Assessing the openness of universAAL IoT

In an earlier blog, the six criteria for the openness of software platforms were introduced. This post looks at the positioning of universAAL IoT in relation to these criteria, namely open API, open scope, open source, open provision, open operation and open adaptability.

Open API

Open Scope

universAAL has been developed in the context of European projects on “ICT for ageing well”, as a platform for Ambient Assisted Living (AAL). Therefore, most of the applications developed so far on top of universAAL aim at supporting active and independent living of older people in smart living environments.

Nevertheless, universAAL does support the development of several other types of applications beyond AAL. This claim is based on the following facts:

  • The lower part of universAAL known as the universAAL middleware is an enabler for the integration of distributed components and communication among them while hiding distribution and heterogeneity. The use cases supported by the universAAL middleware are mostly about sending and receiving messages, enabling semantic interoperability without any domain-specific bias. This characteristic makes the universAAL middleware appropriate for the integration of any open distributed system of systems.
  • Beyond the general support for communication with global applicability, there is one specific feature of the universAAL middleware that is actually restricted to smart environments because it is concentrated on explicit interaction among human users and smart environments in a situation-aware way. However, it is still without any application bias, only based on an abstract representation of users, locations, and “interaction channels”. The usage of this feature is totally optional.
  • Beyond the middleware, there is a set of optional universAAL “manager” components, most of which are again totally without application bias. This has been possible due to the reliance on the Semantic Web technologies for unified representation of data regardless of domain and extraction technology, unified cross-domain query language, and externalizable and sharable domain models. Only the profiling solution relies on specific ontologies that model the physical world and users in a specific way. The modular design and implementation of the universAAL architecture, however, allows to substitute this profiling solution with alternative solutions relying on alternative models.

Open Provision

The licensing with Apache License 2.0 allows any form of redistribution, also when bundled with a host platform in terms of hardware and / or operating system.

Open operation

The licensing with Apache License 2.0 introduces no restriction in using universAAL in operation in any environment.

Open Adaptation

  1. The licensing with Apache License 2.0 introduces no restriction in changing the source code.
  2. The modular implementation with clear dependency specification allows to bypass or substitute not needed / desired modules without affecting the operation of the modules in use as long as the dependencies of the used modules are satisfied.