Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

The democratic internet of things

2:55pm–3:35pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Generals Residence
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 2 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Basic marketing understanding. Interest in technology, no programming required.


Running Decentralized IoT on Open Source Technologies
Implementation Experiences and Industry Lessons

This session describes the steps and lessons learned from two experimental prototypes used to test the feasibility of “Device Democracy”, a vision published previously by IBM. In Device Democracy we set out a model for the future of IoT where current Cloud based IoT solutions such as IBM’s Bluemix IoT platform evolve over the next several years to also include a decentralized, autonomous, peer-to-peer model. We see this new model addressing three key challenges facing IoT: cost, privacy, longevity.

Our prototype uses three key open source technologies: TeleHash –for event-based messaging; BitTorrent–for data and file transfer; and Ethereum –for blockchain-based coordination, smart contract, and decentralized ledger of trustless transactions among devices.

In the first prototype, IBM and our partner Samsung implemented a peer-to-peer washing machine use case on an experimental, private Ethereum blockchain in a network of four devices, without a centralized entity to clear transactions. For this use case, we ported Ethereum to Java on an Android device deployed Ethereum C++ and TeleHash on a Pi companion board, socket-connected to a washer.

In the second prototype, our partner Samsung similarly implemented a use case for ad content on digital signage at various geo locations. For this we deployed Ethereum, TeleHash, and BitTorrent on Windows, and on Android.

We will report on the lessons learned from these implementations and the challenges that remain to be addressed around topics such as device capabilities, scaling, and security.

In the future, we see a core of the above three technologies running “on-board” participating devices; and existing “as-a-service” in participating clouds such as IBM IoT offering in Bluemix, where the cloud becomes an equal citizen in a peer-to-peer IoT device democracy. In our proposed model, devices are used to interface with the physical world, where they interact with peer devices in an ‘ad hoc’ manner to accomplish tasks such as distributed analytics and peer-brokered cloud services are used for heavy computation, data, analytics, marketplace, and other functions necessary to utilize distributed devices at an enterprise level.

We will explore recent announcements by device makers such as Filament and ‘21’, who are developing similar distributed peer-to-peer models for their hardware. We conclude by discussing how we see the industry evolving around these collective ideas and how we work together to address the challenges along the way.

Henning Diedrich


Henning is an entrepreneur, programmer and game designer. He worked as lead software engineer for companies in payment, insurances and games. Henning is the creator of the Erlang VoltDB driver Erlvolt and a maintainer of the Erlang MySQL driver Emysql. His Open Source contributions for Erlang, Lua, MySQL and VoltDB are direct results of what pieces he found missing for a better game server stack.

Henning wrote his first games on the C64, develops for the web since Netscape 1.0 and produced his first game server with Java 1.0. He created a language to describe tariffs for AXA and programmed and produced browser games. He founded Eonblast to create a more immersive online game experience and as official cover for the Time Tuner mission.

Starting out on a 1MHz CPU, Henning’s special interest tends to be speed as an enabler. He has talked about evil performance hacks at the annual Lua Workshop, about his record setting Node.js VoltDB benchmark, and was elected to explain ‘Why Erlang?’:http://www.slideshare.net/eonblast/why-erlang-gdc-online-2012 to the game developer community at the GDC Online 2012 (14.000 hits on slideshare.) He also contributed the underrated sed script markedoc to the OTP stack, which converts markdown to edoc.