CORDIS - EU research results

Empowering the Edge With the World’s Fastest Database and Sychronization Service for Mobile and IoT

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ObjectBox IoT-1 (Empowering the Edge With the World’s Fastest Database and Sychronization Service for Mobile and IoT)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2019-12-31

Today, over 90% of enterprise data is sent to the cloud to be stored and processed. By 2022, this number will drop to just 25% according to Gartner. Where is the rest of the data going? It is not going anywhere. It is stored and used on the device it was created on. This is called Edge Computing. It entails that data is stored and used locally, on the “edge” of the network, e.g. a phone or IoT device.

In the past, many IoT solutions started cloud-based. In this model, data is sent to the cloud where it is stored, and data processing takes place. A resulting operation may be sent back to the device. There are a several limitations that make the cloud an unfeasible infrastructure for most future IoT applications:
* Dependence on Internet Connection: Cloud-based applications only work when the device has an active connection. However, there are still many areas where internet connectivity is either unreliable or non-existent, e.g. in many warehouse floors, tunnels, cellars, or remote areas.
* Lack of Speed: The time delay between an action and its response is significant in a cloud application, even with a fast and stable network connection due to the round-trip the data needs to take. A speedy response is, however, critical for some IoT use cases (autonomous driving, etc.).
* Limited Data Security / Privacy: If data transmission can be omitted and the data stored decentralized on the device, the risk of a breach is reduced tremendously.
* Broadband Limitations: Data Volumes are exploding mainly due to massive growth of IoT devices: By 2025, there will be 20 million IoT devices and 1.7MB of data created per second and per person. Existing bandwidth infrastructure is too limited to allow for that data to be send to the cloud. The growth of data volumes and IoT devices exceeds the speed by which broadband infrastructure can be extended. This puts a hard stop to the growth of applications depending on the cloud.
* High Cloud Costs: The more data is sent to the cloud and stored in the cloud, the higher the cloud costs. This is an especially notable issue with high-fidelity data like audio or video, and in data intensive areas like AI, AR, ML.

Shifting from cloud to Edge Computing overcomes these issues. However, the prerequisite for true Edge Computing is having the same tech stack as a server / cloud infrastructure performing well on much smaller, restricted devices. E.g. to use a device for Edge Computing, application developers must be able to store and process data at the edge and synchronize that data with other data sources and/or central data hubs. ObjectBox empowers Edge Computing with a data storage and synchronization solution optimized for restricted devices and easy developer APIs for fast implementation.

EU Impact Solving the Growing Problem of Bandwidth Infrastructure Limitations: To meet demand expected by the 2020s, wireless providers will have to start deploying 5G technology. Many areas in Europe and North America are full of 'dark fiber'. Providers can often meet rising demand simply by starting to use some of this dark fiber. But such hard-wired connections do not help with the host of mobile phones, fitness trackers, virtual-reality headsets, cars, smart city infrastructure assets etc. now coming online. ObjectBox will keep the majority of data on the device and only necessary and useful data would be sent from the device and use up bandwidth.
EU Impact- Making IoT Applications More Sustainable: The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, limited the attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially. With ObjectBox, data can be stored and processed on-device at a much lower energetic footprint.

We completed a technological roadmap, market assessment, pricing model assessment, Phase 2 partnerships, IP assessment and updated our Business plan.
During the course of this feasibility study, we completed a technological roadmap, market assessment, pricing model assessment, and IP assessment. Alongside, we collected letters of interest from five clients who are willing to test future synchronization features, an integral step towards successful commercialization. This work serves as both an initial roadmap for future development, as well as the basis for a working business plan for ObjectBox. We will continue to build on the business plan, including expanding on a series of future exploration points.
After completing the feasibility study, there are no significant changes to our objectives, concept and approach, or points of impact (e.g. solving the growing problem of bandwidth infrastructure limitations, making IoT applications more sustainable, and reducing energy waste).
In terms of exploitation, our long-term strategy to gain a significant foothold in the IoT space is to partner with companies that have a multiplying factor like IoT platforms, IoT consulting / prototyping companies, and hardware providers, OEMs. On the way to making these bigger partnerships happen, we believe we need to showcase the power of ObjectBox. For this, we are focusing on SMEs with shorter decision cycles, fewer stipulations, and faster time-to-market. Therefore, acquiring pilot projects is currently our main goal.
There are more than 500 IoT platforms of all sizes and we released support for EdgeX in April 2019, and are in ongoing talks with several Fortune 500 companies. While, again, decision cycles will be long with such big companies, our initial interest and positive feedback has been encouraging. Pilot projects could be the tipping point in these talks, as has in fact been explicitly noted by one of these companies.
ObjectBox Database: The ObjectBox technology moves beyond the state-of-the-art based on our unique approach: We built a database from scratch specifically designed for small devices that come with restricted resources. Our emphasis was on performance. Therefore, we looked at the fastest databases in the classic database market in the server / cloud space, namely NoSQL databases. Then we applied the most fundamental mechanisms of these approaches to the small device space. The graphs below show the number of operations per second for several basic database operations (create, read, read by ID) in comparison to alternative solutions. Here are additional benchmarks for Java and Go.
ObjectBox is able to perform 10X faster than competitors on all basic database operations.
ObjectBox Synchronization: Currently, there is no established solution for edge data storage and synchronization, which is a necessary component for edge computing. This piece of the technology stack is underserved and ObjectBox offers a new and superior solution. ObjectBox database was used to build more than 25,000 Unique Apps within 24 months after launch. While a majority of our users come from the Mobile space, this shows that the technology is stable and working well in productive environments. Now, we want to extend our IoT market reach and the synchronization feature will be a unique selling point for doing so.