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The Internet of Things is the next big possibility and challenge for the Internet. Extending the web architecture to this new domain of constrained wireless networks and devices will be key to achieving the flexibility and scalability needed to make it a success. Web services have proven to be indispensable in creating interoperable communications between machines on today¿s Internet, but at the same time the overhead and complexity of web service technology such as SOAP, XML, and HTTP are too high for use in the constrained environments often found in machine-to-machine applications (e.g., energy monitoring, building automation, and asset management). This article first gives an overview of the web architecture, its core REST concepts, and the current state of the art in web services. Two key activities required in order to achieve efficient embedded web services are introduced: a fresh approach to a web application transfer protocol and efficient payload encoding. The article analyzes the most promising payload encoding techniques and introduces the new IETF Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE) standardization activity.
Date of Publication: December 2010