Developer Support Iotic Labs

Metadata

 

You can edit the visualisation, metadata, and privacy settings for any of your Iotic Things. Simply select a Thing in the Space app and options will appear in the side bar.

 

Space app screenshot with an Iotic Thing selected

 

Metadata is important because it tells you, and other people searching for it, what the Iotic Thing represents and what data it publishes. Read more about the function of metadata and the semantic web below.

 

To change the metadata of a Thing, select the Details tab. (You can also change the metadata in code. There are several different pieces of metadata you can add to your Things:

Label

Public

A short piece information describing the Thing and the data it publishes.

Description

Private

Add any information that you do not want to be public here.

Tags

Public

These are basic single-word meta tags, similar to the hashtags used on social media.

Location

Public

Geographic location is important for many data sources. Double-click the Map to set a location for your Thing.

 

Screenshot of the Thing side tab showing metadata options

 

 

Metadata, the semantic web, and Iotic Space

The semantic web was first suggested in 2001 by Tim Berners-Lee and others as an evolution to Web3.0. According to the W3C, “The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries” https://www.w3.org/2001/sw/ . It’s now widely used to annotate millions of web sites.

 

The goal of the semantic web is to give meaning to data via the use of metadata. You or I would know that a photograph had a cat in it, but how would a computer know? We would also know that cats are mammals, they are often pets and multiple other things about cats, but again, how would a computer know that?

 

The Semantic Web solves these problems using the technique of linked data. The metadata of that photograph could say that it’s a photo of a cat and then link from that to descriptions of cats, mammals, animals, biology, anything. So the metadata provides the meaning and the links mean that the meaning doesn’t have to be in the same place as the data.

 

At Iotic Labs we strongly believe that Semantic metadata is essential for the Internet of Things. If a computer wants to be able to search for things that publish temperatures in Celsius, then we have to be absolutely certain on the meaning of Celsius and protect ourselves from misspellings like “Celcius”.

 

The separation of data and meaning is something we use for security reasons. If a feed contains 5, 23.0 and 1015 how would we know how to interpret that? If we know the first is the wind-speed in m/sec the second, the temperature in Celsius and the third is the pressure in Millibars, then we can use and interpret that data correctly. Also, as we don’t have to send the meaning with the data we can save bandwidth.

 

One other beauty of the semantic web is the chance to search across linked datasets. The Ordnance Survey in the UK have a gazetteer of sites of interest http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/datasets/50k-gazetteer/explorer/lookup this allows the possibility of a mash-app search with the Iotic Registrar that could answer questions like “Show me vibration sensors within 500m of a Roman Ruin”.

 

The extensibility and flexibility of the Semantic Web is another strength in the IoT. It allows communities of interest to prosper where they can create their own thing and semantics around their special interest and just link them to the existing Semantic web.

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