users on their mobile devices
  • View a “heat map” that displays real­time “people traffic” and historical data
  • Manage the Tree data using a unique data visualization tool to search, add, edit or delete data (“leaf”) nodes for users, devices, locations and maps visually displayed on a browser.

Students who contributed to the apps include: Mark Barrasso, Jose Bautista, Justina Choi, Sean Liu, Nehal Odedra, Niklas Kunkel, Qingqing Li, and Yingchao Zhu.  The students were supervised by Professor Orran Krieger and Dr. Ata Turk of the BU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Industry mentors included Lionel Florit, Cisco and Jim Ballingall, the Industry-Academia Partnership (IAP).

Mark Barrasso won the Top Hacker Award for the Smart Cities projects for leadership in application design and coding. Mark also acted as scrum leader for one of the BU student teams, and represented BU and his colleagues at Cisco Live! San Diego.

Barrasso commented, “These were quite challenging projects; my fellow students and I learned about developing apps for challenging environments. We are thankful for the mentorship and opportunity to contribute to the open source community.  I am honored to accept the award on behalf of the BU team, and am thrilled to have participated in the “DevNet Zone for IoT” at Cisco Live! San Diego.”

Lionel Florit, Cisco Principal Engineer, commented, “The BU students showcased a fundamental premise for IoT in these Smart Cities projects. The takeaway is acquiring and combining data from disparate sources in one app builds more value than is provided by the disparate signals each analyzed separately. This notion that the information sum is greater than the parts is the real value underlying the “Internet of Everything”. Furthermore, we’re delighted that they have showed the utility of IoTDM as a middleware “data broker” to enable their solution.”

Steve Cheney, Co-founder of Estimote commented, “Beacons can pinpoint a mobile device’s location in space to a few meters. With our rich set of services and software development kits, developers can build contextual apps to exploit this capability for Smart Cities applications.  We’re thrilled to see our products being leveraged so easily by the BU students and the IoTDM solution.”

Professor Orran Krieger, Founding Director for the Cloud Computing Initiative at BU and Co-founder of the Massachusetts Open Cloud Initiative stated, “The students artfully merged IoT, mobile apps, web services and cloud computing in this project. They hosted the IoTDM data store in the cloud at Amazon Web Services and acquired IoT sensor data from across the U.S., utilized the data via iOS and Android mobile apps, and managed the data via sigma.js and node.js web applications they composed.”

Jim Ballingall, IAP Executive Director commented, “These were demanding projects, and the solutions are truly on the cutting edge of IoT technology. It has been rewarding to see the solutions coming together in our weekly meetings, and culminating with student participation at Cisco Live! in San Diego, one of the premier events for IT professionals worldwide.”

1. The IoT Data Management (IoTDM) project is based on the OpenDaylight (ODL) project, an open source solution that provides a data-centric middleware that acts as an IoT data broker, and enables authorized applications to post and retrieve IoT data uploaded by any device. Depending on the use case, the IoTDM platform can be configured with only IOT data collection capabilities where it is deployed near the IOT devices and its footprint needs to be small, or it can be configured to run as a highly scaled up and out distributed cluster with IoT, SDN and NFV functions enabled and deployed in a high traffic data center.

2. oneM2M develops technical specifications that address the need for a common M2M Service Layer that can be readily embedded within various hardware and software, and relied upon to connect the myriad of devices in the field with M2M application servers worldwide.

About the Cloud Computing Initiative (CCI) at Boston University: The CCI brings together and supports a broad community of scholars, including faculty and students who develop hardware and software cloud infrastructures, services and applications. To catalyze an integrative approach to cloud computing – both in research and education – the CCI pursues large scale projects that provide the necessary impetus for collaboration and paradigm shifts by involving not only members of the BU academic community, but also industrial collaborators, as well as real users of prototypical applications that are not served well by existing cloud paradigms.

About Cisco and Cisco Live!: Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. Cisco Live! is Cisco’s premier education and training destination for IT professionals worldwide, offering unparalleled opportunities to increase your knowledge of Cisco products and solutions via in-person events, live webcasts, and on-demand learning opportunities. Cisco Live! 2015 was held during June 7 – 11 in the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.

About Estimote: Estimote creates small, wireless sensors that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to detect the location of nearby smartphones and communicate with them using an API to make it easy for developers to add micro-location features to their mobile apps. Using the Estimote platform, developers and retailers can use the analytics collected from multiple sensors in a store to optimize product placement, provide indoor navigation, engage in proximity marketing, or add automatic check-ins or contactless payments.

About the Industry-Academia Partnership: The IAP is an association of university professors, students and industry leaders with the goal being to catalyze new product innovations by bringing together industry and university partners in pursuit of some common goals in cloud computing education, research and product development. The IAP Board of Advisors includes Professor Krste Asanović of UC Berkeley, Professor David Brooks of Harvard University, Professor Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford University, Professor José Martínez of Cornell University, Professor Onur Mutlu of Carnegie Mellon University, and Professor Daniel Sanchez of MIT. Dr. Jim Ballingall is the Executive Director. The IAP conducts cloud workshops, open source training sessions, and student projects on university campuses.  For further information, visit the IAP website at and contact the IAP at