Helping the future run smoothly

As the world's largest development ecosystem, Java is at the center of developing technologies such as the internet of things 

The embedded Java story has its roots in the early days of the web. Sun Microsystems began to develop the technology in 1996 and now, under the stewardship of Oracle, embedded Java is moving into a new stage of its life.

With more than three billion devices being powered by Java technology, embedded Java offers developers the largest and most dynamic development platform to take advantage of this phenomenon.

“We gained a great deal of IT from the purchase of Sun Microsystems, so we have spent the intervening time repurposing some of that,” says Peter Utzschneider, VP of Product Management for embedded Java at Oracle. “But we’ve also updated our Java technology so it can be used on any device aimed at any market sector.”

One of these sectors is industrial M2M technology. Wireless modules such as the Gemalto Cinterion EHS5 offer a complete Java runtime, optimized for small, resource-constrained, connected devices. This provides the original equipment manufacturer with a cost-effective, flexible platform for bringing advanced M2M technology to market faster.

The model’s Java Virtual Machine serves as a hub, connecting application software with security elements and end-user computer systems to greatly ease integration and deployment. It enables value-added features such as over-the-air provisioning and remote updates of data and applications. These are vital to keep the technology current over the long life of applications, which can often exceed 10 years. 

Oracle is focused on what it calls pervasive computing, where information processing becomes integrated into everyday objects and activities. Machines using Java are inconspicuous, but deliver real benefits to their users and the businesses that support them.

“A good example is the Gemalto wireless module that is being used in vending machines,” Utzschneider says. “It can send inventory and status updates and downloads new advertising campaigns using cellular technology. Supervisors are alerted in real time when items need replenishing or when deliveries can be postponed, which helps to optimize operations and saves time and fuel costs.”

The future for Java and embedded devices will take a big step forward with a major release of code in spring 2014. “Java 8 will be a huge milestone for the platform and the embedded community,” Utzschneider says. “The new release will build on our work standardizing the platform to allow developers to write for the Java runtime, no matter which device they are targeting.”

First published on August 28, 2013
Last edited on October 25, 2013
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