This workshop brings together industrial and university developers and researchers working on designing device-level communications frameworks and applications based on the World Wide Web -- as exemplified by the new generation of embedded HTTP servers (MicroServer by Spyglass, etc.), embedded CORBA servers (pSOS/Orbix, etc.), and embedded Java applets and applications. The discussion focuses on fundamental technology issues, as well as some of the early commercial and laboratory demonstrations of embedded Web systems for equipment control and remote diagnostics, for example. Participants represent organizations who wish a better understanding of where the Embedded Web is going, and how it differs from the Desktop Web. The desired result of the workshop is the formation of an informal working group from workshop participants.
Access to the World Wide Web is moving from workstations and computers into embedded, realtime environments such as consumer and industrial products, factory automation systems, and distributed sensor networks. The last 18 months have seen the first steps towards the merger of embedded systems with the Internet and World Wide Web to form the Embedded Web or Embedded Internet. Web technologies developed for desktop information system applications are now being adapted to embedded, realtime environments for a variety of commercial and research applications which will dramatically expand Web accessibility, and bring a new level of intelligence, functional capability and interactivity to traditional standalone equipment and devices.
Initial interest in applying Web technology -- embedded HTTP servers and browsers -- to device management focused on reducing the cost of building user interfaces for product configuration management. The first such product to be put on the commercial market was the Tektronix 550 Phaser color laser printer. Examples of several other commercial products with embedded Web servers/browsers can be viewed here. During the past year, many realtime operating system (RTOS) vendors have incorporated HTTP support in their commercial products:
Today, however, embedded HTTP servers, CGI interfaces and HTML on-the-fly are being re-examined for their ability to support equipment data exchange and customer support on a much broader basis, including Web-based remote diagnostics.
In parallel with this work, the proliferation of Java has catalyzed recent efforts toward adapting and implementing new platform-independent embedded Web servers and browsers such as Sun's Java Web Server (formerly Jeeves) and HotJava. The platform independence of Java has attracted much interest from the embedded systems community, where issues of portability remain a common cost and design concern.
The imminent merger of CORBA with the Web adds another important dimension to equipment connectivity and communications. For the past two years, Sematech has been developing CORBA-based architectures for semiconductor fab and machine-level management as a part of its CIM Application Framework. This, in turn, is giving new impetus to embedded CORBA as a basis for device-level communications and control. Several of the RTOS vendors now provide CORBA support at some level, although there is not yet a significant customer base for this.
We see in these several parallel trends -- embedded HTTP, Java, and distributed object architectures -- the potential for a great deal of synergy between the Embedded Web and Desktop Web worlds. The development of HTML, HTTP and VRML standards for the Web by the W3C and IETF, for example, has benefited greatly embedded system developers. Exactly how far this synergy extends, however, is not certain today. Embedded systems face unique hardware/software resource constraints and security issues which do not have clear parallels at the Desktop Web level. Likewise, the advent of next generation Web standards such as HTTP-NG and IP-NG will have an important -- but as yet undetermined -- impact on Embedded Web systems and technology vendors.
This one-day workshop focuses on 1) emerging Embedded Web/Internet technologies and standards, 2) practical industrial experience in the design and implementation of Embedded Web/Internet systems in a variety of consumer and industrial application domains, 3) future directions and research issues for Embedded Web/Internet systems, including the integration of this new networking infrastructure into device connectivity and product design and product population management methods, and 4) common issues affecting the Embedded Web/Internet technology development and applications community. Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to, the following:
The organizers expect that the workshop will be of benefit to the embedded systems community in achieving greater understanding of the following issues:
The workshop is expected to be of particular interest to the following audience from industry and academia:
The workshop will serve as a forum for the embedded systems community to discuss common issues in a neutral environment. Appropriate mechanisms for continuing the dialogue among interested organizations and members of the embedded systems community after this workshop will also be discussed.