[This article was written by Fred Sandsmark.]
For the last few months, Actuate’s Kristopher Clark has been driving his grey 2010 Toyota Prius around his Overland Park, Kansas hometown with a $70 Bluetooth-enabled data recorder plugged into the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port under the dash.
Clark, one of our BIRT Evangelists, has used the device to collect mountains of data about all aspects of his car’s operations – things like fuel economy and average speed, along with more esoteric data like GPS heading, elevation, and car angle. And at the annual JavaOne conference, held in San Francisco from September 28 to October 1, Clark will share what he’s collected with the 60,000 people who are expected at JavaOne and the concurrent Oracle OpenWorld.
We admit that data from a hybrid car in the Midwest might not seem like the most compelling takeaway – particularly given all the splash and flash that comes with the world’s largest Java conference. (It can’t compete with Aerosmith, for example.) But consider what Clark plans to do with his car data: He will blend it with a third-party data source, then use BIRT to build an interactive dashboard that lets him (and you) explore the data and find interesting correlations. For example, Clark might bring in National Weather Service data for his city and exploring how atmospheric conditions affected the car’s performance and fuel economy.
In short, Clark is going to demonstrate on a personal scale the role BIRT can play in the Internet of Things (IoT). More specifically, he’ll show how much more powerful, valuable, and just plain interesting data can be when multiple sources are merged for analysis and visualization. He’ll also show how easily BIRT can handle, manipulate, and visualize such disparate data.
The demonstration is just a proof of concept – not a commercial product – but it’s easy to visualize the real-world implications. “Think about somebody who operates a fleet of trucks,” Clark says. “You could use this to understand how weather affects when the vehicles need maintenance. Or you could bring in map and traffic data to decide if one route is more efficient than another, in both time and fuel. I could go on and on with the possibilities.”
Clark and his fellow Actuate evangelist Virgil Dodson will split their JavaOne time between the Actuate booth (#5610) and the Eclipse Foundation booth (#5615), across the aisle from each other in the Hilton Grand Ballroom. Be sure to look them up and ask your BIRT questions – and also check out Clark’s demo, of course.
When they’re not in the booths, Actuate’s evangelists will attend some of JavaOne’s 400+ sessions and prowl the show floor looking for new ideas. Clark hopes to hear about unusual IoT sensors, because “Those really weird things that nobody thinks will catch on are the ones you have to watch out for,” he says.
Dodson, too expects IoT to be big – and hopes to see not just more connected devices and things, but more creative ways for people to use the data from those things. “More IoT means more data, which means more reporting,” Dodson says. “I’m always looking for evidence of that.”
JavaOne signage photo by Michael Coté