IoT Application Prototype

Creating Business Value with the IoT, Part 5

Why Business Rules Should be Part of Your Agile IoT Strategy

In this video, Mike Piech, General Manager for Middleware at Red Hat, discusses the importance of leveraging existing infrastructure investments while abstracting business logic in a rules engine for IoT applications.

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Adrian Bowles: Hi, I’m Adrian Bowles with RTInsights and STORM Insights and in the series we talk to executives at emerging technology firms, innovative technology firms about issues that we find when we talk to technology buyers.

People want to get into the IoT. They’ve heard all the wonderful things it can do for them. But there’s a question about “Am I getting in too early, am I getting in too late, is it risky to get in too early, if I get in now am I going to have to throw out what I buy because everything’s changing so fast.” And to help me address the question today is Mike Piech, General Manager of Middleware at Red Hat.

Mike what do why say when you talk to customers and also what do you internally so that you’re not always changing things?

Mike Piech: Much of the application development software, things like Middleware, supporting wheels if you will so you’re not reinventing wheels, for IoT applications are pretty much the same wheels that you’re going to use for more general purpose applications. In other words, you don’t really need to go buy a lot of IoT specific, highly specialized components for your application development

Mike Piech: There certainly are and will continue to be some but those incremental, specialized pieces are fairly contained and I won’t say isolated but they’re reasonably contained. Therefore, much of the Middleware and infrastructure software that an enterprise likely already has will very much be relevant and be used in their IoT application development.

I think on top of that or starting from that foundational point, if an enterprise is kind of dipping its toe in the water and starting to experiment with IoT applications, try to stick to standards as much as possible to the extent that certain aspects of IoT solution are standardized, whether it’s, let’s say, messaging protocols like MQTT and so on. Really stick with the more established ones of those.

I would say another thing to keep in mind in order to kind of minimize the thrash that might have to happen in the future as standards change, as practices change, as architectural paradigms change would be to factor out the variable elements related to the kinds of devices, the data structures, so on, as much as possible.

One of example of what I mean by factoring out would be to factor out business logic into rules and use a rules engine. You don’t have everything A hard coded and B hard coded in a way that’s very specific to an existing architecture. If you’ve abstracted the way that data gets filtered and aggregated into a set of rules that are easily editable, you’ve now given yourself a lot of flexibility into how you manipulate the architecture going forward, having those rules isolated or at least contained in a fairly easy to get at location.

This gives the business person some comfort in knowing that the business specific logic is reasonably separate from the architecture and the lower level considerations that developers care about such that, that business person, that business leader can have someone who’s not even necessarily a programmer edit rules, make changes to those rules and act in an agile way with respect to the business without having to depend on too many heavier weight technical changes.

Adrian Bowles: It sounds like the key issues then, for the business buyer, are look at standard base solution and separate the business logic by having a layer, or business rules engine that captures that separate from any decisions you might make about what sort of sensors or what sort of devices or what sort of protocols you need.

Mike Piech: Exactly. Key idea there is that separation. Separation of business logic and the business concerns from the more detailed technical concerns.

Adrian Bowles: Thank you for watching. If you’re interested in getting more information on Red Hat solution for the IoT stack, For more videos in the series, go to

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Creating Business Value with the IoT video series

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Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, delivers reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux®, middleware, storage, and virtualization technologies that help you collect, communicate, transform, store, and act on critical data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT). Red Hat offers a single, extendable, and secure foundation to support the end-to-end life cycle of IoT solutions—from development to production.

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