Ockam's Open Source IoT SDK Offers Options for Partners

Ockam wants to help partners help companies solve a wide range of IoT device challenges.

Todd R. Weiss

February 4, 2019

4 Min Read
SDK, software development kit

IoT developers looking for helpful tools that can make it easier to build identity, trust and interoperability into their internet-of-things (IoT) applications just got another option to try — a new open-source software developer kit (SDK) from Ockam.

The Ockam SDK, launched recently on GitHub, aims to help IoT developers solve some of the toughest security-related coding issues they face and ensure that a user’s identity is assured, Matthew Gregory, CEO and founder of Ockam, told Channel Futures.

Resolving those identity and trust problems in IoT applications is one of the biggest challenges facing developers as they work within the still evolving marketplace, said Gregory. IoT vendors offer their own toolkits for developing applications, but they often have limitations and interoperability issues, he said.


Ockam’s Matthew Gregory

“People either can’t get out of proof of concept or they can’t tie it all together,” said Gregory. “Then some IoT platforms attempt to be a full stack, but they are only places to get started.”

Ockam looks to reverse those issues by using a different approach — combining best practices in secure connected device systems and abstracting away technical complexity using Ockam’s blockchain-based infrastructure. With this serverless experience, developers can innovate quickly, the company said.

So far, the Ockam SDK contains a library for Golang developers and a Command Line Interface (CLI), with additional languages, features and tools anticipated for future releases.

Ockam uses its own Ockam Blockchain Network as a decentralized, open platform where developers can add identity, trust and interoperability to their IoT applications. Ockam’s code provides high throughput, low latency and is low-power friendly.

An application built with the Ockam SDK gets firmware for the connected devices that are being developed and then those devices become clients to the Ockam Network. The IoT devices then receive a unique Decentralized ID (did:ockam) and can share data as verified claims with another device that’s registered with the network, while also verifying data received from other IoT devices that are registered with the network.

Developers who use the Ockam SDK to build functions into applications or embedded software will receive free access to that Ockam network until the network’s general-availability release later in 2019, according to the company.

For channel partners to be ready for the continuing rise of IoT devices and applications and the opportunities they will inspire, they’ll need to prepare in order to be successful, said Gregory.

“What channel partners need to do is to bring together tools — and we provide one of them,” he said. “Partners are sitting in the middle, trying to put it all together. They need to be able to know which device sends which data to which application. It’s an identity problem they are working to solve.”

Ockam helps with that by providing an immutable cryptographic ID to every IoT device or any machine that is running a related application or piece of code, said Gregory.

“And then when that machine sends it somewhere else, it has to sign that information so the other machine can know with 100 percent certainly which machine sent it and verified it,” he said.

All of those tasks are done on an open network where the identity of all devices can be verified across the ecosystem and …

… the internet, he said.

“For any channel partner or systems integrator, that is one of the biggest challenges in building IoT systems — you must know where the data came from and where it is going,” said Gregory. “We are compiling a bunch of open standards and open-source tools to create an open-source solution.”

For anyone doing system integration, Ockam helps solve the multiparty problems of IoT applications and infrastructure by providing a horizontal identity layer that allows systems to integrate, he said.

“We replace tens of thousands of lines of code with a few lines,” said Gregory. “We’ve already done the work for developers.”

The technology can help partners accomplish the same things for their customers, he added.

“They also don’t have to maintain any of the infrastructure to manage identities and trust, so it’s like a serverless compute environment for them.”

Ockam runs its network in Azure data centers and has a partnership with Microsoft. Ockam has been using the company’s Azure Confidential Computing capabilities as an early adopter since last summer.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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