A group of Australian IoT industry players – KPMG, the Knowledge Economy Institute and Giant Ideas – along with UK firm Flexeye have launched Hypercat Australia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the UK developed Hypercat standard for interoperability in IoT, particularly in support of development of smart cities. In collaboration with the UK’s Hypercat organisation, the alliance says it “aims to establish Hypercat as a global standard.”
Hypercat Australia was launched by Angus Taylor, assistant minister for cities and digital transformation, and Nick McInnes, British Consul General and Director General for Trade and Investment, at a roundtable breakfast hosted by KPMG in Sydney. It will be administered by the Knowledge Economy Institute founded in 2015 and led by Dr Mike Briers AO, Australia’s first industry professor of IoT at the University of Technology Sydney.
KPMG Australia recently became the first member of the KPMG network to launch an IoT practice. Giant Ideas is a digital transformation firm for smart cities and IoT founded by Catherine Caruana-McManus, a director of Australian IoT company, Meshed. Flexeye’s founder and CEO, Justin Anderson, is also the founder and director of the Hypercat Alliance.
Piers Hogarth-Scott, national IoT leader of KPMG Australia, told IoTAustralia that in the 24 hours since launch of Hypercat Australia on 6 September the organisation’s web page had received more that 40 expressions of interest from potential members.
“The launch of Hypercat in Australia aims to unlock the benefits of Smart Cities by creating an interoperable IoT ecosystem that gives confidence to cities and local government,” he said. “More importantly, if we can play a role in fostering a global standard we can unlock the power of the Internet of Things for everybody.”
Hypercat a UK standard
Hypercat has been adopted as a UK standard by the British Standards Institute as PAS 212:2016 Automatic resource discovery for the Internet of Things and is available as a free download from the BSI web site. Anderson told IoTAustralia that Hypercat Australia was working to have it adopted as an Australian standard.
Anderson said: “The goal of Hypercat is to accelerate the global explosion of the Internet of Things – by enabling connected devices and data to work together to improve how cities work, and how people live.”
1000 plus Hypercat members
He said that Hypercat, create three years ago, had already been applied to multi-million dollar smart city projects including London and Bristol, had attracted more than 1,000 industry members and had gained support in 47 countries. “We’re excited that Australia is coming on board as our first international alliance – and hope to use this as a launchpad for global expansion.”
The Hypercat Alliance web site describes Hypercat as “an open, lightweight JSON-based hypermedia catalogue format for exposing collections of uniform resource identifiers (URLs) for exposing information about IoT assets over the web.” It adds: “It is extremely simple, described by one participant as ‘the most that 40 companies could agree on’ with a strong security model.”
A protocol for autodiscovery
The standard itself is rather more specific: “This PAS specifies a protocol whereby any compliant software client can automatically discover data that is stored within any compliant software server, without either the client or server having to be written to have been explicitly compatible with each other. It applies to the design of services for IoT and the World Wide Web in general, and in particular to the design of applications intended to operate within broad ecosystems such as smart cities, as well as specific industry sectors. It aims to break down the vertically integrated software silos that have previously existed within the IoT industry.”
As a presentation “Hypercat in 15 Minutes” puts it: “Services are not machine-browsable, An application cannot automatically discover a new service’s resources, so a human has to write code every time to enable it to do that.” In contrast “Hypercat makes services machine browsable.”