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).

Mobile app development – Extensions for IFML modelling language, tool and code generator presented at MobiWIS

Front-end design of mobile applications is a complex and multidisciplinary task, where many perspectives intersect and the user experience must be perfectly tailored to the application objectives. However, development of mobile user interactions is still largely a manual task, which yields to high risks of errors, inconsistencies and inefficiencies.

The contribution of the AutoMobile research project (lead by WebRatio) is a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard by the OMG.

We recently wrote a paper on the subject, which got accepted at the MobiWIS 2014 conference, in Barcelona. In this paper we propose a model-driven approach to mobile application development based on the IFML standard. We propose an extension of the Interaction Flow Modeling Language tailored to mobile applications and we describe our implementation experience that comprises the development of automatic code generators for cross-platform mobile applications based on HTML5, CSS and JavaScript optimized for the Apache Cordova framework.

We show the approach at work on a popular mobile application, we report on the application of the approach on an industrial application development project and we provide a productivity comparison with traditional approaches.

Eric Umuhoza, affiliated with Politecnico di Milano and Ecole des Mines de Nantes, presented the paper at MobiWIS 2014 regarding the research conducted in the AutoMobile project, lead by WebRatio.

Here are the slides of the presentation:


and here is the link to the paper published by Springer:

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Effective Cross-platform Mobile Application Development

Apache Cordova - PhoneGap - crossplatform mobile development and code generation from IFML

I constantly meet with mobile app developers struggling with the requirement from customers about
having their mobile apps available on multiple mobile platforms. Mainly for iOS and Android, but now also for Windows Phone (aside, you may want to know that Windows has now surpassed iOS in mobile market in Italy. No surprise here, great phones and bargain prices!).

With the Automobile project we are trying to cross the chasm of cross-platform development through a model-driven, code generation approach. However, even with this kind of vision, various options remain open. Should we design (model) the application once with a conceptual modeling language like IFML, and then build different code generators for each mobile platforms? Or should we build a unified generator that produces code that is cross-platform per se?

We are currently investigating the latter option, and we started our path with a set of seminars on Apache Cordova (the open source project that is behind the more known PhoneGap product by Adobe).

Apache Cordova is a platform for building native mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It comprises a set of device APIs that allow a mobile app developer to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Cordova can be combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo Mobile or Sencha Touch for getting the best apps with limited effort (although these frameworks sometime add additional computational overhead to the app).

The advantage of this kind of approaches, from a model-driven development perspective, is that we could develop only one code generation for different mobile platforms.

Ivano Malavolta, from University of L’Aquila, came visiting us and offered his vision for developing effective and efficient mobile applications. He proposed an approach that is highly scalable and maintainable, based on clean and well structured frameworks and patterns.
This perfectly copes with our aim of automatically generating the code (within the WebRatio platform).

You can find the slides of his core presentations here:

and others here:

Bottom line: cross-platform mobile apps are not just for crappy, cheap applications. If you develop cross-platform mobile apps professionally, you can get excellent results (apps like Flipboard, Gmail, or Amazon are developed like this!).

Furthermore: if you work at conceptual level with a modeling language like IFML and then you generate cross-platform apps, you can maximize your productivity and maintainability of the apps.

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

The Automobile project delves into the core of model-driven mobile apps

Starting October 2013, my research group at Politecnico di Milano and WebRatio have started a research project called Automobile, which aims at designing and bringing to the market innovative methodologies, software tools, and vertical applications for the cost-effective implementation of cross-platform, multi-device mobile applications, i.e. business applications that can be accessed by users on a variety of devices and operating systems, including PC, cellular / smart phones and tablets.

AutoMobile will exploit the paradigm of Model-Driven Engineering and code generation to dramatically simplify multi-device development, reducing substantially cost and development times. AutoMobile will rely on modeling languages such as IFML (Interaction Flow Modeling Languages) and on tools like WebRatio.

The other partners of the project are the Ecole des Mines de Nantes, Forward Software, and Moonsubmarine.
The official project Web site is:
The project is now entering the core part of the work: we have studied the background and related work, and we have defined the business requirements. We are now starting studying the domain-specific extension of IFML for mobile, based on the study of the capabilities of the different mobile platforms and devices, including cross-platform approaches like PhoneGap.
We look forward to sharing with you our results!
To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).