Develop Custom M2M Apps with Sierra ALEOS Application Framework

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — May 08, 2012

Sierra Wireless announced the release of the ALEOS Application Framework, including an integrated development environment, feature-rich libraries, and a comprehensive set of tools that can be used to develop custom machine-to-machine (M2M) applications on top of the proven ALEOS embedded intelligence platform. The ALEOS Application Framework enables developers using AirLink wireless gateways to integrate "intelligence on the edge" for more efficient, cost-effective deployment and operation of M2M solutions.

Initially available on the AirLink GX400 and GX440 gateways, the ALEOS Application Framework adds new programming capabilities to ALEOS, the intelligent embedded platform that enables setup, configuration, session persistence, and remote communications management for AirLink devices.

Leveraging ALEOS as its foundation, the Application Framework allows third-party developers to take advantage of the inherent M2M capabilities of ALEOS and add their own proprietary applications. Furthermore, by integrating these applications with the Sierra Wireless AirVantage™ M2M Cloud Platform, developers can offer their customers true end-to-end M2M implementations.

The ability to run applications directly on the AirLink GX400/440 devices provides important cost and operational advantages for businesses. For example, the ALEOS Application Framework can eliminate the need to use an external unit to perform logic functions, resulting in fewer components to buy, deploy, integrate, and manage. Also, because the ALEOS Application Framework installs highly specialized intelligence into the AirLink GX devices, they can be programmed to sort and prioritize data before transmitting it. This kind of decision making at the edge of the solution can reduce network access costs.

The ALEOS Application Framework will benefit businesses in the transportation, energy, industrial automation, and enterprise segments that seek to add intelligence and programmability to new or existing M2M implementations.

For over a decade, Simple Com Tools has leveraged AirLink products as the foundation for its M2M solutions, and has extensive experience in embedded application development as well as ALEOS configuration. Simple Com Tools has developed an extensive library of embedded applications and utilities over the years, and with the introduction of the ALEOS Application Framework, the company can now take its existing code and port that over to run inside the gateway right alongside ALEOS.

"Customers are always trying to drive down the cost of M2M solution components, and we felt that if we could eliminate the need for additional hardware and have embedded data collection applications running inside the gateway itself, we could help them achieve that," said Brian McKeon, President of Simple Com Tools. "The ALEOS Application Framework helps us to deliver on that goal. It provides a platform for writing our own embedded applications that run right inside the wireless gateway."

Intelligence on the Edge

The ALEOS Application Framework includes a comprehensive Lua development kit for designing and implementing M2M applications. It provides M2M and network protocol stacks, access to existing ALEOS services, and direct access to hardware interfaces for building custom M2M software programs.

The ALEOS Application Framework tools employ an Eclipse-based development environment, which simplifies and expedites M2M application development and supports innovation through open source community contributions.

Integrated with AirVantage

The ALEOS Application Framework is tightly integrated with the Sierra Wireless AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform, which enables M2M solution providers, system integrators and enterprises to rapidly develop, deploy, and operate end-to-end M2M applications and services. AirVantage includes comprehensive applications to manage cellular subscriptions, communications devices and their attached assets (such as components in machines, telemetric devices in automobiles, and monitoring devices in a home or office); a powerful set of M2M application development tools; and a web services application programming interface (API). It is also used to manage the deployment of applications developed using the ALEOS Application Framework, allowing software updates to be made to an entire fleet of gateways worldwide through a simple user interface.

David Lamb, enterprise solutions engineer, USAT says, "USAT is excited about all the new opportunities the ALEOS Application Framework brings to the M2M space. It enables USAT to run custom programs in devices to perform M2M tasks that were previously cost prohibitive, and it allows USAT to deploy unique configurations to customer specific solutions more rapidly. Now we can truly speak M2M through the Sierra Wireless intelligent gateway."

Craig Linder, product manager for GetWireless, adds, "By allowing the migration of customer specific, auxiliary key functionality into the AirLink gateway in a cost-effective, straightforward manner, Sierra Wireless is affording customers a previously unrealizable level of integration and cost savings. Functionality that may have previously required a completely separate piece of hardware can now be pulled into the AirLink device at a fraction of the cost. This is a groundbreaking advancement in the world of cellular gateways."

"The AirLink Application Framework is a great interface that enables programmers and software engineers to leverage the embedded intelligent functionality within ALEOS," says Brian Rosema, vice president of business development, Digital Highway. "We now have the ability to customize applications that reside on the devices to directly communicate with the vast functionality that ALEOS offers. That means we are much closer to integrating our M2M asset data into a single box solution. Combined with the power of AirVantage, we also have a platform that leverages the device- and asset-side data models into single management portal. It's true M2M monitoring and management proficiencies at a hierarchy level."

The ALEOS Application Framework is available from the Sierra Wireless Developer Zone for use with AirLink GX400 and GX440 gateways distributed by Sierra Wireless' partners and resellers.

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