Generic Data Fusion Software Might Bring Protocol Standardization to the IoT

Georgia Tech claims FUSE can collect from and work with any IoT data source.

An illustration of the information silo problem facing the IoT, which FUSE aims to circumvent. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

An illustration of the information silo problem facing the IoT, which FUSE aims to circumvent. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

One of the largest obstacles currently impeding the Internet of Things (IoT) is a lack of standardization of inter-device communication, an issue about which we’ve written time and time again. Now, a team of researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) claims to have developed a solution to this problem in the form of FUSE, a flexible software that aims to simplify the fusion of data from incompatible IoT sources.

FUSE as a Framework for IoT Standardization

FUSE incorporates algorithms designed to cope with the myriad of sources, data types and modes of communication involved in the IoT, as well as procedures for adjusting to variable and unpredictable data rates. The software also uses the popular RESTful framework, which uses load balancing techniques to distribute its workload across clusters, with the goal of being massively distributable.

FUSE currently makes use of open-source storage database MongoDB and the developers are working to make FUSE compatible with other databases, including Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. With a built-in transform layer, FUSE can connect to legacy devices and sensors to extend the longevity of older IoT products.

Ultimately, FUSE’s application program interface (API) aims to give users the opportunity to obtain and transform data from any IoT source. The hope is to bring some standardization to the IoT ecosystem. Its key capabilities include:

  • Allowing users to define descriptions of the sources they need and how their data interrelates via online forms
  • Using user-defined JavaScript functions or preexisting software to transform and manipulate data
  • Using a dashboard to visualize and analyze processed data, with the ability for users to create their own custom dashboards

If you get a chance to try FUSE, let us know how it performs in the comments below.

The IoT Has Become a Digital Tower of Babel

With a growing number of IoT devices and the corresponding increase in data, there is an increasing need for effective data management. This includes the ability to bridge the information silos that form when IoT devices cannot cooperate with one another.

“The Internet of Things has always been something of a Tower of Babel because it gathers data from everywhere—from the latest smart-building microcontrollers and driver-assist vehicles to legacy sensors installed for years,” said FUSE Project Lead Heyward Adams.

“Traditionally, people wanting to utilize IoT information have had to examine the attributes of each individual sensor and then write custom software on an ad-hoc basis to handle it,” said Adams. With FUSE, Adams sees a huge potential for toppling the silos that cause this problem.

“FUSE lets us take a task that used to involve a week or two and complete it in 10 or 15 minutes,” said Adams. “It provides a standard way of communicating in the unstandardized world of IoT.”

To learn more about handling different IoT communication protocols, read “What Engineers Need to Know about Communication Protocols When Choosing IoT Management Software.”

Written by

Michael Alba

Michael is a senior editor at He covers computer hardware, design software, electronics, and more. Michael holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta.