Is Fragmentation a Threat to the Success of the Internet of Things?

Mohab Aly*, Foutse Khomh, Yann Gael Gueheneuc, Hironori Washizaki, Soumaya Yacout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Internet of Things (IoT) aims to bring connectivity to almost every objects, i.e., things, found in the physical space. It extends connectivity to everyday things, however, such increase in the connectivity creates many prominent challenges. Context: Generally, IoT opens the door for new applications for machine-to-machine and human-to-human communications. The current trend of collaborating, distributed teams through the Internet, mobile communications, and autonomous entities, e.g., robots, is the first phase of the IoT to develop and deliver diverse services and applications. However, such collaborations is threatened by the fragmentation that we witness in the industry nowadays as it brings difficulty to integrate the diverse technologies of the various objects found in IoT systems. Diverse technologies induce interoperability issues while designing and developing various services and applications, hence, limiting the possibility of reusing the data, more specifically, the software (including frameworks, firmware, applications programming interfaces, and user interfaces) as well as of facing issues, like security threats and bugs, when developing new services or applications. Different aspects of handling data collection ranging from discovering smart sensors for data collection, integrating and applying reasoning on them must be available to provide interoperability and flexibility to the diverse objects interacting in the system. However, such approaches are bound to be challenged in future IoT scenarios as they bring substantial performance impairments in settings with the very large number of collaborating devices and technologies. Objective: We raise the awareness of the community about the lack of interoperability among technologies developed for IoT and challenges that their integration poses. We also provide guidelines for researchers and practitioners interested in connecting IoT networks and devices to develop services and applications. Method: We apply the methods advocated by the evidence-based software engineering paradigm. This paradigm and its core tool, the systematic literature review (SLR), were introduced to the software-engineering research community early 2004 to help researchers and industry systematically and objectively gather and aggregate evidences about different topics. In this paper, we conduct an SLR of both IoT interoperability issues and the state-of-practice of IoT technologies in the industry, highlighting the integration challenges related to the IoT that have significantly shifted the landscape of Internet-based collaborative services and applications nowadays. Results: Our SLR identifies a number of studies from journals, conferences, and workshops with the highest quality in the field. This SLR reports different trends, including frameworks and technologies, for the IoT for better comprehension of the paradigm and discusses the integration and interoperability challenges across the different layers of this technology while shedding light on the current IoT state-of-practice. It also discusses some future research directions for the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8424819
Pages (from-to)472-487
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb


  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • interoperability
  • models
  • protocols
  • standards
  • technologies and frameworks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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