Middlewares for Smart Objects and Smart Environments: Overview and Comparison

  • Giancarlo FortinoEmail author
  • Antonio Guerrieri
  • Wilma Russo
  • Claudio Savaglio
Part of the Internet of Things book series (ITTCC)


In the last few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining more and more attention both in the academic and in the industrial worlds. IoT is a concept describing a vision in which everyday objects will be connected to the Internet, will be identified, and will, possibly, communicate with other devices. These objects are typically referred as “smart objects”, which can be defined as real artifacts augmented with computing, communication, sensing/actuation and storing functionalities. Their importance resides in the capabilities they have to make physical environments “smart” so as to provide novel cyberphysical services to people. In the last years, several middlewares for SOs were proposed. Middlewares, widely used in conventional distributed systems, are fundamental tools for the design and implementation of smart objects as well as of smart environment applications. They provide general and specific abstractions (e.g. object computation model, inter-object communication, sensory/actuation interfaces, discovery service, knowledge management) through which smart objects and their related applications can be easily built up. In this chapter, we present an overview of middlewares for smart objects and smart environments and compare them according to the most important general and specific requirements that have been identified in the literature so far. Moreover, such middlewares are also compared according to a feature-oriented framework to better highlight their distinctive properties. The comparison therefore provides a clear picture about the suitability of such middlewares to support the development of SO-based IoT systems. Finally, the chapter will briefly discuss on-going challenges in this research area.


Active Space Smart Object Smart Environment Intelligent Environment Management Subsystem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work has been partially supported by TETRis TETRA Innovative Open Source Services, funded by the Italian Government (PON 01-00451). Giancarlo Fortino is also partially funded by DICET INMOTO Organization of Cultural Heritage for Smart Tourism and REal Time Accessibility (OR.C.HE.S.T.R.A.) funded by the Italian Government (PON04a2_D).


  1. 1.
    Ashton, K.: That ’internet of things’ thing, in the real world things matter more than ideas. RFID J. (2009).
  2. 2.
    Santucci, G.: From internet of data to internet of things. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Future Trends of the Internet (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Atzori, L., Iera, A., Morabito, G.: The internet of things: a survey. Comput. Netw. 54(15), 2787–2805 (2010).
  4. 4.
    Bandyopadhyay, D., Sen, J.: Internet of things: applications and challenges in technology and standardization. Wirel. Pers. Commun. 58(1), 49–69 (2011).
  5. 5.
    Beigl, M., Gellersen, H., Schmidt, A.: Mediacups: experience with design and use of computer-augmented everyday artefacts. Comput. Netw. 35(4), 401–409 (2001).
  6. 6.
    Sterling, B.: Shaping Things. MIT Press, Cambridge (2005).
  7. 7.
    Aarts, E., de Ruyter, B.: New research perspectives on Ambient intelligence. J. Ambient Intell. Smart Environ. 1(1), 5–14 (2009).
  8. 8.
    Cook, D.J., Das, S.K.: How smart are our environments? an updated look at the state of the art. Pervasive Mob. Comput. 3(2), 53–73 (2007).
  9. 9.
    Youngblood, G.M., Heierman, E.O., Holder, L.B., Cook, D.J.: Automation intelligence for the smart environment. In: Proceedings of the 19th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ser. IJCAI’05. San Francisco, CA, USA, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., pp. 1513–1514 (2005).
  10. 10.
    Badica, C., Brezovan, M., Badica, A.: An overview of smart home environments: architectures, technologies and applications. In: Georgiadis, C.K., Kefalas, P., Stamatis, D. (eds.) Proceedings of the Sixth Balkan Conference in Informatics. BCI 2013, vol. 1036 (2013).
  11. 11.
    Roalter, L., Kranz, M., Möller, A.: A middleware for intelligent environments and the internet of things. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Ubiquitous Intelligence and Computing. UIC’10, pp. 267–281. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg (2010).
  12. 12.
    Kawsar, F., Nakajima, T.: A document centric framework for building distributed smart object systems. In: Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Object/Component/Service-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing. ISORC ’09, pp. 71–79. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA (2009).
  13. 13.
    Fortino, G., Galzarano, S.: On the development of mobile agent systems for wireless sensor networks: issues and solutions. Intell. Syst. Ref. Libr. 45, 185–215 (2013). cited By (since 1996)0.
  14. 14.
    Quigley, M., Conley, K., Gerkey, B.P., Faust, J., Foote, T., Leibs, J., Wheeler, R., Ng, A.Y.: ROS: an open-source robot operating system. In: ICRA Workshop on Open Source Software (2009)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Brooks, R.A.: The intelligent room project. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Cognitive Technology (CT ’97). CT ’97, pp. 271–278. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA (1997).
  16. 16.
    Coen, M.: The future of human-computer interaction, or how i learned to stop worrying and love my Intelligent Room. IEEE Intell. Syst. 14(2), 8–19 (1999)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sousa, J.P., Garlan, D.: Aura: an architectural framework for user mobility in ubiquitous computing environments. In: Proceedings of the IFIP 17th World Computer Congress—TC2 Stream / 3rd IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture: System Design, Development and Maintenance. WICSA 3, pp. 29–43. Kluwer, B.V., Deventer, The Netherlands (2002).
  18. 18.
    Garlan, D., Siewiorek, D., Smailagic, A., Steenkiste, P.: Project aura: toward distraction-free pervasive computing. IEEE Pervasive Comput. 1(2), 22–31 (2002).
  19. 19.
    Hengartner, U., Steenkiste, P.: Implementing access control to people location information. In: Proceedings of the Ninth ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies. SACMAT ’04, pp. 11–20 . New York, NY, USA, ACM (2004).
  20. 20.
    Dey, A.K.: Understanding and using context. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 5(1), 4–7 (2001).
  21. 21.
    Dey, A.K., Abowd, G.D., Salber, D.: A conceptual framework and a toolkit for supporting the rapid prototyping of context-aware applications. Hum. Comput. Interact. 16(2), 97–166 (2001).
  22. 22.
    Bardram, J.E.: The java context awareness framework (JCAF)—a service infrastructure and programming framework for context-aware applications. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Pervasive Computing, ser. PERVASIVE’05, pp. 98–115. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg (2005).
  23. 23.
    Bardram, J.E., Kjær, R.E., Pedersen, M.: Context-aware user authentication—supporting proximity-based login in pervasive computing. In: Dey, A., Schmidt, A., McCarthy, J. (eds.) UbiComp 2003: Ubiquitous Computing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 2864, pp. 107–123. Springer, Berlin (2003).
  24. 24.
    Roman, M., Campbell, R.H.: Gaia: enabling active spaces. In: Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on ACM SIGOPS European Workshop: Beyond the PC: New Challenges for the Operating System. EW 9, pp. 229–234. New York, NY, USA, ACM (2000).
  25. 25.
    Romn, M., Hess, C., Cerqueira, R., Campbell, R., Nahrstedt, K.: Gaia: a middleware infrastructure to enable active spaces. IEEE Pervasive Comput. 1, 74–83 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Román, M., Hess, C., Cerqueira, R., Ranganathan, A., Campbell, R.H., Nahrstedt, K.: A middleware infrastructure for active spaces. IEEE Pervasive Comput. 1(4), 74–83 (2002).
  27. 27.
    Streitz, N., Prante, T., Röcker, C., van Alphen, D., Magerkurth, C., Stenzel, R., Plewe, D.: Ambient Displays and Mobile Devices for the Creation of Social Architectural Spaces: Supporting Informal Communication and Social Awareness in Organizations, ch. 16, pp. 387–409. Kluwer Publishers, Netherlands (2003)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Streitz, N.A., Röcker, C., Prante, T., van Alphen, D., Stenzel, R., Magerkurth, C.: Designing smart artifacts for smart environments. Computer 38(3), 41–49 (2005).
  29. 29.
    Collett, T.H.J., Macdonald, B.A.: Player 2.0: toward a practical robot programming framework. In: Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA) (2005)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hanssens, N., Kulkarni, A., Tuchida, R., Horton, T.: Building agent-based intelligent workspaces. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Internet Computing, pp. 675–681 (2002).
  31. 31.
    Coen, M.: SodaBot: a software agent construction system. In: Proceedings of the 1994 Conference on Information and Knowledge Management Workshop on Intelligent Information Agents, MIT AI, p. 84 (1995)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Satyanarayanan, M., Kistler, J.J., Kumar, P., Okasaki, M.E., Siegel, E.H., Steere, D.C.: Coda: a highly available file system for a distributed workstation environment. IEEE Trans. Comput. 39(4), 447–459 (1990).
  33. 33.
    Schilit, B., Adams, N., Want, R.: Context-aware computing applications. In: Proceedings of the 1994 First Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications. WMCSA ’94, pp. 85–90. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA (1994).
  34. 34.
    Bardram, J.E.: Applications of context-aware computing in hospital work: examples and design principles. In: Proceedings of the 2004 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. SAC ’04, pp. 1574–1579. New York, NY, USA, ACM (2004).
  35. 35.
    Cerqueira, R., Cassino, C., Ierusalimschy, R.: Dynamic component gluing across different componentware systems. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Distributed Objects and Applications. DOA ’99, pp. 362–371. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA (1999)
  36. 36.
    Ierusalimschy, R., de Figueiredo, L.H., Filho, W.C.: Lua—an extensible extension language. Softw. Pract. Exper. 26(6), 635–652 (1996).<635::AID-SPE26>3.0.CO;2-P
  37. 37.
    Röcker, C., Prante, T., Streitz, N., van Alphen, D.: Using ambient displays and smart artefacts to support community interaction in distributed teams. In: Proceedings of the 16th Annual Conference of the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group (OZCHI 2004), (2004)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Savidis, A., Stephanidis, C.: Distributed interface bits: dynamic dialogue composition from ambient computing resources. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 9(3), 142–168 (2005).
  39. 39.
    Savidis, A., Stephanides, C.: Dynamic environment-adapted mobile interfaces: the voyager toolkit. In: Array (ed.) Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI International 2003), vol. 4, pp. 489–493. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey (2003)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Gellersen, H.W., Schmidt, A., Beigl, M.: Multi-sensor context-awareness in mobile devices and smart artifacts. Mob. Netw. Appl. 7(5), 341–351 (2002).
  41. 41.
    Beigl, M., Gellersen, H.W.: Smart-its: an embedded platform for smart objects. In: Proceedings of the Smart Object Conference (SOC 2003), pp. 15–17 (2003)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Goumopoulos, C., Kameas, A.: Smart objects as components of UbiComp applications. In: International Journal of Multimedia and Ubiquitous Engineering. Special Issue on Smart Object Systems, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 1–20. sERSC Press, Springer (2009).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kawsar, F., Nakajima, T., Park, J.H., Yeo, S.S.: Design and implementation of a framework for building distributed smart object systems. J. Supercomput. 54(1), 4–28 (2010).
  44. 44.
    Mühlhäuser, M.: Smart products: an introduction. In: Constructing Ambient Intelligence: Am I 2007 Workshops, Springer, pp. 158–164 (2007)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Fortino, G., Guerrieri, A., Russo, W.: Agent-oriented smart objects development. In: Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE 16th International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design (CSCWD), pp. 907–912 (2012)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Fortino, G., Guerrieri, A., Lacopo, M., Lucia, M., Russo, W.: An agent-based middleware for cooperating smart objects. In: Corchado, J., Bajo, J., Kozlak, J., Pawlewski, P., Molina, J., Julian, V., Silveira, R., Unland, R., Giroux, S. (eds.) Highlights on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol. 365, pp. 387–398. Springer, Berlin, (2013).
  47. 47.
    Fortino, G., Lackovic, M., Russo, W., Trunfio, P.: A discovery service for smart objects over an agent-based middleware. In: Pathan, M., Wei, G., Fortino, G. (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Internet and Distributed Computing Systems. IDCS 2013, pp. 1–13, vol. 8223. Springer, Heidelberg, Berlin (2013)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Lalis, S., Savidis, A., Stephanides, C.: Supporting distributed user interfaces in mobile and wearable device ensembles: the 2WEAR experience. In: Proceedings of the Ensembles of On-Body Devices workshop at Mobile HCI 2010 (2010)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lalis, S., Savidis, A., Karypidis, A., Gutknecht, J.: Towards dynamic and cooperative multi-device personal computing. In: Streitz, N., Kameas, A., Mavrommati, I. (eds.) The disappearing computer, pp. 182–204. Springer, Berlin, (2007).
  50. 50.
    Holmquist, L.E., Mattern, F., Schiele, B., Alahuhta, P., Beigl, M., Gellersen, H.W.: Smart-its friends: a technique for users to easily establish connections between smart artefacts. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. UbiComp ’01, pp. 116–122. Springer-Verlag, London, UK (2001).
  51. 51.
    Mavrommati, I., Kameas, A., Markopoulos, P.: An editing tool that manages device associations in an in-home environment. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 8(3–4), 255–263 (2004).
  52. 52.
    Kameas, A., Bellis, S., Mavrommati, I., Delaney, K., Colley, M., Pounds-Cornish, A.: An architecture that treats everyday objects as communicating tangible components. In: Proceedings of the First IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications. PERCOM ’03. IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 115–122 (2003).
  53. 53.
    Drossos, N., Kameas, A.: Building composeable smart objects. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Design and Integration Principles for Smart Objects. DIPSO 2007, Innsbruck, Austria (2007)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Kawsar, F., Kortuem, G., Altakrouri, B.: Supporting interaction with the internet of things across objects, time and space. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Internet of Things Conference. IEEE, pp. 1–8 (2010). iSBN: 978-1-4244-7413-4 IEEE Catalog Number: CFP1014K-ARTGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Fujinami, K., Kawsar, F.: Embedding context-awareness into a daily object for improved information awareness: A Case Study Using a Mirror. In N. Chong, F. Mastrogiovanni (eds.) Handbook of Research on Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments: Trends and Perspectives, pp. 56–77. Information Science Reference, Hershey, PA (2011). doi: 10.4018/978-1-61692-857-5.ch004
  56. 56.
    Sabou, M., Kantorovitch, J., Nikolov, A., Tokmakoff, A., Zhou, X., Motta, E.: Position paper on realizing smart products: challenges for Semantic Web technologies. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Semantic Sensor Networks 2009 (SSN09) at ISWC 2009, vol. 522, pp. 135–147 (2009).
  57. 57.
    Ständer, M.: Towards interactionflows for smart products. In: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. SAC ’10. ACM, New York, NY, USA (2010).
  58. 58.
    Miche, M., Schreiber, D., Hartmann, M.: Core services for smart products. In: Proceedings of Smart Products: Building Blocks of Ambient Intelligence (Am I-Blocks’09), collocated with AmI’09 (2009)Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Aitenbichler, E., Kangasharju, J., Mühlhäuser, M.: MundoCore: a light-weight infrastructure for pervasive computing. Pervasive Mobile Comput. 3(4), 332–361 (2007).
  60. 60.
    Bellifemine, F., Rimassa, G.: Developing multi-agent systems with a FIPA-compliant agent framework. Softw. Pract. Exper. 31, 103–128 (2001).<103::AID-SPE358>3.0.CO;2-O
  61. 61.
    Pokahr, A., Braubach, L., Lamersdorf, W.: Jadex: a BDI reasoning engine. Multiagent Systems, Artificial Societies, and Simulated Organizations, vol. 15. Springer (2005)Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Aiello, F., Fortino, G., Gravina, R., Guerrieri, A.: A java-based agent platform for programming wireless sensor networks. Comput. J. 54(3), 439–454 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Fortino, G., Guerrieri, A., O’Hare, G., Ruzzelli, A.: A flexible building management framework based on wireless sensor and actuator networks. J. Netw. Comput. Appl. 35, 1934–1952 (2012).
  64. 64.
    Bellifemine, F., Fortino, G., Giannantonio, R., Gravina, R., Guerrieri, A., Sgroi, M.: SPINE: a domain-specific framework for rapid prototyping of WBSN applications. Softw. Pract. Exp. 41, 237–265, 03 (2011).
  65. 65.
    Evans, D.: The internet of things: how the next evolution of the internet is changing everything. CISCO white paper (2011)Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Kephart, J., Chess, D.: The vision of autonomic computing. Computer 36(1), 41–50 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Pujolle, G.: An autonomic-oriented architecture for the internet of things. In: IEEE John Vincent Atanasoff 2006 International Symposium on Modern Computing, 2006 (JVA ’06), pp. 163–168 (2006).Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Cheng, Y., Farha, R., Kim, M.S., Leon-Garcia, A., Hong, J.W.-K.: A generic architecture for autonomic service and network management. Comput. Commun. 29(18), 3691–3709 (2006).
  69. 69.
    Xu, X., Bessis, N., Cao, J.: An autonomic agent trust model for iot systems. Procedia Comput. Sci. 21(0), 107–113 (2013).
  70. 70.
    Fortino, G., Parisi, D., Pirrone, V., Fatta, F.I.: Bodycloud: a saas approach for community body sensor networks. Future Gener. Comput. Syst. 35(6), 62–79 (2014)Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Fortino, G., Russo, W.: Towards a cloud-assisted and agent-oriented architecture for the internet of things. In: Proceedings of the 14th Workshop From Objects to Agents (WOA), vol. 1099, pp. 60–65 (2013).
  72. 72.
    Fortino, G., Russo, W.: ELDAMeth: an agent-oriented methodology for simulation-based prototyping of distributed agent systems. Inf. Softw. Technol. 54(6), 608–624 (2012).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giancarlo Fortino
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio Guerrieri
    • 2
  • Wilma Russo
    • 2
  • Claudio Savaglio
    • 2
  1. 1.DIMESUniversity of CalabriaRende (CS)Italy
  2. 2.Department of Computer Engineering, Modelling, Electronics and SystemsUniversity of CalabriaCalabriaItaly

Personalised recommendations