Model-driven Development of User Interfaces for IoT via Domain-specific Components & Patterns

This is the summary of a joint contribution with Eric Umuhoza to ICEIS 2017 on Model-driven Development of User Interfaces for IoT via Domain-specific Components & Patterns.
Internet of Things technologies and applications are evolving and continuously gaining traction in all fields and environments, including homes, cities, services, industry and commercial enterprises. However, still many problems need to be addressed.
For instance, the IoT vision is mainly focused on the technological and infrastructure aspect, and on the management and analysis of the huge amount of generated data, while so far the development of front-end and user interfaces for IoT has not played a relevant role in research.
On the contrary, we believe that user interfaces in the IoT ecosystem they can play a key role in the acceptance of solutions by final adopters.
In this paper we present a model-driven approach to the design of IoT interfaces, by defining a specific visual design language and design patterns for IoT applications, and we show them at work. The language we propose is defined as an extension of the OMG standard language called IFML.

The slides of this talk are available online on Slideshare as usual:

How Mature is of Model-driven Engineering as an Engineering Discipline? – Panel with Manfred Broy, Paola Inverardi and Lionel Briand

Within ModelsWard 2016, just after the opening speech I gave on February 19 in Rome, the opening panel has been about the current maturity of model-driven engineering. I also hosted a poll on twitter on this matter (results are available in this other post).  

I’m happy the panelists raised several issues I pointed out myself in the introduction to the conference: as software modelling scientists, we are facing big challenges nowadays, as the focus of modelling is shifting, due to the fact that now software is more and more pervasive, in fields like IoT, social network and social media, personal and wearable devices, and so on.

Panel included the keynote speakers of the conference: Manfred Broy, Paola Inverardi and Lionel Briand, three well known names in the Software Engineering and Modeling community.

Manfred Broy highlighted:

  • there is a different between scientific maturity and practical maturity. Sometimes, the latter in companies is far beyond the former.
  • a truck company in Germany has been practicing modelling for years, and now has this take on the world: whatever is not in the models, doesn’t exist
  • The current challenges are about how to model cyber-physical systems
  • The flow of model must be clarified: traceability, refinement, model integration are crucial. You must grant syntactic and semantic coherence
  • You also need a coherent infrastructure of tools and artefacts, that grants logic integration. You cannot obtain coherence of models without coherence of tools.
  • You need a lot of automation, otherwise you won’t get practical maturity. This doesn’t mean to have end-to-end, or round-trip complete model transformations, but you need to push automaton as much as possible

Lionel Briand clarified that:

  • by definition, engineering underpins deep mathematical background as a foundation and implies application of the scientific method to solving problems
  • maturity can be evaluated in terms of: how much math underpinning is foundational, how many standards and tools exist and are used, whether the scientific approach is used
  •  Tools, methods, engineers, and scale of MDE are increasing (aka. MDE is increasingly more difficult to avoid)
Paola Inverardi recalled a position by Jean Bezivin:
  • we need to split Domain Engineering (where the problem is) and Support Engineering (where the solution will be)
  • MDE is the application of modelling principles and tools to any engineering field
  • So: is actually SOFTWARE the main field of interest of model-driven engineering?
  • In the modern interpretation of life, covering from smart cities to embedded, wearable, and cyber-physical systems, is the border between the environment and the system still relevant?
  • In the future we will need to rely less and less on the “creativity” of engineers when building models, and more and more on the scientific/ quantitative/ empirical methods for building models

The debate obviously stirred around this aspects, starting from Bran Selic who asked a very simple question:

Isn’t it the case that the real problem is about the word “modeling”? In any other fields (architecture, mechanics, physics) modelling is implicit and obvious. Why not in our community? At the end, what we want to achieve is to raise abstraction and increase automation, nothing else.

Other issues have been raised too:

  • why is there so much difference in attitude towards modelling between Europe and US?
  • what’s the role of notations and standards in the success / failure of MDE?

What’s your take on this issue?
Feel free to share your thoughts here or on Twitter, mentioning me  (@MarcoBrambi).
Respond to my poll on twitter!

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

OMG Standards At Work in the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) – summary of the day and materials

Today September 24, 2015, a special event took place in Cambridge, MA: the OMG Standards At Work in the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

I have been asked to give a speech on the role of user interaction modelling within complex IoT system in industry: Internet of Things and Internet of People: The Role of User Interaction in the IIoT vision.

The full slide deck is available here:


Here is my take on the topic: User interaction plays a crucial role in every system. This is true for IoT too. Sensors, actuators and intelligent things connected together can cooperate and exchange information, but their ultimate goal is to provide value to people. Such value can be perceived only through appropriate user interfaces, which visualise information (through dashboard, reports, or infographics), let user navigate the information, and also interact with the devices, by setting properties or regulating their behavior. That’s why it’s important that in the IIoT development context we consider also user interaction. In my presentation I introduced IFML, the Interaction Flow Modeling Language, the OMG standard that focuses on user interfaces and their integration with information systems, data sources, sensors and actuators. The presentation reports on some success stories from the industry, where IFML has been successfully applied. Large scale examples include consumer-oriented user interfaces, backend systems, data analysis dashboards, and interactions for command and control. Adopters include GE, Acer Computer, banks, utilities and military.

The other speakers of the event also provided interesting use cases, examples and insights on the span of the effort and potential of IoT, especially in the industrial environment. The speeches were as follows:

  • Welcome: by Dr. Richard Soley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Object Management Group (OMG) and Executive Director, Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) —
  •  Introduction and Overview: by Andrew Watson, Vice President and Technical Director Object Management Group (OMG)
  • DDS Applications in the Industrial Internet of Things: by Dr. Stan Schneider, CEO, Real-Time Innovations, Inc.
  • DDS – Aligning OT and IT to Deliver the Potential of the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT): by Steve Jennis, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Development, PrismTech
  • SysML – System Modeling Language Benefits for the Complex Systems of IIoT: by Matthew Hause, GTM Technical Specialist, Engineering Fellow, PTC, OMG UPDM Co-Chair
  • CISQ – Software Risk in the IoT Universe: by Dr. Bill Curtis, Director, Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ)
  • System Assurance and Related Standards: by Dr. Ben Calloni, Lockheed Martin Fellow, Lockheed Martin and Co-Chair OMG System Assurance Task Force

Find the full program of the day and materials by the other presenters here: OMG Standards for IIoT agenda.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

OMG Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Standards At Work

What do SysML™, IFML™, SysA and DDS™ standards have in common, and how can they be put at work in the (Industrial) Internet of Things [IoT and IIoT] context?

Industrial Plant schema
Industrial plant with IoT sensors and data sharing
To respond to this question, I will join a special event by the Object Management Group (OMG) on September 23, 2015, from 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm at the Cambridge, MA meeting.
The event will consist of short presentations of the standards, panels and discussions of industrial cases and will allow a closer look at how OMG standards are shaping the Industrial Internet of Things around the globe. OMG is joining forces with IIC (Industrial Internet Consortium) for covering IIoT.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is delivering improved productivity, major cost savings, and streamlined processes to professionals from all industries. OMG has been active in IIoT standardization from long before “IIoT” became an industry buzzword.
This half-day information session brings together industry experts who will share case studies of these standards at work in the Industrial Internet, and present their vision of the future within this rapidly growing field. OMG is committed in supporting IIoT efforts and its standards cover several aspects of the field, as described here.
The topics covered during the event include:

  • SysML – System Modeling Language. SysML is a dialect of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) standard, and supports the specification, analysis, design, verification and validation of a broad range of systems and systems-of-systems.
  • IFML – Interaction Flow Modeling Language. IFML is designed for expressing the content, user interaction and control behavior of the front-end of applications, including complex systems found in the Industrial Internet of Things.
  • SysA – System Assurance and CISQ. OMG’s Systems Assurance Task Force (SysA TF) works with CISQ on standards that ensure the reliability, safety and security of IIoT systems.
  • DDS – Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems. OMG’s  DDS standard provides a protocol that meets the demanding scalability, performance, and Quality of Service requirements of IIoT applications spanning connected machines, enterprise systems, and mobile devices.

The event is free and anyone can join. You can register to the event here:

OMG IIoT event
You can find here the official page of the event, with the detailed program and other information.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

EventOmeters by Fluxedo: the new actor in Event Management. Mobile app + social media (semantic) analytics + IoT

Following up on my recent perspective that moves from model-driven development to hidden-model products, together with the Fluxedo team and in collaboration with WebRatio and Eurotech, we launched a new product called EventOmeters.

EventOmeters allows businesses and event organizers to increase the effectiveness of their events, involving participants and being able to rely on certain measures for the analysis of returns on investment in trade fairs, music, sports and in general of any gathering of people.
The role of the partners is as follows:

  • WebRatio is a leading provider of tools, methods and services for the rapid production of customized applications,
  • Fluxedo is an innovative start-up focusing on mobile app development, social network integration, and semantic social media analytics,
  • Eurotech will integrate data from IoT sensors whose data is made available realtime through cloud technology.
EventOmeters has been already used in the context of the FuoriSalone, within the Milano Design Week. In this setting, the product featured around 20.000 downloads of the official mobile app of the event and an analysis of more than 110.000 social media posts.
You can find more on this at:
Here is the storified summary of the launch event that happened on April 21, 2015 in ExpoGate in Piazza Castello in Milano, Italy:
To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

The business value of Mobile + Cloud + Internet of Things

Once again, this year I gave a presentation at SMAU Milano together with WebRatio (with Matteo Sassi as a co-speaker).

The purpose this time was to show and inspire on how Mobile, Cloud and IoT are becoming concrete business opportunities.

We tried to give a different interpretation to these technology trends: At first glance, the technologies that integrate Cloud, Mobile andInternet of Things (IoT) are attractive only to industry leaders with the ability to invest huge budgets and resources (such as Google Nest or Philips HUE, for example). These technologies are becoming attractive for individual developers who implement solutions thanks to open-source hardware and systems, such as Arduino and Raspberry PI which then inevitably force them to make design compromises.

We showed how conceptual solutions like the one proposed by WebRatio offer a code less approach that gives companies the opportunity to enter as main players, without limitations, in this new Mobile, Cloud and IoT market.

By using WebRatio Platform, companies can model apps with the IFML language (Interaction Flow Modeling Language) and “rationalize” the interaction with the IoT networks (think of the interaction of the sensors on which the “Internet of Things” technology is based) and put them into operation directly in the Cloud. In this way, companies save on infrastructure costs and reduce the cost and time to design and build applications.  It is possible to design new applications in this context caring only to use the correct interfaces and focusing on the opportunities provided by this new technology.

Here is the presentation we gave (partly in Italian, but very visual):

Together with a few pictures of the event:

My other presentations at SMAU given in the past are:

Mobile, Cloud, BPM through MDD for fostering the business. Presentation at SMAU 2013

BPM and Cloud, the ideal partners. SMAU 2012 presentation

Seminar on Social BPM at SMAU 2011 Milano

Trends and challenges in Business Process Management (BPM) at SMAU 2010

And my personal page on the SMAU site is:

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).