Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, when adequately integrated, cater for logistics optimisation and operations’ environmental impact monitoring, both key aspects for today’s EU ports management. This article presents Obelisk, a scalable and multi‐tenant cloud‐based IoT integration platform used in the EU H2020 PortForward project. The landscape of IoT protocols being particularly fragmented, the first role of Obelisk is to provide uniform access to data originating from a myriad of devices and protocols. Interoperability is achieved through adapters that provide flexibility and evolvability in protocol and format mapping. Additionally, due to ports operating in a hub model with various interacting actors, a second role of Obelisk is to secure access to data. This is achieved through encryption and isolation for data transport and processing, respectively, while user access control is ensured through authentication and authorisation standards. Finally, as ports IoTisation will further evolve, a third need for Obelisk is to scale with the data volumes it must ingest and process. Platform scalability is achieved by means of a reactive micro‐services based design. Those three essential characteristics are detailed in this article with a specific focus on how to achieve IoT data platform scalability. By means of an air quality monitoring use‐case deployed in the city of Antwerp, the scalability of the platform is evaluated. The evaluation shows that the proposed reactive micro‐service based design allows for horizontal scaling of the platform as well as for logarithmic time complexity of its service time.
Vincent Bracke, Merlijn Sebrechts, Bart Moons, Jeroen Hoebeke,
Filip De Turck, Bruno Volckaert
IDLAB, Department of Information Technology,
Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Software: Practice and Experience, 08 April 2021
Design and evaluation of a scalable Internet of Things
backend for smart ports